The new year is a great time to start establishing healthy habits. It's the first month of 2022 and you have an entire year ahead of you to implement your new habits into your life! A habit is a behavior that is repeated until it becomes automatic or done without any sense of awareness or motivation. Meaning if you start your healthy habits now, in a month or two they'll become a part of your routine without even having to think about it. We know it's not always as easy as it sounds - it takes work and dedication to make habits stick, so we've collected a few tips to get you started on the right foot below.
Analyze Your Life and Make A Plan
The first step in knowing what habits you want to keep is by knowing what you want. Take a look at your goals for the year, then analyze your day-to-day to see what you can improve to get you closer to your goals. Once you have the habits you want to start, create a daily routine that will make it easier for you to implement them into your daily life.
Stack Your Habits
Try connecting your new habit to one of your existing habits to ensure it sticks. Find patterns that you do each day and see where you can tie your new healthy habits to the ones you already do. For example, for many people their morning routine is strongest, so look for areas in your mornings that you can insert a new habit into. Do you sit down with a cup of coffee before you start the work day? Then put your coffee in a to-go mug and drink it while you go for a walk outside. How about at night after work, do you turn on your favorite TV show and lounge on the couch? Try doing an at-home workout while you watch instead!
Start Small and Easy
When habits become too big, people often get too overwhelmed and think it won't work for them. If you start with small steps and grow over time, those big habits don't seem as daunting. For example, if one of your goals is to run a marathon, don't force yourself to run 10 miles on your first day. Take it slow and set your goal as running 1 mile, 3 times a week. Then when that becomes easy, grow it to 2 miles 4 times a week. And so on and so on.
Make it easy for yourself to build these habits by prepping and clearing obstacles. Habits aren't easy and they can be easily avoided or forgotten, so look out for your future self and set yourself up for success. If you know you'll probably forget/avoid your workout after work, pack your gym bag in the morning and set it by the door. That way you'll be reminded of the habit you're trying to implement and you're one step closer.
When you repeat the same healthy habits after certain activities or events, your brain with automatically be ready for your habit without even having to make the decision. For instance, if you workout every morning after your cup of coffee, eventually your brain will subconsciously prep for the workout on its own. It doesn't just have to be a workout, if your goal is to meditate each morning rather than scroll through social media, your mind will be ready for meditation after a few weeks of performing the habit. It takes about 2 months for behaviors to become a habit, so stick with it now and you'll have new healthy habits in just a couple of months!
Just as you give rewards while training a new pet, be sure to give yourself rewards when you successfully perform a new habit. When it's all about hard work and you don't give yourself a chance to relax, habits become hard to keep. So give yourself down time to rest, have a self-care day, or spend an exercise day with a friend to keep it fresh and interesting.