Whether you are ready or not, the New Year is upon us. Depending on your circumstances this may have you thinking about weight loss, taxes, decluttering your home, running a marathon, or other healthy habits. And these goals almost always take the form of a New Year’s Resolution.
First, let’s get the bad news out of the way. Most of us do not keep our New Year’s resolutions. Just count the people at the gym in January and compare it to March and you know it’s true. We lose steam when it comes to keeping those healthy habits on track for a full year.
But, there is good news, too. You can develop new habits and stick with your resolutions; the key is not to start too big. Instead, establish mini-habits—habits that are so small it’s almost impossible not to do them.
If you have a larger goal of “get healthy” or “lose weight” here are some ideas that can help you break them down into mini-habits or tiny goals that will be easier for you to achieve. Then you can build on your successes to make even greater achievements.
The Big Goal: Exercise
The Mini-Habit: Choose to move a little each day. Going to the gym at 5 every morning for an intensive Boot Camp might be a bit much, if you are creating a new exercise habit from scratch. Simply getting to the gym and walking on the treadmill, or even taking a walk around the block every evening with a friend or your dog is something you are more likely to stick with. Once that habit is formed you can add to it.
The Big Goal: Eat Healthy
The Mini-Habit: Replace processed food. Do you have a habit of grabbing fast food on your busy evenings? Can you dust off the crockpot and throw in a healthy meal before work instead? Then you can come home to a delicious smell and a ready dinner. Just focus on one bad dining habit to start with and replace it with something healthy. It will become easier to make the next substitution. Before you know it, you will look forward to planning healthy and delicious meals.
The Big Goal: Sleep Eight Hours Every Night
The Mini-Habit: Eliminate sleep busters. Start by eliminating screens, caffeine, or alcohol at least an hour before bedtime. What’s the point of an early bedtime if you are going to lie there and look at the ceiling? Replace your bad bedtime habit with a little routine. When you drink your herbal tea, take a warm bath, and read a (non-electronic) book or magazine every night before bed, you will teach yourself to fall asleep more easily when you turn out the lights.
The Big Goal: Be Healthy
The Mini-Habit: Establish a relationship with a physician. If you only get to the doctor when you feel sick, and then it’s a visit to urgent care, it’s time to get your very own doctor. Schedule a well visit to discuss how you can best improve your health. They can make sure you are getting the preventive care and screening you need, and also help you pinpoint mini-habits to help you achieve your goals.
Remember the old adage, “Every journey begins with a single step.” If you think about your larger goals as the journey and your mini-habits as single steps along the way, you will be surprised at how much progress you can make. We would like to help you with your journey to healthy living. Please contact us to schedule a visit so we can get to work on your healthy habits, together.