By: Mia Rigden, MS, CNS
Studies show that upwards of 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail. Sometimes our goals and intentions can be abstract or lofty, which isn’t a bad thing—it’s good to have pie in the sky overarching goals—but it’s also important to come up with a plan of tangible actions you can do regularly to help you achieve these larger goals. The key to getting the results you’re looking for is consistency, which comes down to habits. So, how can you create new habits that actually stick?
- Be patient. Habits can take anywhere from a few weeks to six or more months to form. It’s important to be patient and dedicated to making your desired habit a ritual.
- Try habit stacking. Experts say that the best way to form a new habit is to tie it to an existing one. Think about things you do daily, and how you can add your desired habit to that existing routine. For many, morning and evening routines are the most consistent and the easiest times to add a new productive ritual to your day. If you want to do push-ups every morning, for example, maybe you do them while you’re waiting for your shower to heat up or the kettle to boil.
- Focus on introducing one new thing at a time. It’s far too easy to be overly ambitious about our wellness routines at the start of a new year. It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach. Try adding in one new habit at a time and committing to at least one full week of practicing this habit daily before introducing another new practice.
- Keep a journal. Change can happen slowly and gradually, which makes them hard to notice when you’re living with yourself day in and day out. Keeping a journal of your daily routines gives you qualitative data which you can go back and reflect on. If you want to reduce your sugar intake, for example, keeping a journal is a great way to stay motivated. You may not notice the benefits of reduced sugar on your own, but upon reflecting through past journal entries, you might notice that you’ve become more energetic, sleep better, have fewer cravings, or have a more positive outlook as you’ve reduced your sugar intake. These realizations are incredibly motivating and will help you continue your healthy habits.
- Enjoy it! The only way you’re going to truly continue a new habit is if you enjoy it or receive positive feedback from it. Think about ways you can incorporate new habits that feel good for you. For example, let’s say you’re goal is to exercise more. If you hate running, make sure that’s not part of your routine. There are many other ways to break a sweat. Perhaps you should get some new workout clothes you’re excited to wear, or put on some music you love that will motivate you. Find ways to make the habits you want to form fun so you will look forward to continuing them. If it feels like a chore, it won’t last!