How to Start (and Keep) a Healthy New Habit
Posted on 01/22/2018
With the new year comes new goals, new ambitions and new horizons to set our eyes on. Last year is a thing of the past; now, we’re ready to accomplish something bigger and better in 2018. For some of us, that may be focusing on aspects of our health we let fall by the wayside—whether that be physical, emotional or mental health.
Unfortunately, starting our new healthy habit isn’t the problem—keeping it is. Many new year habits and goals ultimately end in failure; they last for the first few weeks of the year before dwindling into forgotten territory. Luckily, maintaining a habit is doable when set up for success. If you want to be start (and keep) a healthy new habit this year, check out these useful tips.
Make your goal attainable.
The first step in setting your healthy habit is being sure it’s something you can actually accomplish. Let’s be real: losing 50 pounds in a month is probably not going to happen, nor is it a healthy goal. But losing 50 pounds over six months is definitely more realistic and attainable.
By choosing unrealistic goals, you already set yourself up for failure and disappointment. When you choose habits that may not be as “exciting, but fit more into a the lifestyle you’re already living, you make your goals more achievable just by deciding on realistic expectations.
Set clear definitions.
Step number two: make sure your habits are clearly defined. “Eat more vegetables” is a healthy aspiration, but what does that really mean? When are you going to eat vegetables; how much is “more”? When your goals have loose definitions, they’re easier to misinterpret or avoid entirely, resulting in a less-than successful experience.
For example, a more defined goal instead may be: “Eat five servings of vegetables each day.” This goal has the same agenda as the first, but with more defined boundaries, so it’s easier to understand and take practical steps towards accomplishing.
Once you have your healthy habits decided on and defined, tell someone. As silly as it may sound to sit down with a friend or family member and list off your goals for the new year, the practice actually dramatically increases the odds of your overall success.
When we tell other people our goals, they hold us accountable when things become more challenging and we feel like giving up. Telling others the habits we want to establish gives us a support system, encouragement and—most importantly—the goal of being successful for someone else’s sake.
Track your steps.
Once you’ve begun working towards accomplishing your goals, encourage progress by continuing to track your steps. Set smaller goals along the way, so you can continually feel accomplished throughout the process.
For example, losing 50 pounds may seem like a huge, far-off goal, but losing two pounds by Friday is much more manageable. Track your steps and remember it takes an average of three weeks to establish a habit, so be patient with yourself. Follow your progress and celebrate the little accomplishments that lead you even closer to your ultimate goal.
Get back up.
The road to your new healthy habit is definitely going to be challenging at times, but when you fall off course, just remember to get back up. No one accomplishes their goals overnight, so don’t worry if you make a couple of mistakes here and there. The most important thing is to keep your eyes on the end goal and focus on its overall success.
This new year, start off right by living more altruistically… for yourself. Establish new, healthy habits and goals to accomplish in 2018. If you want to better your lifestyle, be sure to establish attainable, defined, known goals, and—with a little effort—your habits will fall into place.