By now, most people think of New Year’s Resolutions as a running joke. We might still make them from a place of genuine desire to improve our lives, but we also don’t take them very seriously because of how frequently resolutions fail. Time and time again, we tell ourselves that we want to change our lives, but once we get started we feel overwhelmed by how big the challenge might seem.
You do want to create health in your life, however, and if you want to do that right now, don’t let the cliche of the New Year’s season hold you back. Instead, let’s look at some super simple starting points for Habits of Health that also make change manageable, practical, and far less intimidating.
- Habits of Healthy Motion
Don’t: If you aren’t currently exercising regularly, jumping into an intense routine can be frustrating and disheartening (and dangerous!).
Do: Add motion to your routine that makes a difference but is so small that you can do it on your worst day. For some people, that’s 100 extra steps a day, or maybe you do one push-up a day, or maybe you take the stairs at work instead of the elevator. That might sound small, but by the end of the year, you’ll have added 365 pushups to your life that you would not have done otherwise.
- Habits of Healthy Surroundings
Don’t: You can optimize your environment in dozens of ways, but if you list all of them out, you may find that you have days of reorganizing and redecorating ahead of you. That much work can stop you before you even start.
Do: Change one thing in your bedroom. This is where your day starts and ends, so if you tidy up your bedroom so you wake up in a peaceful, uncluttered place, that’s a big win. If you remove the television so you get better sleep at night, that’s also a big win, and either of these things are manageable tasks that have near-immediate health benefits.
- Habits of Healthy Hydration
Don’t: When you hear that you should drink 8 glasses of water a day, our brains imagine that scenario as us sitting over the sink, chugging glass after glass to reach our goal.
Do: Weave water into your routine by setting reminders on your phone and carrying your water bottle with you. While we are ultimately working our way toward 8 glasses of water a day, if you carried your water bottle with you all day and you remembered to drink one extra glass of water, you have made progress. That mindfulness will serve you in the future.
- Habits of Healthy Sleep
Don’t: Your sleep routine can’t be fixed overnight, so while the goal may be to get up to 8 hours of restful sleep a night, expecting to accomplish that right away can be discouraging.
Do: Stop drinking caffeine after noon and commit to a consistent wake-time. Many of us have trouble falling asleep because the half-life of caffeine keeps us awake and jittery, so learning to better manage your caffeine and waking up at the same time consistently are big steps forward. Eventually, you will start to find it easier and easier to fall asleep at your bedtime.
- Habits of Healthy Fuelings
Don’t: Making the switch from all takeout meals to all home-cooked healthy meals is an admirable goal, but it’s so much work that this radical change in how you eat is rarely sustainable.
Do: Switch to prepackaged healthy meals so you have the convenience of takeout without the unhealthy consequences. This approach is much simpler because you don’t have to come up with recipes for every meal of the week, you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen cooking, and you can rest easy knowing that your portions are correct. From there, gradually expanding your healthy cooking skills is more manageable and more fun.
Where do you want your journey to go?
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