Healthy Habits for the New Year

newyear

Happy 2016!

Since it’s the start of a brand-new year, I want to do something a little different today.

It’s something that can help make your whole year different—and better.

I’m going to share with you what I’ve found to be the secret recipe for actually making positive life changes that stick.

Whether or not you make New Year’s resolutions, at the start of a new year it’s hard not to reflect on how things went the previous year and what you’d like to improve moving forward.

So New Year’s is a great time to focus on new, healthy habits.

But once you get a certain number of years behind you, it can be tempting to grow cynical about this.

After all, we all have our demons, and some of them are things you’ve probably been struggling with your whole life.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve resolved to work less, lift weights, turn off all screens by 10:00 PM, get back to playing violin, and so on.

But here’s what happens: I might end up doing a couple of those things for a week, and then I get overwhelmed. I feel like there’s too much to do, and for every new habit I want to adopt, there’s something else I have to give up.

And I don’t like the feeling of deprivation!

Because true change involves letting go of or altering a habit—and a habit is something that, by definition, you’ve learned to do regularly and find hard to stop.

That’s why I’m so excited to share a new approach I’ve learned to making changes—an approach that’s already working for me.

I discovered it by reading a book I highly recommend called The Power of Less.

It taught me the amazing power of choosing just one small habit and devoting an entire month exclusively to practicing it.

The keys to this approach are:

  • Focusing on only one thing you want to change at a time
  • Making only one tiny baby step at a time, so you can’t help but do it
  • Doing it regularly each day, and having accountability with a friend

So rather than beginning 2016 with big, dramatic resolutions that would change everything, how about picking just one healthy habit you’d like to begin?

For example, I just started having a glass of warm lemon water first thing every morning. It’s detoxing, nurturing, and it’s easy to do.

What if you have a goal that’s harder to achieve? Like, what if you’ve been going to bed at midnight and the first thing you need to do is start hitting the sack earlier and getting more sleep?

Well, then you might begin by going to bed just 15 minutes earlier every week for a month. In a month, you’re going to bed at 11:00. You could do it for another month, and you’ll be going to bed at 10:00. Or, maybe the second month you’ll start working on your wake up time, in 15-minute increments.

Do you see how this works?

And you can add a new habit to work on any month of the year. So if you achieve a goal over the course of a month, or at least develop a new habit, then you choose another thing to work on in small steps the following month.

Imagine if you did this each month: by year’s end you’d have 12 new habits!

If you like this idea, I encourage you to brainstorm all the healthy habits you might conceivably want to adopt this year, and then pick one—just ONE—to try in January.

It needs to be something you’re excited about and think will have a big impact on your life.

Then you need to further brainstorm and come up with the first baby step you’re going to take toward it. The step should be so manageable it almost feels too easy.

Making the step super easy is key to avoiding any feelings of overwhelm and sacrifice. It also enables you to build confidence and a sense of accomplishment, which practically ensures you’ll want to keep going.

To get you started on your healthy new habits brainstorming session, here are some ideas:

  • Have a glass of warm water with lemon first thing each morning
  • Have a green smoothie for breakfast 3x per week
  • Cook 3 dinners per week at home rather than going out
  • Make breakfast and lunch vegetarian or vegan
  • Have a big salad for lunch 3x per week
  • Replace coffee with green tea 3x per week
  • Make a fresh green vegetable juice 2x per week

I hope this inspires you (and again, for lots more inspiration, check out The Power of Less).

I really want to hear what you come up with.

So, please, please, stop by my Facebook page and let me know what goal you choose and the first baby step you’re taking toward it.

Remember, you don’t have to do this alone. I’m doing this too, and on Facebook we can all support each other.

So what do you say we dedicate 2016 to helping each other take small steps toward big things?

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