The start of a new year is often an exciting time and an opportunity for reflection as many of us look back on the year prior and evaluate what worked (and what may not have). However, it can potentially bring an overwhelming feeling of stress about how we can be better moving forward. Changing your lifestyle is about baby steps, so follow these tips to create healthy habits that last.
Recognize your achievements
Upon reflecting on the past year, it can be easy to look down on yourself for fallbacks. But it’s important to remember how far you’ve come already. Perhaps a year ago you didn’t drink as much water or take frequent enough walks. Take note of the achievements you’ve made — no matter how small. Doing so will empower you to take more steps towards your end goal. Remember: change is not possible overnight, so the progress you made in 2021 is important to acknowledge.
As you start setting goals for the new year, think short and long term. There are 365 days for you to get that much closer to the best version of yourself. You may try breaking the year into chunks — perhaps in three-month increments. This will help you see your goals more clearly and make them more attainable.
For example, from January to March, you may strive towards 8 cups of water each day. From April to June, introduce a new exercise routine 3-5 days per week. During the months of July through September, motivate yourself to improve your gut health. Then close out the year by practicing meditation or journaling every day before bed. There are plenty of fun ways to prioritize a healthy lifestyle, so don’t be afraid to get creative with your approach.
Give yourself some grace
There will be days when you don’t eat enough vegetables or skip a workout, but that doesn’t mean you’re not on your way to a better lifestyle. Several things can get in the way of our health journey, including lack of sleep, financial concerns, problems at work, or trouble at home. Occasional slip-ups are part of the process, so when they happen, give yourself some grace. It won’t take long for your consistent practices to become habits. And the healthier you become physically and mentally, the more resilient you are to handle life stressors.
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