New Year, New Habits: How to Form, Maintain and Sustain New Health Habits

After an indulgent season filled with festive cookies and holiday feasts, it is only logical that the resolution on everyone’s mind for 2024 is health.*

43% of people who set resolutions in the New Year abandon their efforts by the last week of January.** The New Year is the perfect launching pad to introduce new habits and a healthier lifestyle. With a positive mindset and some helpful tips from Premier Medical Group, you’ll be on your way to forming, maintaining, and sustaining new health habits throughout the upcoming year.

Set Realistic and Specific Goals

One of the biggest hurdles people face with goal-setting and New Year’s resolutions is the desire to make big sweeping changes to their entire lifestyle. It is common for people to feel like they need to change every aspect of their lives to achieve success. They make big broad exclamations like “get fit” and “eat better” that have little clarity. However, it is more sustainable to set realistic and specific bite-sized goals to start. 

Consider narrowing down your health-focused goals to one aspect of your overall healthier lifestyle journey. Use a goal-setting strategy like SMART to create specific, measurable, attainable, realistic/relevant, and time-bound goals. Let’s break down the “get fit” goal. If you’re just starting this journey to fitness, a SMART goal may be to take a 30-minute walk (specific), twice a week (measurable and attainable – you’ve got time twice a week!), to improve your overall fitness (relevant), every week for 4 weeks (time-bound). Setting a goal like this helps you track your progress easily and stay motivated to grow your goals throughout the year!

Be Consistent

Now that you have small, manageable changes with clear expectations, you can move on to the next phase: consistency! As these small changes become habits, you will be able to gradually increase the intensity and duration of your activities.

Consistency is key when forming new habits. Each day that you reinforce a new activity it rewires your brain and becomes second nature. Establishing a regular routine helps your body and mind adapt to the changes more efficiently. Set specific times for your healthy habits, whether it’s morning workouts, regular meal times, or designated moments for self-care. Over time, your routine will become ingrained in your daily life, making it less likely for you to skip or forget your healthy habits.

Make it Enjoyable

Just because something is “healthy” or is geared toward creating a healthier lifestyle doesn’t mean it has to be unpleasant. There are so many ways to make a healthier lifestyle enjoyable. If you’re not enjoying yourself – or worse – depriving yourself of things you enjoy, the higher the risk of failure is in sticking to your goals. 

Choosing activities you enjoy increases the likelihood that you’ll stick with them in the long run. If you dislike running, don’t force yourself to become a marathon enthusiast. Experiment with various activities until you find something that brings you joy, whether it’s dancing, cycling, swimming, or practicing yoga. When you genuinely enjoy what you’re doing, it becomes easier to turn it into a sustainable habit.

Track Your Progress

Keep a record of your achievements, no matter how small. Tracking your progress allows you to celebrate successes and identify areas for improvement. Use a journal, a mobile app, a calendar, or any method that works for you to monitor your activities, nutrition, and overall well-being. Reflecting on your journey can boost your confidence and serve as a reminder of how far you’ve come.

Share your health goals with friends, family, or a supportive community. Having someone to share your progress with can provide motivation and accountability. Consider finding a workout buddy, joining a fitness class, or participating in online communities dedicated to health and wellness. The encouragement and shared experiences of others can be instrumental in helping you stay on track.

Celebrate & Recalibrate 

Once you are comfortable with goal setting and you see success, it is important to celebrate and recalibrate your goals! Treat yourself when you reach milestones along the way. Celebrate your achievements with rewards that align with your goals. It could be a relaxing massage, a new workout outfit, or a guilt-free day of indulgence.

Embarking on a journey to form new health habits requires commitment, patience, and a strategic approach. Setbacks are to be expected, and as you progress, you will find yourself recalibrating and revisiting your goals as your health needs change. By setting realistic goals, starting small, and establishing a consistent routine, you can increase the likelihood of success. Remember, the goal is not just to make changes for the new year but to cultivate habits that contribute to a healthier and more fulfilling life in the long run.

Still not sure where to begin? Talk to your doctor at Premier Medical Group today to align your New Year’s resolutions with your health goals.