How to Start the Year with Healthy Habits

As another year draws to a close, we’re all tempted to set New Year’s resolutions and think about all the changes we want to make in our lives. Unfortunately, no matter how determined we may be at the end of December, we somehow fail to live up to our expectations. We fall off the healthier, better version of ourselves bandwagon fairly early in the new year.

Let’s explore what you can do to start the new year with healthier habits and (perhaps more importantly) what you can do to make them stick.

Guest post by Sarah Kaminski.


Start Small and Slow 

The best way to start adopting healthier habits is to be realistic. You won’t magically wake up on January 1st and stop craving sweets. You won’t suddenly have the energy levels of a Duracell bunny. There’s no magic productivity and commitment switch that is flipped at midnight.

Instead, accept that changing your current habits and adopting healthier ones will take time. Start by making tiny changes. For example, instead of expecting yourself to wake up at 5 AM, if your usual time is 8 AM, set your alarm for 7.50 AM.

On a similar note, don’t try to change a lot of things about your life at the same time. You’ll quickly get too overwhelmed, and you won’t be able to keep up. Try to change just a couple of things at first. For example, start working out every day, but don’t change anything about your diet just yet.


Set Yourself a Clear Goal 

By setting yourself a specific, tangible, achievable goal, you will be able to hold yourself accountable. You will also have a clear endpoint in mind, something to work towards.

This goal can motivate you when you start to feel tired and when your mind tries to drag you back to your old habits. Remind yourself why you wanted to start adopting healthier habits in the first place. Write it down and stick it to the fridge or the bathroom mirror; make it your phone’s background.


Make Simple Changes in Your Habits and Routines 

In order to make your new, healthy habits stick, make the transition as easy as possible for yourself. Think about the most likely obstacles you could face. Think about the things that have prevented you from achieving these goals previously. Think about ways to reward and motivate yourself.

For example, your goal might be to journal every evening. Make this easier for yourself by leaving the journal on your pillow or by your toothbrush – somewhere you won’t be able to avoid it. That way, you won’t forget, and you won’t have a decent excuse not to do it.

If your goal is to drink more water, set yourself an alarm. Put glasses or bottles of water in every room, on every desk. Make the water tasty by adding some fresh fruit juice to it.

If you want to go to the gym three times a week, pack your gym back and leave it by the door. Set yourself a reward for going (make sure it’s not an unhealthy snack, though).


Work on the Trifecta 

Arguably, the three best habits to embrace are to eat better, move more, and improve your sleep. No matter what the healthy habits you want to form are, make sure they positively impact these three key areas of your life.

Start by making one small change in each of these categories. For example, stop buying fizzy, sugary drinks. Take a 15-minute walk around the block every day. Stop looking at a screen 30 minutes before bedtime.

You can also consider adding some new routines to your life. For example, you can try doing cold plunges. Unlike a cold shower, it can stimulate your body’s immune system more quickly and have incredible benefits on your overall health.

You can also try going to a new kind of fitness class or any kind of group activity. Try a new cuisine. Make it a point to try a new recipe every week. Buy a new mattress. Or buy a sunrise alarm clock.


Remember to Practice Gratitude 

A simple yet incredibly effective healthy habit you should try to incorporate into your life is practicing daily gratitude. It will make you feel more satisfied with life, lessen your stress and anxiety levels, and make you feel more grounded and centered.

When you are grateful, you have a completely new outlook on life. You are focused on the positive instead of on the negative. This will help your confidence and your optimism levels, and it will certainly help you deal with all kinds of situations. It can even help you form other healthy habits, like working out regularly or going to bed on time.

Take a minute or two every day to pause and really feel what you are grateful for. You don’t necessarily need to come up with something new every day. You can continuously be grateful for that special someone in your life or for the fact that you have a warm bed to sleep in.

Don’t forget to share your gratitude with others, and tell them how much they matter to you. 

Which of these healthy habits was already on your list? How are you planning to make next year count?

Don’t forget to cut yourself some slack, too. You can change who you are overnight, and you can’t expect it to be a steady climb to the top. When you falter or fall, pick yourself right back up again and keep going.



Mark Munroe is the Creator and EIC of ADDICTED. He's ADDICTED to great travel, amazing food, better grooming & probably a whole lot more!