New year, new habits! As the new year ramps up, many of us are already thinking about what we want out of 2023. Maybe you have some lofty goals, or maybe you want to make tweaks to your current lifestyle. Whatever you’re striving for, here’s how to make a lasting change by taking on a few healthy habits in 2023.
Setting the stage for the new year
We’re used to hearing about new year habits and resolutions. But when it comes to our personal health goals and aspirations, we often fall short of making lasting change. Studies have shown that about 80% of new years resolutions fail. Why do so many people fail at creating healthy habits? How can we become more successful at creating healthy habits for the new year that will last beyond January 1st? The answer lies within the initial stages of habit formation: executing them in a realistic way that makes sense for your lifestyle.
While it’s important to strive for your goals, it’s also essential to remember to be kind to yourself along the way. Slip-ups are to be expected, and the process won’t be perfect. Make it your unique new year’s resolution to do everything with empathy and kindness for yourself.
As you keep that in mind, here are 4 healthy new habits to adopt in 2023.
1. Prioritize your mental health
Regardless of what self-care and mental wellness look like to you, you’ll want to make sure that you’re prioritizing what makes you feel good. Your body takes cues from your thoughts and feelings, which affects how your physical body operates.
The link between physical and mental health is well-established by researchers today. When we feel better physically, our ability to focus improves as well. Bottom line: the body and brain are directly linked.
This year, make a point to block out time in your calendar for mental wellness activities:
- Counselling appointments
- Intentional movement
- Relaxation activities like baths or massages
Remember: your form of self-care won’t look like anyone else’s. No matter what makes you feel good, set time aside specifically for that. One way to do this is by using your sick days as a mental health day. This will ensure you can fill your cup completely uninterrupted, without the stress of the outside world.
2. Regularly move your body
More movement is one of the typical habits for the new year that people strive for — but for good reason. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Exercise also helps you maintain a healthy weight and stay strong, making it much easier to get through the day. Just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day can make a big difference in your overall health.
Those who have a tought time getting into a regular workout routine may feel that they’re too busy or unmotivated — and it’s true that there are many demands on our time. But even small amounts of exercise add up over time. For example, if you take just 15-minute daily walks during your work break, you’ll have racked up hours by the end of the week! To make habit formation as easy as possible, try starting with just five minutes every day and slowly increase as your endurance builds.
Alternatively, you may already know what kind of physical activity works best for you. For example, some people love running while others prefer cycling, swimming, or weight training. Try exploring an activity out of your comfort zone. Not only will you pick up a new hobby, but consistent movement will do wonders for your physical and mental health. And remember to always consult with a doctor before making any changes to your routine.
3. Embrace meal planning
Meal planning is a great way to save money and stick to your diet. By planning ahead of time, you can make sure that you have enough nutritious food for the week, and also plan for leftovers. This will encourage you to eat at home more often — keep you on track for your health and budget goals.
4. Get plenty of sleep
One of the most important habits you can develop this year is setting a sleep schedule. Sleep is essential for your body and mind, as it gives your body downtime to regenerate, resulting in a better daytime experience. The amount of sleep people need varies, but most adults require seven to eight hours every night.
Going to bed at roughly the same time each night will help you fall asleep faster and avoid tossing and turning all night long. We also recommend practicing healthy sleep hygiene. This will solidify your routine throughout the new year, helping you feel better during the day.
What are your habits for the new year?
There’s no getting around it: developing healthy habits for the new year is an ongoing process. It takes time, dedication, and regular practice to establish new routines and break old ones. The key is to be patient with yourself — and don’t forget to celebrate every small success! With a little commitment, you can establish some good habits for the new year and beyond. If you’re looking to hit your goals this year, a counsellor can help you set a plan for success — and stick to it. Working with a registered counsellor holds you accountable, and gets you back on track if you lose sight of your path. Counsellors can also see your blind spots, addressing them before they get in the way of your resolutions. Experience easy online counselling for all Canadians. Learn more.