Forget Resolutions: We’re Building Habits.
Jan 27, 2023
When January 1st rolls around, it’s fun to get excited about a fresh start. Motivation is high and a clean slate on the calendar can make it feel easier to get started with the healthy habits that allow you to feel your best.
It can be tempting to make a resolution to kick things off in 2023–but experts caution against it.
According to Steve Errey, confidence coach at LifeHack, resolutions are often attached to lofty goals that begin to feel impossible once an initial surge of motivation fades.
“The problem is that you’re taking something that doesn’t mean anything to you and trying to make it happen,” says Errey. “Resolutions lack a foundation of meaning and personal relevance that makes sure they run out of steam.”
Instead of developing resolutions that will help you hit your goals in the new year, Errey recommends committing to sustainable habits that you can continue over time.
“What you need is something more fundamental, more central and more important to you,” says Errey on why habits are more effective than resolutions. “What you need is something that comes from the inside, something that’s based on what’s important and what matters to you.
That’s the only way to get behind it, have confidence in it and keep the motivation and commitment going.”
The numbers back up Errey’s thoughts. According to a 2020 survey, 74% of Americans make New Years’ resolutions. 55% of Americans believe that they’ll be able to follow through, but less than 20% of people are still on track with their goals by the start of February.
It’s clear: while people have the best of intentions when setting New Years’ resolutions, the follow-through is lacking. Thankfully, all hope isn’t lost.
Focusing on setting habits–instead of just setting pie-in-the-sky goals–can be a smart way to actually follow through with the actions that lead you closer to where you want to be.
Here are concrete steps you can take now to help you set yourself up for healthy habits in the new year.
Habit Development Tip #1: Set a Goal.
This sounds eerily similar to creating a resolution, but that’s not where you’re headed. In order to figure out what healthy habits will be meaningful to your life, it’s important to know where you’d eventually like to end up.
While weight loss related goals are common at the start of a new year, you don’t have to focus on the number on the scale to begin to develop habits that are conducive to good health.
Creating a performance-based goal (like running a mile in less than 12 minutes) or a movement-based goal (like getting 10 minutes of physical activity in every morning before you leave the house for work) can be helpful thoughts to help you decide what habits you need to implement to move closer to where you want to be.
Habit Development Tip #2: Decide How You’ll Get There.
After you’ve figured out where you want to be, it’s time to create your action plan. This is where you’ll decide on the healthy habits you need to stick to day in and day out to move toward your goal.
Remember, these are the actions you’re committing to every day, and if you find that they’re not moving you closer to your goal, you can adjust as necessary. There’s room for error here, and the goal is to work toward better health.
Don’t be afraid to go micro with your goals. If you aren’t ready to commit to daily movement yet, setting the goals that will help you get there–like reaching out to a personal trainer during the first week of January, or committing to laying out your clothes each night to set you up for a few minutes of movement in the morning–can launch you in the right direction.
Habit Development Tip #3: Ask For Help.
Asking for support can be a key piece in setting the habits that move you forward. Whether you choose to reach out to a professional or you talk with those in your household about supporting you in working toward your goals, getting the people around you involved can help you stay on track when motivation inevitably wanes.
Finding social support can also be key in helping you stay strong in your new habits, according to recent research, as people tend to be influenced by the behaviors of other people they spend time with. If you’re working to develop a regular workout habit, signing up for sessions with a trainer who you find motivating and inspiring can help you stay strong even when you’re not feeling motivated to hit the gym. Working to eat healthier? Taking a healthy cooking class can help you stay on the right path even when it’d be easier to just stop for fast food.
When you begin to include others in your journey toward your goals, be sure to talk with them about what helps you stick to the plan. Whether you prefer tough love or compassionate reminders to stick to the plan, letting the people around you know how they can help can set you up for success.
Habit Development Tip #4: Revisit the Plan Regularly.
As mentioned, there’s no need for you to be super-rigid when it comes to sticking to the habits you set at the beginning of the year. If you take the advice to start small, it’s likely that you’ll be ready for new challenges after a few weeks or a few months.
Taking stock of your progress is important, and scheduling some time to check in with yourself every couple of weeks can help to ensure that your habits are still moving you in the right direction. If 10 minutes of movement every morning has become your routine, adding a half-hour training session once a week could be the thing you need to propel you toward your ultimate goals. If meal prepping every Sunday has become a standard part of your week, adding in a daily goal to get through a large bottle of water every day at work can help to move you forward.
Stay flexible with your habits, and remember, you’re the one in charge. As long as you’re moving toward your goals, you’re doing it right.
Fitness Together Studios Are Here to Help!
The personal trainers at Fitness Together studios are excited to get to know you and help you develop the goals and habits that will keep you moving toward becoming your happiest, healthiest self. Reach out to your local Fitness Together studio today to connect with a trainer who can help you take your fitness to the next level, one healthy habit at a time.