Preparing for a new year often means setting your sights on new goals and making resolutions for achieving them. Most people view an upcoming new year as a fresh slate – the perfect time to release old, bad habits and replace them with better, healthier ones!

Although most of us have the best intentions when we make New Year’s resolutions, most people abandon their goals by mid-February.

emptyWhy Do Resolutions Fail?

Resolutions so often fail because we place way too much pressure on ourselves. We excitedly tout “New year, new me!” as if it’s easy to become a new person overnight. The reality is that drastic change is difficult. We cannot build a brand-new habit in a short amount of time, no matter how much we want to!

The American Journal of Psychology defines a habit as a “more or less fixed way of thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience."[1]

Therefore, building new habits is more complex than just promising to do certain things. For example, if you want to be the type of person who works out five times per week, you must first become a person who is passionate about their health. Habits that stick start with a transformation of your mental experience, not your physical surroundings.

emptyHow to Make Resolutions that Stick

The best way to make New Year’s resolutions that stick is to implement new things into your life, rather than removing things you don’t want. As you realize your new habits make you feel better and get you closer to your goals, you are likely to do more of what feels good and less of what doesn’t serve you anymore.

For example, instead of saying, “I’m going to stop eating junk food,” resolve to eat fresh vegetables with every meal. After a few weeks, you might notice that you have more energy and are getting closer to your ideal weight, which could make you even more passionate about your health.

empty5 Small Habits for a Healthy New Year

The three most popular New Year’s resolutions are centered around physical health. So, we thought we’d give you a few ideas for healthy and easy habits to form in the New Year! These five small habits can help you build the life you want.

1. Drink more water

Instead of promising to cut out sugary drinks, resolve to drink more water every day. Add 8 ounces to whatever you drink daily right now and add another 8 every week or two. This small habit might replace your soda and caffeine cravings, or at least significantly reduce the amount you drink.

2. Schedule (and attend!) yearly health exams

When was the last time you got your eyes checked? Had a pap smear? A teeth cleaning? Regular health exams are critical, even if you can see perfectly, feel amazing, and have never had a cavity. Your doctors will catch any early signs of illness and recommend lifestyle changes to halt or reverse progression. For example, catching high blood pressure in your twenties and changing your diet could prevent a heart attack later on.

3. Use sunblock every day

Everyone wants to have glowing, beautiful skin! But there are better ways to get it than baking under the hot sun or in a tanning bed. UV rays can cause skin cancer, premature signs of aging, eye problems, and immune system issues. Skin health is part of overall health! Wear a face moisturizer with SPF 30 (at least) every day and opt for a self-tanner or bronzing makeup.

4. Move your body daily

Going to the gym every day is a lot to ask of yourself if you haven’t yet built the habit of exercising. Start small with daily walks or a quick at-home workout (there are so many great ones on YouTube!). You can set bigger goals once your body is used to moving every day. For example, you could add weights to your home workouts or upgrade to daily jogs.

5. Eat breakfast every day

Mornings are hectic for most people, so making breakfast isn’t usually their first priority. Starting your day with some healthy fats, carbs, and protein gives you a great boost of energy, helps you stay full until lunchtime (which makes it easier to focus!), and curbs unhealthy cravings. If you don’t have time to cook a full breakfast, try to start your day with a big glass of water and something easy to grab and go. You whisk up a shake or just grab some Greek yogurt with fruits and nuts.

Setting New Year’s Resolutions is a great way for us to become healthier and happier versions of ourselves. Set yourself up for success by resolving to add small changes to your routines and build better habits!