Tip #1: Think about habits rather than resolutions.
The month of January is named after Janus, the God of Beginnings, who valued the beginning of the day and the month equally to the beginning of the year. Why set a new resolution (or a whole list of resolutions) once a year? They are often lofty and vague goals like “losing weight.”
Instead, you can honor Janus by using the beginning of each month as a starting point. Identifying small actions that can become new habits. If your usual resolution is to get healthier, why not start today by drinking one more glass of water a day? It is smaller and less overwhelming than, say, joining a gym or changing your entire diet.
Tip #2: Anchor your new behavior to a habit you already have.
Consider your current routine, perhaps you set up your coffee the night before. Add one step to this, place a glass of water in front of it, and then in the morning, you will be reminded to drink that glass before you get your coffee. Then, rather than relying on your memory, set up a small action that will “trigger” the behavior. Do this for November until it becomes a habit to set up a glass of water when you’re setting up the coffee maker every evening.
Then, at the beginning of December, add a 30-minute walk to your day. Perhaps you find yourself yawning around 2 PM every afternoon. Use a post-it note to remind you that “yawning = walking,” and take a 30-minute walk outside when you start yawning.
Tip #3: Make it fun!
We are more likely to do something when we look forward to it, so pick your favorite glass and make that your “water in the morning” glass. For example, mine is a large cup with a cute sloth saying, “Nope, not today” that was a gift, and it makes me smile every time I use it.
Try to use your 30-minute walk to call a friend or listen to your favorite podcast so you begin to look forward to it. Pick a comedy podcast so you’re laughing and it’ll quickly become your favorite part of the day.
Tip #4: Celebrate your consistency.
Keep track of the number of days per month that you are successful, and pat yourself on the back (or call a friend to pat you on the back). Your brain will give you a shot of dopamine, which feels good and can help the behavior become a habit.
If you do this once a month, by January 1st, 2023, you will be adding a third habit to your day and will be well on your way to becoming more healthy and you have increased the likelihood that you will continue well past February 1st.