Whether it’s to sit less or sleep more, we all have life tweaks we’d love to tick off in the New Year.
Making a resolution may seem old-fashioned, but it’s a wise move, according to recent research: People who come up with a New-Year plan really do have more success at making a change than those who don’t.
Three tips for getting any healthy routine to stick:
Don’t schedule it. “Planning a new habit for a certain time of day means watching the clock and remembering when to do it,” says Jeremy Dean, PhD, author of the new book Making Habits, Breaking Habits. Instead, make it second nature: Use an already-formed habit as your cue. If you always wash your hands then change clothes after you get home from work, tack on your new jogging routine right after the last thing you do.
Troubleshoot. Anticipate what might challenge your resolve and have a work-around. For instance, if your goal is to be less sedentary, think, Since I get super busy at work, I’ll set a timer to remind me to take stretch breaks every half hour. “This kind of ‘if...then’ plan gives you the maximum chance of remembering to carry out the action,” Dean explains.
Take baby steps. Got a big goal, like revamping your diet? Break it down: Start by eating a decent breakfast each morning, and once that becomes second nature, move to the next step. “If you can successfully make a small change, it will give you confidence and the appetite for more,” Dean says.