Habit Hacks for a Healthy 2019

I can’t believe 2019 is right around the corner. It’s always a great time of year to reassess our lives and what’s important to us. Usually it’s around this time of year that we realize we should be spending more of our precious time with family and friends and taking care of our health. This typically means eating and drinking better or exercising more. Many find the goals they set for the New Year quickly dwindle as the year gets busy and we get back into our same bad habits and routines. To help with that, I’ve put together 7 hacks you can implement today that will help guide you through the holidays and beyond.

  1. Don’t Do New Year’s Resolutions: According to U.S. News, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February, so the odds are against you. Rather than set yourself up for failure with phrases like, “This year I’m going to work out more or eat better,” commit to daily, weekly, and monthly lifestyle changes. For example, “I am going to drink 60 ounces of water every day.” Or I am going to work out 3 times per week.” Set milestone goals; they are the keys to sustained long-term success.

  1. Start Small: Whatever your large goal is, break it down into small daily tasks you can accomplish easily. Instead of, “I am going to lose weight,” decide to take the stairs everywhere you can instead of the elevator. Instead of, “I’m going to learn a new language,” purchase a CD program and agree to listen to a language CD for 20 minutes every day. The best way to take a large impossible goal is to turn it into small manageable tasks.

  1. Get the Hard Stuff Done First: Procrastination is a hard habit to kick and most of us try to put off the hard stuff as long as possible. I say do those things first and get them out of the way. Make exercise your first task of the day so you don’t have to worry about fitting it in later. Plus, you’ll feel really good about yourself all day long because you’ve already accomplished something so great for the day.

  1. Replace Screen Time for Goal Time: Take a true inventory of how much time you are spending in front of a screen—computer, TV, tablet, or phone—and reassess your priorities. More screen time means less of everything else time, whether that’s spending time with the ones you love or spending time taking care of yourself (for example, exercising or taking the time to make a healthy meal).

  1. Celebrate the Small Stuff: You deserve a win. Change is hard, so why not celebrate your little wins along the way? Set up a reward system that is not tied to the negative action you are trying to change. If you are trying to lose weight, reward yourself to a massage, a fancy new headband, coffee, or a new shirt, and stay away from food rewards. The one I hear most often is, “I’ve worked out a lot, I earned this 2,000-calorie reward.” Just so you know, the whole calorie counting thing doesn’t work like that. You just made all this progress working out and now you’re going to blow it on some silly food loaded with nothing nutritious.

  1. It’s a Lifestyle, not a DIET: Diets are fads, and they usually cannot be sustained for a long time. Find a program that requires a new lifestyle. Besides, living a healthy life is the greatest gift you could ever give yourself.

  1. Be Thankful and Grateful: As soon as you wake up in the morning, write down three things that you are thankful for. There is science behind thankfulness and happiness. The more thankful you are, the happier you are; the happier you are, the more likely you are to accomplish your goals for the day.

I hope these tips help you get focused for the New Year and really put some plans into action that will allow you to reach your 2019 goals. Good luck!