Happy almost new year! It’s that time when a lot of us are looking ahead and thinking of what resolutions we’re going to make for the coming year. Instead of vague or short-term goals this year, why not resolve to start a healthy habit that you really want to stick with?
Have you ever noticed how the gym is extra crowded that first week in January? By mid-January the wait time for that elliptical trainer is a little bit more reasonable, and by the end of February things have pretty much settled back to normal. That surge in gym-going is a great example of how new year’s resolutions often work: we set out with the best of intentions, but our resolutions are too big or too vague to really follow through with them all year long.
Starting a healthy habit takes time. I’ve read a lot about starting habits, and depending on what source you’re looking at, it can take anywhere from 21 to 66 days. That means that you need to practice something regularly for anywhere from a few weeks over two months to really make it part of your routine. And that’s if you’re practicing every day.
If your healthy habit is doing something once a week or less, it’s going to take longer. Going into this with reasonable expectations is key to building healthy habits that stick!
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What’s great about starting a habit is that once you establish it as part of your routine, it stops being a chore and starts being part of your routine. Brushing your teeth in the morning is a great example of a habit. We wake up bleary-eyed, and for many of us the first thing we do is stumble into the bathroom and grab that toothbrush. It’s almost a reflex, right?
New years resolutions so often are something vague – like “get in shape,” but vagaries are hard to stick to. Check out these ideas for healthy habits that you can form in 2013, and remember: practice makes perfect!
Up Next: Start a gratitude jar