We’ve reached the end of January. It’s cold and wet and the perfect setting for sitting back and contemplating life and it’s intricacies. I’ve come to the conclusion that I have yet to pick a new year’s resolution for 2022. Most years it’s been easy. Reducing my use of plastic water bottles, answering phone calls from friends instead of sending them to voicemail, losing a few pounds of the holiday weight gain. We’ve all been there. But this year seems… harder. The pandemic is raging again, and if you’re anything like me, you’re just trying to put one foot in front of the other. Taking things one day at a time, and some days, one minute at a time is an excellent way to keep your chin up and power through.
Now that the holiday madness has quieted down, perhaps it’s time to contemplate a resolution. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s something that’ll add joy to your life. It could be reading one book a month or calling your mom more often. Maybe it’s waking up 15 minutes earlier so you’re not frantically rushing out the door every morning on your way to work. Take a moment and think about what you want to resolve this year. Once you have that, focus on how to carry that resolution throughout the year. There’s no denying that sticking to your resolution is the hardest part of the process. So how do we do this? According to a NIH study in 2012, it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit and an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. Wow! Two hundred and fifty four days….that’s the lion’s share of a year! Instead of doing your resolution alone, you can get a friend or family member to join you. Start a book club, go for one walk a week with your pal, or quit smoking! Whatever your goal is, lean on your friends. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, there’s a handy guide from the NIH Study:
How to Make a Goal a Habit:
- Decide on a goal that you would like to achieve for your health.
- Choose a simple action that will get you towards your goal which you can do on a daily basis.
- Plan when and where you will do your chosen action. Be consistent: choose a time and place that you encounter every day of the week.
- Every time you encounter that time and place, do the action.
- It will get easier with time, and within 10 weeks you should find you are doing it automatically without even having to think about it.
- Congratulations, you’ve made a healthy habit!
Let’s say your new 2022 goal is to wake up earlier every day, let’s start with setting your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier than you typically do. If you snooze through your alarm clock, move the alarm across your room so you have to get out of bed to shut it off. Pick out your clothes the night before you go to bed and set your coffee pot on a timer so that it starts brewing even before your feet hit the floor. Once you remove the barriers to waking up earlier and create solutions for reducing frantic mornings, you’ll be waking up early in no time and no longer have to rush to get out of the house.
If you’re looking to start any health related goals, make sure to talk with your health care providers if you have any concerns. We’d be happy to chat with you!
Now go off and talk with your friends and family! See what resolutions they’ve come up with this year and stick to it!
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