Get off to a great start to the new year. 7 healthy habits to master this week

Resolutions are creeping up on us — and we can almost see them lurking behind all the winter comfort foods and festive cocktails. But who says we have to wait until the new year to start thinking about our health goals?
Going all out once the calendar turns to 2023, without a gradual transition, will set you up for failure. After all, one of the biggest hurdles people face when dealing with resolutions is what starts off strong but quickly loses steam within a few weeks. If we start taking small steps now, we can make the transition more gradual, making it easier to incorporate change into our daily routines and stick to it.
Research shows that small achievements signal the reward circuits in our brains, releasing feel-good chemicals that make us feel more confident, boost our self-esteem, and boost our inner motivation. So while these habits may seem like a no-brainer, mastering them now can have a huge impact on your motivation levels next month.
So, what are some small goals you can start with to help kickstart your New Year’s health goals? I offer some ideas to get you started. Pick one to start with, then add one habit each week for the month. Don’t forget to acknowledge your victories (no matter how small) as you go. Over the next few weeks, you’ll slowly gain momentum and get yourself ready to run in the new year.

  1. Drink a glass of water every morning
    By now you’ve probably heard the advice to drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day. But if that seems like an impossible feat, or if you’re already doing it, try this easy way to drink more. Keep a water bottle or a glass of water next to your coffee maker so you have a glass of water in the morning before you take a sip of something else. Before your day has even begun, you’ve already done what’s required of your physical fitness.
  2. Add one vegetable a day to your diet
    Encourage yourself to eat healthier by committing to eating only one extra vegetable a day. This could be an extra handful of spinach in a smoothie, broccoli in a stir-fry, or kale chips as a late-night snack.
  3. Exercise 5 minutes a day
    Don’t like sports? That’s okay too. Commit to moving your body for 5 minutes a day, whether it’s standing still while cooking on the stove or taking a walk around the block. Lowering your expectations for exercise can reduce the motivation needed to get yourself off the couch and reduce the willpower needed to get through longer workouts. You might be surprised how easy it is to turn a 5-minute walk into a 10- or 15-minute walk once you get started.
  4. Sit down on Sunday and plan your fitness routine
    I like to encourage my clients to sit down on Sunday and plan their week. If you live and die by calendars, you’ll love this advice! You just take 5 minutes to look at your schedule. Just take 5 minutes to look at your calendar and you will see that you are a very dynamic person. Just take 5 minutes to look at the week ahead and schedule some “me” time for your workouts. Whether it’s a 5-minute yoga stretch on the app, or a 45-minute walk or HIIT workout, put it on your calendar for the date and time you plan to get it done. The simple fact that you took 5 minutes to make this is something to celebrate!
  1. Work on your relationship with yourself
    Whether you’re looking to find the motivation to exercise, feel more confident at work, or be happier in the day-to-day, cultivating a positive relationship with yourself is the first step to getting there. Try setting up a journal by your bed, or a self-improvement book on your coffee table next to your remote. Before you go to bed or watch your favorite show, encourage yourself to pick up a pen and connect with your thoughts and feelings.
  2. Relax Stiff Body Parts
    Is your neck always tight? Or is your butt always sore? Pick an area of your body and commit to stretching once a day to help relax that area. If it’s your neck, try putting your right ear on your right shoulder, take a few breaths, then switch sides. If it’s your hip, try sitting with your right ankle on top of your left knee to stretch the outer hip and glute. If it’s your shoulders, do shoulder curls in the morning when you open the mail.
  3. Create a 5-Minute Nighttime Routine
    Chase away stress, replace unhealthy habits like snacking and drinking, and take a few minutes to yourself in the evening. Set an alarm on your phone as a reminder, then set a timer for 5 minutes. Do meditation, take deep breaths, write in a journal, or text a friend. Focus on taking those few minutes to do something that relaxes you. It could even be a new nighttime beauty routine, like doing a face mask or massaging your feet with lotion. Incorporate some self-care at night in any way that relaxes you.

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