It’s January, which means a new year! That means a new you…right? Not necessarily! A new you doesn’t have to be the case just because the calendar flipped over but if you like to treat the new year as an opportunity to find ways of self-improvement, consider adding some new healthy habits. These healthy habits are less about the ‘ta-da’ of New Year’s resolutions and more about focusing on personal development and finding ways to improve your life and wellbeing.
Following the excess and fun during the holidays, many of us view January as a month to scale back and set ourselves straight. But this mindset often accompanies a general feeling of limiting ourselves (bad habits, bad food choices, etc). The trap is the mindset of limitation and focusing on the ‘bad’. Overall health and wellbeing can really be found in balance, and healthy habits are a great way to introduce and add improvement to your life. So, retrain that brain! Consider January your chance to add new healthy habits, rather than a season of limitation and exclusion. We’re not depriving ourselves this year; we’re setting ourselves up for success with an abundance of healthy habits.
How to Develop Healthy Habits
So where to start? Picking up a new habit may seem overwhelming, and it’s true it does take a bit of work. With new habits, pick something that’s tangible and realistic to your day-to-day life. Are you looking to start a new habit of meditation but have never been able to sit still in silence before? Start small, keep your bar low and try a meditation app for a few minutes a day, then build up over time. Want to increase your physical activity but not a fan of the gym? Find a friend that might be interested in a dancing class and get your physical activity in while seeing your pal.
The key to building, maintaining and developing healthy habits is finding something that you’re interested in, that seems easy to you, and starting small. We often put off adopting new habits because we don’t want to start and then stop or experience failure. But if you pick something that seems like a good addition to your schedule and would add value to your life, then make a plan for it, you’re setting yourself up for success. And go easy on yourself - developing new habits isn’t an easy task. If you find yourself inconsistent in the beginning, don’t throw in the towel too quickly. Keep at it!
Healthy Eating Habits
Eating and food habits are typically high on the list for people looking to improve themselves come January. But like we mentioned at the start of this blog, healthy eating habits doesn’t need to mean depriving yourself of foods you love. Instead, healthy eating habits are about balance. This means the foods you love can stay, but in moderation. And in the name of abundance, think about all the healthy foods you can add to your diet.
Having healthy eating habits also doesn’t mean eating salad everyday (unless that’s your thing!). Instead, consider it as an opportunity to explore new foods that are healthy options. Maybe this means trying a new cooking class to introduce yourself to a new type of cuisine or finding a YouTuber that has fun and healthy recipes to try out. Not a fan of cooking yourself or scouring the grocery store for all the recipes? Consider trying a subscription meal service, many of which have healthy options. These can help introduce you to new recipes and foods that you might not have considered before.
Healthy Sleep Habits
You’ll spend a lot of time sleeping this year (though probably not as much as you’d like). So make it good sleep! Good sleep can be hard to come by for a lot of us, but you can work towards it by building healthy sleep habits.
When it comes to developing healthy habits, picking up new sleep habits requires a slow approach to trying something new while being diligent with yourself. If you continually find yourself spending too much screen time before bed, try to enforce a cut-off time a couple hours before lights out. Big fan of watching TV in bed? Try moving that habit to another room and turn it off 2-3 hours before you hit the hay.
Some other healthy sleep habits might be easier for you to adopt. Try a sleeping mask to keep out light, or a white noise machine to drone out distracting sounds. Keep your room cool and comfortable. And if you can manage it, try to introduce a wind down activity into your evenings before you go to sleep. This will look different for everyone, but it could be a reading time, meditation, a puzzle, or a bath. Whatever you pick, keep it consistent and screen-free to limit that blue light exposure before lights out.
Healthy Mindset Ideas
For many of us, our areas of improvement might be a little less tangible than eating better, exercising more or getting better sleep. Maybe you’re interested in improving your mindset in 2023 and want to find ways to reduce stress and anxiety in your life. While healthy habits like a balanced diet, physical activity and good sleep can definitely help you reduce stress, here are a few other ways to help you improve your mindset in 2023:
- Budgeting - finances can be a big source of stress for many people, especially in current times with rising costs and inflation. A healthy habit to focus on in this area can be budgeting. Creating a budget might seem like a chore, but it’s actually an act of self-love that can help ease your stress around finances and spending. Putting your expenses on paper (or in an app) and tracking your spending can identify areas when you can save more or cut back.
- Social media - another area that adds stress and anxiety to our lives is the amount of time we spend on social media. Consider ways in which social media might be negatively impacting your mental wellbeing and mindset, and if there’s room for growth here. Find yourself spending lots of time on social media comparing yourself to others? Consider spending your time off-app and look for ways to engage with your family and friends without a “like” or comment section. You don’t need to keep up with the Stories and Reels. Create the healthy habit of investing some of your time off social media apps and see if this has an impact on your mindset, stress and anxiety.
- Decluttering - Lastly, I know we mentioned that your healthy habits can be about abundance, but one area where less is more can be clutter in your home. Physical clutter and mess can have the same effect on your mind and create stress where you don’t need it! Spend some time going through your clutter and think about how you can donate, recycle, or throw out what you don’t need. You might just find that decluttering your physical spaces frees up some space for a positive mindset. Make this a habit by incorporating it into your routine so the effort each time is minimal.
Make 2023 the Year of Healthy Habits
These are just a few tips to kick off your year of healthy habits in 2023. Don’t get discouraged if you find it hard to adopt a new healthy habit - keep at it and soon you could be reaping the benefits!