New Year, New Habits

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The start of a new year signifies a new beginning and new habits! It is a time for setting goals like improving our health, connecting with others, and exercising more. However, according to the U.S. News and World Report, about 80 percent of people fail to stick with their New Year’s resolutions, and most give up completely by mid-February. So why are most of us unsuccessful at keeping our New Year’s Resolutions?

For a lot of us, as we approach the new year, we tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do better than we did last year. This can lead us to set very high, unrealistic goals, which is why we tend to make the same resolutions year after year.  How do we break that cycle?

It is important to focus on realistic goals that create a healthier lifestyle, rather than a quick fix! Remember it is a marathon, not a sprint.


Why You Might be Unsuccessful:

The build-up to each holiday season can bring excitement, anticipation, and stress. For a lot of us, we find ourselves with more to do, buy, and prepare. And this year posed extra challenges, like navigating the holidays during a pandemic. When it all ends after New Year’s, often we are left in a slump. Some research suggests that the reason may be due to the adrenaline rush wearing off after the holiday season. Other factors can play into that blue feeling as well:

“This year, I’m going to stick to my exercise routine.” Does this sound familiar? Often, we have high hopes that this year we will be able to stick with our goals but come February, we have usually forgotten about our New Year’s Resolution.


Here are some reasons why you may have a hard time achieving your goals:

  1. Your goals are not clear.  Having unspecific goals can create a sense of uncertainty and confusion about what you are trying to accomplish:

Unspecific Goal: I want to eat better.

Specific Goal: I want to add a serving of fruit to my lunch each day.

  1. You grow impatient and give up.  When we focus solely on the outcome (like weight), and it does not happen fast enough, we tend to lose our focus and the drive to do it.

Example: “I’ve been exercising for weeks and haven’t seen my weight change.”

Try this instead: Focus on the activity/exercise that is enjoyable for you to do and less on how frequently the scale moves.

  1. You make too many changes at once. Trying to change too much too quickly is hard for most of us to sustain. Pick one new goal that you want to focus on and go from there!


Tips to be Successful:

  • Start small: Create a habit that you can build upon daily, weekly, monthly that will have a lasting impact.
  • Set realistic goals: Set yourself up to be successful – if it is too much or too challenging in the beginning, you are less likely to be successful at it.
  • Be honest with yourself: If working out at the gym is not for you – be honest with yourself and commit to something that fits better in your life.
  • Reward yourself: Always give yourself a pat on the back, a celebratory fist pump, or a cheer after you complete your new habit/routine.
  • Pair an action with your goal: Goal: “I want to eat more fruit a day.” What would this look like daily for you? Action: “I will pack a serving of fruit in my lunch every day.” Or “I will keep fruit at work to have on my break.
  • Do not be too hard on yourself: If you get off track, just pick up the next day – do not sweat it!


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