How to Make Healthy New Year Goals that Last
Making healthy new year resolutions is easy… but sticking to them? We know that this is not so simple. In fact, most of us will give up on our well-intended new year goals by the end of February.
This usually happens because we have attempted to change too many things at once, we’ve put too much pressure on ourselves, or our healthy goals are too vague.
It can help to think of your goals as measurable objectives. These objectives can be set, tracked and anchored in existing habits to help you stay motivated in the short run – and well into the future.
Make Healthy New Year Goals that Last in 2021
Here are some tips for staying on track and making your health goals last the distance in 2021.
#1. Define your goals in terms of a specific behaviour
Instead of aiming to “eat healthier”, define this goal in terms of a behaviour you can easily visualise and keep track of. For example, “cook a vegetable-based dinner twice a week’. Instead of aiming to “exercise more”, try “walk around my work building before having lunch on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays”.
#2. Remind yourself of why your goal is important to you
Vague goals like “to be healthier” are unhelpful, because they may not be connected with what you care about right now. Instead, you can reflect on the positive impact your new behaviour will have on things that are important to you right now. For example, “walking around the block at lunchtime will help me feel more energised, so that I can play with my kids when I get home from work”.
#3. Anchor your desired behaviour with something you already do regularly
It is easier to gradually add a positive action to your existing routine than to create a completely new routine from scratch. For example, “drink more water” is less a helpful goal than “drink a glass of water before I brush my teeth in the morning”.
#4. Don’t let slip-ups set you back
Don’t try to be perfect with your new year goals! Instead, focus on engaging in the positive health behaviour as often as you can. If you experience a slip-up, treat each next opportunity to choose a healthier option as a fresh start.
#5. Keep visual track of your progress
Keep a tally of the times you engage in your healthy new year goal and look for a gradual increase over time. Seeing your progress like that can help you stay motivated to stick with the changes you are trying to make.
A final note: These tips can also apply to making positive changes to your mental health! As you may know, our online programs teach practical skills to tackle psychological difficulties and improve how you feel. You can use these same principles to help you implement the strategies you are learning about throughout your course.
You can browse our range of mental health and wellbeing courses here.
Interested in learning more?
Free Online Tools for Coping with COVID-19
Access a suite of practical workbooks, an audioguide, and other useful materials to help you manage coronavirus stress and anxiety.