Community Health & Wellness

Wellness Wednesday | How to create lasting healthy habits for the New Year

Posted on January 10th, 2024 By: Scot Fleshman

Did you know “only 9% of Americans who make resolutions complete them? In fact, research goes on to show that 23% of people quit their resolution by the end of the first week, and 43% quit by the end of January.”

Even still, people are highly focused on specific New Year’s resolutions and goals. In fact, a Forbes Health/OnePoll survey from October 2023 discovered that almost 48% of people had to improve their fitness as their top priority. It was followed by 36% focusing on their mental health.

Interestingly, physical and mental health go hand-in-hand. When you improve one, you can also positively impact the other. This leads us to conclude we should strive for specific goals to support a healthier 2024 rather than setting vague resolutions.

Healthy Habits For Your New Year

There are many options to choose from for your new healthy habits, but here are some suggestions that focus on your overall well-being:

  • Drinking more water each day
  • Improving your sleep quality
  • Moving your body daily
  • Nurturing your relationships with others
  • Building your physical strength
  • Becoming more mentally resilient
  • Regular self-care activities
  • Improving your flexibility
  • Meal planning for better nutrition
  • Setting and attending regular medical check-ups

Each of these suggestions can support your physical and mental well-being both in the short and long term. However, if most people don’t stick to their New Year’s resolutions and goals, how can you succeed at yours?

Start the New Year Well and Keep the Momentum 

Start small: Choose one or two specific habits that support your health and that you want to incorporate into your life. Once you have solidified those as regular habits, you can move on to a new one.

Break it down: Take that overall habit and make it even smaller and more specific. For example, if you want to drink more water each day, set a specific amount you want to achieve. Then set yourself up for success by creating an environment supporting this specific habit.

Supportive environment: You are more likely to stick with your new healthy habit if you enjoy the process because you’ve created a supportive environment. Back to the example of drinking more water: Go buy a fun new water bottle to keep with you all day. Create regular timers on your phone that remind you to take a break and take a drink. Stack this new habit with another one you ALWAYS do. You’ll be much more likely to succeed when you put multiple layers into play to support your new habit.

Accountability: This is a big factor in why many people do not succeed with their new habits. They don’t set up the accountability component. Accountability can come in a variety of ways. From using apps to setting timers, keeping a log or journal, or including another person in your journey. Each individual is different, so you’ll need to find what works for you which may take some trial and error.

Celebrate your wins: Factor in times to celebrate your achievements in maintaining your new healthy habit for 2024. Both the BIG and small wins! Doing this regularly helps your brain to look forward to the reward at the end, meaning you’ll be more likely to keep your momentum.

Creating new healthy habits to support your well-being is never easy, but the payoff will be worth it. You have already done the hard part — deciding to start, so keep your progress going. Start implementing these five steps to set yourself up for success and know that the family at Gig Harbor Primary Care is always here to support you. Cheers to new healthy habits in 2024!

Scot Fleshman

The Wellness Wednesday column is written by Scot Fleshman, an advanced registered nurse practitioner and board-certified family nurse practitioner. Fleshman and his wife, Jessica Hopkins, own Gig Harbor Primary Care.