You don’t need better goals, you need healthy habits. Habits are the catalyst, the energy you need to meet your goals. Learn 15 healthy habits to start for the healthiest year possible.
I quit running, at least long-distance running. Years ago, I started hating it but felt forced into it. I knew I shouldn’t be working out to change my body, but in many ways, I still was.
Most days, I would push through, spending endless energy just getting myself out the door only to limp my way back with sore knees and a frustrated heart.
One day I asked myself, why am I running? What is the point? What was I looking for in it?
Honestly, I didn’t have many answers. At least not motivating answers. Some days, I think it would be great to run like I used to. To knock out five miles before a workday, but at what expense is that worth it?
I could set the exercise goal, train for the 10k, and start a training program. All while hating the entire process of it. Or I could go back to what I enjoyed – a simple run/walk while listening to podcasts.
After I realized this, I started to think about the other things I feel I need to do, some of which I have to do that I hate. The list is longer than I realized, but not all of them are necessary.
Leaving me to wonder, why am I forcing myself into more things that I hate for the sake of a destination? Even research shows that healthy habits only last if it’s something you enjoy. You desire what you get rewarded by, not by forcing yourself to love what you don’t.
I know some things aren’t going anywhere, like dishes. But to create change that sticks, you have to separate good things from things you hate. Shifting your perspective and finding a new way to do necessary things, like live healthy, that you enjoy.
Choosing to do more things that fill you and less than drain you. That is why setting healthy habits is more important than goals. Because habits are meant to fill you, giving you the energy you need to get out and live. Goals, they’re an energy drain. Instead of focusing on creating health goals, shift them to habits and see what comes of it.
Here are 15 healthy habits to take into the new year that will fill your energy tank.
15 healthy habits to take into the new year.
Habit 01: Let things go.
Let’s start with the most important. Let things go. Good things, bad things, hard things, questionable things, let them all go. Yes, you can acknowledge them, but don’t accept them as truth. If it’s not fruitful or helpful, don’t keep it but take a deep breath and let it out.
It sounds easier than it is. This one takes practice, but the more you implement this strategy, the more desire you’ll have to stick with it. Acknowledge, choose if you want to act and if not, let it out to create space for things that fill you.
Habit 02: Forgive first.
I’m coming in strong with these first two. Perhaps this one is easier to latch on to when you change your view of forgiveness. Yes, forgiveness is for the other person, but some argue it may be more for you than for them.
The act of forgiveness takes the wrong and places it back on the person who hurt you. Not to harm them but to make them carry what was never yours to carry. It’s an act of letting go of the pain other people placed on you so you can be free of the pain. Choose forgiveness, even when it’s hard. It’s worth it.
Habit 03: Drink a glass of water before anything else.
Before your coffee, before your breakfast, before your workout, drink a glass of lukewarm water. It doesn’t have to be a lot. A cup or two will do. Show up for yourself in this miniature way, and it will lead to showing up for yourself in bigger ways.
Habit 04: Make your biggest meal breakfast or lunch.
It’s backward from the traditional approach. But most of the ‘right’ things are just twisted into the ‘normal’ thing. Flipping your meal structure on its head can create many positive outcomes, working with your body when it’s working at its prime. Try making breakfast and lunch your larger meals of the day and your last meal your smallest.
Habit 05: Add Face Rolling + Dry Brushing To Your Day.
Maybe you’ve tried them out, and maybe you haven’t. But these two simple two-minute practices have amazing benefits to your health. Yet, they are so easy to overlook. Don’t overlook them this year but work to healthify your fascia. Take five minutes to practice face rolling and dry brushing.
Habit 06: More fictional reading.
I could clarify that as any reading, but I don’t want you to get so fixated on the self-help, lifestyle, and business books that reading becomes work. Get back to the joy of reading by picking up a fiction series. If you don’t know where to start, head to your local library and find the reader’s favorites. A captivating book creates a reward that leaves you wanting more. Plus, it healthifies your brain.
Habit 07: Log off on the weekends.
Technology is a blessing and a curse. It allows you to connect at any place and any time, which also happens to be a curse. This year, build a habit of logging off. Shutting down notifications, logging out of email, and powering down social media.
Fill your weekend with activities you enjoy, leaving no room for scrolling. Take the picture but print it instead of posting it.
Habit 08: Memorize Scripture.
The Bible specifically tells us to write scripture on our doorposts and to put it on our foreheads. To let your mind dwell on God’s word.
I wonder what would happen if we took this advice. We created the sword of protection over our enemy of anxiety, fighting fear with truth. Make it a habit to feast on the Bible, memorizing scripture.
Habit 09: Face to Face Communication.
In a post-pandemic world, face-to-face communication can still feel frightening. But if we learned nothing else from quarantine, it’s this. People were meant to be with people.
We’re relational beings, and the health of your relationships is partially responsible for the health of who you are. Set up the coffee dates, start the dinner club, have a game night. Get back to living in a community. The whole of who you are, needs it.
Habit 10: Create a Sexual Health Routine.
Sexual health routines aren’t commonly talked about. It may even blush like you’re in middle school again. But sexuality is a part of our being. Just as you’re a relational being, you’re also sexual.
Spend time learning how to nourish this aspect of yourself. Track your cycle, work on your pelvic floor muscles, boost your confidence. Just stop dismissing the value of your sexual health.
Habit 11: Have Mini Conversations with God.
Go ahead and have the prayer ritual, but don’t stop at the once-a-day communication with God. Make it constant, like a best friend sending memes back and forth throughout the day, make God a part of your everyday life.
At the stoplight, in the shower, while cooking supper, before starting the project, start the dialogue. Let God be a part of it all and lean into His guidance.
Habit 12: Meal Prep Weekly.
I’m not talking about prepping complete meals but batching basic ingredients. Pick two to five different ingredients like shredded chicken, rice, and roasted sweet potatoes to batch all at once and store in your refrigerator for the week.
These grab-and-go convenience foods can be used to make a complete meal or layered together to make a meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This is the simplest way I’ve found to eat healthy food on the fly. Get the seasonal guides here.
Habit 13: Start a 5-Minute Daily Meditation.
This falls into a similar category as prayer, but instead of you doing the talking, it’s more of you doing the listening. While there are many forms of meditation, the goal is to create space to come back to the present, creating room for you to understand your thoughts without accepting them as your truth.
Download an app to help you get started, pick up a Muse or find a quiet place and just begin.
Habit 14: Learn Something New.
Life is always and forever about growth. Let go of the belief that you need to arrive, which brings a chase and step into the mindset of growth. You may not be where you want to be, but that doesn’t mean you can live in health.
We all have places to grow. And as we grow, there will be more growth. Instead of letting that overwhelm you, lean into it. Make this the year to grow, learn, try something new, or pick up a hobby. Commit to the habit of learning.
Habit 15: Sit up Straight.
Yes, I’m talking posture. The one thing that can instantly change how you look. I know it seems trivial, but our posture changes the entire form of our fascia, creating the outer appearance of your body.
Set alarms, post sticky notes, create reminders to stand up straight. The more you do it, the stronger you’ll become until, eventually, it becomes a taller, slimmer version of you.
The best place to create healthy habits is by starting.
There are a million other small healthy habits you could create. The idea is that these aren’t things that you feel like you have to do. Things that add stress to your life but habits should lessen the stress in your life. Most of that is a perspective shift, but some happen in action.
Pay attention to how your body responds. How does it feel? Learn the signs when your body is falling out of balance so you can do more things that fill yourself back up with these simple habits.
Remember, habits are the catalyst to goals. Don’t set goals without focusing on the healthy habits that make goals happen.