U.S. Navy Admiral William H. McRaven once said, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”
Big changes begin with accomplishing small tasks that provide a bit of courage to do the next task, which encourages you to do the next bigger task, and so on. There is nothing wrong with having ambitious goals. But often the key to success is to start with small habits that can significantly improve the quality of your life.
Navigating New Year’s Resolutions
New Year’s resolutions tend to have just a three-week lifespan before they are long forgotten. According to fitness tracker Strava, people are most likely to let go of their resolutions on the 19th of January.
It seems that the approach to resolutions could be affecting a person’s motivation more than they think it is. Psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert told Business Insider that one of the three main reasons that resolutions fail is that they are too vague.
For example, telling yourself to “get in shape” this year may seem like an intimidating task, until you turn it into a straightforward objective such as “run a mile every weekday,” or “practice 16/8 intermittent fasting daily.” This way, you have a clear and practical picture of what you’re working toward.
The desire to start the year well may pressure you into setting big goals for yourself, but resolutions need not be drastic! Specific and measurable goals are easier to visualize and therefore easier to achieve. Instead of aiming for lofty resolutions, work on making improvements in your life through good, small ways.
Four Healthy Habits
Building good habits isn’t all about diet and fitness, or increasing your productivity. It’s also learning to take better care of yourself in mind, heart, and body.
Here are practical habits that could do wonders for your lifestyle this 2021:
1. Drink at least two liters of water daily.
It’s true that the needed daily water intake varies from person to person, and is dependent on a variety of factors like the season and an individual’s diet. Health experts say that the 8×8 method, or eight glasses of eight fluid ounces (around two liters) of water a day, is a good estimate for your body’s needs on the daily.
An easy way to keep track of this is by having a trusty tumbler that helps you take note of how much water you’ve had. Keep at it, and you’d be surprised at how much your body will benefit from being well-hydrated.
2. Pick up a hobby you enjoy.
The buildup of stress often leads to burnout, so it’s important to have a healthy outlet that helps release tension in a fun, relaxing way. This will look different for everyone. For some, it may be participating in workout challenges that help them build muscle. For others, it can come in the form of passion projects such as writing a short story or setting up a home garden.
If you’re stumped, it helps to ask questions about the kind of activities you are more inclined to and fit in with the kind of lifestyle you have. After all, hobbies are meant to be enjoyed and shouldn’t have to feel like a chore.
3. Get your hair trimmed regularly.
Seem odd? Well, research shows that hair affects self-image. For any woman who’s ever gotten emotional upon getting a drastic haircut, now we have an explanation.
The regularity of your haircuts will vary depending on your hair type, but scheduled trims and pamper sessions for yourself are an investment for your wellness. Don’t underestimate how a good haircut can help you become more comfortable in your skin and confident in how you carry yourself.
4. Have a habit tracker.
A great way to reinforce habits you are working to form is by being accountable to someone, like a friend or family member who is willing to keep tabs on your progress. A low-maintenance alternative to keep this routine going is by using a habit-tracking app to motivate you. Who doesn’t enjoy ticking boxes and seeing their streak to see how well they’re doing, right? These reinforcements help build momentum to keep at your habits.
There are even apps that let you share your progress with friends. In a way, habit tracking is also a creative method of staying connected with people.
Give Yourself Time to Get Used to It
Discipline isn’t built overnight. These habits, small as they are, will require some effort to maintain. There will be days when it will be hard to perfectly fulfill every task, but don’t sweat it!
Encourage yourself with the thought that as you keep training yourself to build better habits, you are also reinforcing a healthier lifestyle that will have long-term benefits physically, mentally, and emotionally.