Ditch the New Year's Resolutions: 12 life-changing habits

Ditch the Resolutions: Try These 12 Life-Changing Habits Instead

By | January 15, 2022 | lifestyle, self-care

There’s always so much pressure after the holidays to define a new year, a new you. Yet you might just be setting yourself up for failure. It’s not only the WORST time of year to attempt a dramatic lifestyle change (read: winter fatigue); most New Year’s Resolutions aren’t specific enough to measure success.

Raise your hand if you ever kept a New Year’s Resolution. Ever. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? See, you’re not alone.

On average, 80 percent of resolutions fail by the second week of February each year. 

Dr. Kevin Campbell, US News & World Report

So this year instead of making one lonely New Year’s Resolution, we’re challenging you to try out 12 new healthy habits in the next 12 months. Look at it like speed-dating habits. Keep the ones that work for you and kick the others to the curb.

12 Months of New Habits

In case you don’t know where to start, here’s a roadmap to a healthier and happier you, one month at a time.

January: Relax, Already!

That new diet and gym membership are going to become the bane of your existence this month when you return to work tired and exhausted from the holidays. You’re going to want to throw that cup of diet tea at your boss and mow down all the donuts in the breakroom when that avalanche of unanswered emails hits your inbox.

Why Change?

Workplace stress is not only real, it’s on the rise. What’s more: stress is your enemy when you are trying to lose weight. Increased cortisol levels — stress hormone released by the adrenal glands — can lead to weight gain and cardiovascular problems.

Try This: Meditation

Start with daily 5-minute meditations and gradually increase the number of minutes. Aim for 10-15 minutes of meditation by the end of the month.

benefits of meditation
Start with 5 minutes. Wake up a little earlier or try before you go to sleep. Find a quiet, comfortable space, set a timer for 5 minutes, and simply try to clear your mind of whatever you’re thinking. Learn more »

February: #BuJo, Because Planning is Prevention

This is the annual American Heart Month, so it seemed fitting to introduce something called a Bullet Journal. Keeping a Bullet Journal (or BuJo for those already initiated) can help you track and measure your health goals.

Why Change?

It’s really easy to promise yourself you’ll go to the gym everyday after work and start bringing salads for lunch. Yet, it is also all too easy to come up with excuses not to do those things (you know what they are) and then conveniently forget about the promises to yourself.

Try This: Wellness Journaling

Hold yourself accountable. Plan and track workouts and weekly heart-healthy menus in a Bullet Journal this month.

How to use a Bullet Journal for Better Health #BuJo
Get started by picking one small, healthy habit to adopt for the first week. It could be as simple as going to bed 15 minutes earlier or eating one extra vegetable a day. Track it in your new journal. At the end of the week, review your progress. Repeat. Learn more »

Bonus: Journal with S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Last year we talked about ditching pie-in-the-sky resolutions for measurable and attainable goals. Learn more about S.M.A.R.T. Goals here.

There are no "quick fixes" or "Magic Bullets" only good habits.

March: EMF (Eat More Fiber)

Experts tell us that one of the best dietary predictor of long term health is the amount of daily fiber we consume. Adequate fiber intake not only improves digestive and gut health, it is also linked to maintaining a healthy weight cardiovascular health. If you aren’t eating enough fiber, you’re at a higher risk for weight gain, constipation, high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes.

Why Change?

There’s a good chance you aren’t getting enough in your diet. There’s a population-wide deficiency — what nutritionists call the “fiber gap ” — with close to 95 percent of people in the US falling far short of the daily recommended amount (25 grams for women and 38 grams for men).

Try This: Make Better Fiber Choices

For this month, try adding 1 to 2 fiber-rich foods to your daily diet until 10-15 grams soluble fiber per day.

eating more fiber for heart health.
Legumes, whole grains, fruits, and veggies are all high in fiber. Check out our list of dietician-recommend fiber-rich foods. Pro-tip: Gradually increase your fiber intake and your water intake together to avoid constipation. Learn more »
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April: Green Your Body & Mind

There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.

Rachel Carson

The winter is behind us, by evidence of the buds on the trees and tulips and daffodils are in bloom. The theme for this month is spring renewal, with a nod to Earth Day. From learning more about where our food comes from and making healthier choices to testing the water in our homes, there are opportunities every day for improving the quality of our life and the environment.

Why Change?

You’re probably familiar with this idealistic refrain: “Make Earth Day every day!” — but what does that really mean? It is easy to get caught up with life and work and lose a sense of connection with the environment.

Try This: Practice Eco-Mindfulness

Try swapping out one habit or behavior a week with a more eco-friendly option. Check out our list of ideas here.

Earth Day, April 22nd, is a day dedicated to raising awareness about the health of the planet, dating all the way back to 1970. Not surprisingly, many of the things we do to keep our bodies healthy can also keep our planet healthy. Learn more »

May: Get Your Daily Dose of SPF

The sun is rising earlier and setting later. And the mild temps are oh-so tempting. And after being cooped up all winter, it’s a treat to get outside and enjoy the sun!

Why Change?

 90% of skin aging is caused by sun exposure. Here’s another fact: you can’t reverse skin damage from the sun. Mindlessly leaving the house without sunscreen or not applying sunscreen properly can put you at risk.

Try This: 30 Minutes Before You Go

With adequate protection, you can prevent sun damage while enjoying all your favorite outdoor activities. Sunscreen takes, at minimum, about 15 minutes to absorb before it is effective. If your sunscreen is chemical, make sure that you apply it 30 minutes before going outside (if you’re unsure, apply early).

How to stay protected from the sun all day
Timing is EVERYTHING when it comes to protecting your skin from the sun. Once you’re out, make sure you reapply every 2 hours for normal use and after 40 minutes if you’re swimming or sweating significantly. Learn more »

Bonus: Boost SPF Protection with Vitamin C

Vitamin C benefits for skin graphic
Oral vitamin C supports collagen production, which is the protein that makes our skin firm and tight. Taking vitamin C also helps your body fight free radicals and can even boost your sunscreen’s protecting power. Learn more about Skin-Loving Supplements »
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June: Daily Self-Affirmations

The more you hear something, the more you believe it. It’s called the “illusory truth effect” which what happens when you start believe something after it has been repeated over and over again.

Why Change?

Sometimes the things we’re hearing or telling ourselves aren’t making us feel so good. Maybe it was an event, like a break-up or getting laid-off. Maybe you didn’t get the promotion you expected or you simply feel like you aren’t measuring up. But focusing on negative thoughts isn’t healthy.

Try This: Daily Affirmations

It may sound cheesy on the face of it, but there is truth to the power of positive thinking. According to the Mayo Clinic “positive thinking helps with stress management and can even improve your health”. This month practice daily affirmations. Here’s a list to get you started.

25 Affirmations for a Midyear Slump
Affirmations are taking control of your narrative. Your story. Who YOU are. Next time you catch a self-deprecating thought becoming your truth, replace it with a positive truth. You do this by repeating the positive statement to yourself when you have that negative thought. Learn more »
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July: “100-Mile Diet”

This diet isn’t focused on weight-loss, but many people claim that it can help keep the pounds off. The concept is that you limit yourself (as much as possible) to food produced within 100 miles of your home.

Why Change?

There’s nothing wrong with lining up for Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich. But when our diets lean heavily on processed or over-packaged foods we aren’t doing our bodies — or environment — any good.

Try This: Visit Your Weekly Farmers’ Market

Look up you local farmers’ market and make it point to visit it weekly this month.Support the environment, local farmers, your taste buds and fuel your body with the nutrients it craves!

eating fresh in-season fruits and veggies
Choosing in-season produce is less expensive, fresher, more environmentally friendly and even tastier! Get dietician recommendations here »

August: Good Hydration is a Game Changer

The dog days of summer are a good reminder that, like plants, we’ll wilt without enough water. It can be hard to keep up with your recommended daily water intake, it can be hard to choose water over the flavor of soda.

Why Change?

Interesting fact, if you find yourself craving sugar or soda you are likely dehydrated. What’s more, is your entire body needs water to function properly. Water is essential for the kidneys. And if you’re dehydrated, your skin becomes more vulnerable to aging.

Try This: Infuse Your Water

An easy way to make your water more exciting is to add a little bit of flavor — something as simple as simple as a lemon wedge to something as complicated as a custom unsweetened tea blend make great calorie-free additions to water. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Up your hydration game
Getting in those 8 glasses per day feels like a lot, but when they aren’t all plain water, that half gallon of fluid can be easier to reach that goal. Get infusion recipes here »
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September: Back-to-School Meal Cheats

Even if you aren’t going back to school (or have little ones that are), we all get overwhelmed with life. This month is about saving time and money on meals without sacrificing nutrition or flavor.

Why Change?

You know the story. You want to be healthy. You want to eat a good home-cooked dinner. But, if you are like any working adult, you also have 5,000 other priorities and cooking dinner is not one of them. Because you haven’t been grocery shopping in weeks!

Try This: Sign-up for a Meal Plan

No, not like a college cafeteria meal plan. Grocery shopping takes planning and time. And if you grocery shop without a plan you find yourself throwing out a lot of food. To the rescue! Subscription meal boxes give you the satisfaction of a home-cooked meal without the burden of planning and shopping.

the healthiest subscription food boxes
The benefit of a subscription meal kit is that what you get in the box what was designed by a team of chefs and nutritionists. Here are our picks »
recipe card icon

October: Tame Thy Sweet Tooth

This is the GIVE ME CANDY month. And whether you are 5 or 50 you are going to be offered sweets for the next 120 days.

Why Change?

We all know sugar is bad. That it might be as addictive as cocaine (at least according to hyperbolic news coverage). Here are few reasons why toooooo much sugar is not good for you:

  • Leads to adult-onset diabetes and obesity
  • Impedes absorption of protein
  • Causes cavities and decrease oral health by increasing bacteria

Try This: Halloween Candy Swaps

Granted, Halloween is only one day of the month. But is it, really?! Here’s how to enjoy a bag full of Halloween candy with some moderation? Check out these swaps to knock out that sweet tooth!

Try This, Not That: Halloween Candy Swaps
Setting a hard limit for candy this holiday can take you out of the holiday spirit and leave you focusing on calorie intake instead of enjoying delicious once-a-year treats. Try this, not that »

November: Be Thankful.

Studies have shown that the more grateful you are, the better your mental, emotional, and physical health. This sounds easy at first but think about the last time you actually sat down to focus and reflect on the things you were grateful for in your life

Why Change?

It can be easy to get caught up in the negatives that happen in life because they tend to cause us the most discomfort and sadness, which is why gratitude lists are so important in maintaining a healthy outlook on life.

Try This: Make a Gratitude List

My favorite Thanksgiving tradition has always been going around the table and stating what everyone is thankful for. But why have one day of a year to think about what you are thankful for? This month, try to give thanks every day.

Here's Why Keeping a Gratitude List is Good for you
While a gratitude list can be done at any time, doing one at night and reflecting on the previous hours of the day can help instill a feeling of calm and peace of mind before bed. This may also result in improved sleep, which we all know is crucial for all facets of our health. Learn more »

December: D is for Detox

You are a living, breathing, whistling detox machine. Your liver and kidneys are working every day to break down and filter out toxins and harmful substances from your body. Which is a good thing, because we are exposed to everyday chemicals that aren’t good for us. So how can a detox diet or cleanse program help? 

Why Change?

It’s hard to make changes to diet because you have to make a conscious effort over a period of time — 66 days to be exact — before a new habit becomes automatic. Also, it’s the season for over-indulgences and you may need a reset before the New Year.

Try This: “Body Reset” Detox Diet

A detox diet isn’t going to “clean out your colon” or to remove toxins from your body any more than what your liver and kidneys are doing. But, it can help support the natural detoxification process and potentially help alleviate other issues. 

Detox Diet Guide Header
A detox or cleanse focuses on what we can control: what we eat and drink. Detoxing can help you ween yourself off of unhealthy foods. It’s also a good practice for learning about foods that you didn’t know where making you feel not your best. Here are some tips for doing a detox right »

Bonus: Get a Free 5 Day Detox Meal Plan

Free 5 Day Body Reset Plan

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