The new year is a common time to decide to “get back on track” with healthy eating and exercise, or to start a whole new plan, but January and February are also two of the most challenging months to make changes, due to the short dark days, the cold weather and the increased incidence of seasonal affective disorder.

Plus, we have just come off the “high” of the holiday season and may be feeling a bit of a let down after the holidays, and if there was an increased amount of alcohol over the holidays, the rebound effect of this can be low emotions, moodiness or sleep disturbances. Not to mention food cravings, gas and bloating, or an overall increase in digestive distress from eating more sugar, carbs and more food in general.

So while a person may have the best of intentions in January to commit to getting healthier, they often find their ability to hold the course waning as the month wears on because they already have these factors weighing on them, making it harder to set and hold the course.

Here are 3 Simple Tips to Help Hit the Reset Button:

  • Habit Stacking: Choose 1 new habit to stack onto an existing habit that you do daily – for example, doing 5-10 squats while brushing your teeth. Since you brush your teeth twice a day, you will have added in 10-20 squats a day without having to “add” any extra exercise time to your day.

  • Add Before You Subtract: Work on adding in healthy foods before trying to cut out a bunch of things from your diet. None of us like the feeling of being deprived, especially after coming off a season of excess. A feeling of being “deprived” is not sustainable. Examples of this include adding more healthy fats and fiber to your diet before trying to eliminate sugars and carbs. You are more likely to feel satisfied and satiated, making it easier to cut back on sugars and carbs over time, and it is easier to sustain these changes when you don’t feel deprived.

  • Ask Who, Not How: Find a coach/mentor/accountability partner who can provide expertise, feedback and accountability to you. There is always strength in numbers, and knowing you’re not alone in feeling the way you might be feeling when making positive changes for yourself can be a game changer. If you are serious about making changes, the easy part is getting started. The hard part is to keep going when the going gets tough, or when life circumstances threaten to throw you off course (like they will always do if you’re not prepared for them!)

In an age of unlimited free information, if all we needed to make changes and be healthy was information, we might all be experiencing optimal health; however, this is not the case.

So for this year, rather than asking, “How am I going to get healthier this year?” ask the question, “Who am I going to surround myself with or hire as a coach to help take me to the next level in my health?”

Extra supports for building better habits