New year’s resolutions are not anything, well, new. The tradition of honoring the new year has been around for thousands of years. And in the mid-1700s, the idea of looking at past mistakes and seeking ways to improve began to take root.
But while some people eschew the idea of setting new year’s resolutions, there is power in setting goals and creating a plan to make them happen. While January 1 might seem like just an ordinary day, no different than January 2 or March 15, the new year does signify a time of change.
“Any time you have a moment that feels like a division of time, your mind does a special thing where it creates a sense that you have a fresh start,” psychologist Katy Milkman told the BBC.
The new year is often a popular time to focus on creating good habits to improve health. The holidays can often be a time of indulgence and stress, and you might feel the need to refocus on your health in the new year.
As we head into the new year, there’s no better opportunity to commit to starting good habits. You can exercise regularly in the water or incorporate more vegetables into your meals. Another idea is to make room for meditation and mindfulness. These habits can improve your physical and mental health, as well as benefiting your overall quality of life.
How to create healthy habits
Change can be challenging and it doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, despite popular wisdom, creating a habit does not take 21 days. Research suggests that the time frame, on average, is 66 days.
Yes, it can take more than two months to incorporate just one new habit into your life.
While it might seem discouraging, it is possible to create sustainable change and create habits that benefit your life.
The Association for Applied Sport Psychology offers these tips to create healthy habits for 2022:
Start small. Choose one or two things that you would like to change then, build from there. When we try to change too much, we can feel overwhelmed.
Prepare for obstacles. A health journey rarely follows a linear path. Many people will face obstacles and setbacks along the way. If you want to create healthy habits this year, understand and plan for that. Consider the obstacles that you might face and how you want to handle that.
Stay positive. When we are focusing on creating habits, it’s because we want to change. And, oftentimes, we are trying to “fix” something we don’t like. However, a negative approach can affect your success. Try reframing your goals so that they set you up for success — not failure. Instead of committing to “stop eating so much junk,” make it a goal to add in more whole foods to your diet.
Social support. Studies show that people who seek the help of friends or loved ones are more successful than those who go it alone. Seek support from the people in your life and let them help you.
Healthy habits for 2022
The first step to creating change? According to Dr. Lisa Marsch, an expert in behavior change at Dartmouth College, you begin to make change by becoming aware of what you do day to day.
“Look for patterns in your behavior and what triggers the unhealthy habits you want to change.” [source]
Common new year’s resolutions or habits that people want to incorporate include regular exercise, reducing stress, and logging off electronics.
Regular physical activity
January weather can be cold and blustery, depending on where you live. It’s much easier to stay inside, under a blanket on the couch, instead of heading out to the local fitness center.
However, regular activity is important to maintaining your overall health. Americans should get 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. That averages out to 30 minutes most days of the week.
But you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home to work out. You can create your own at-home gym set-up that supports your health goals for 2022.
The ultimate “piece of equipment” is a Master Spas swim spa. A swim-in-place pool alternative, you can swim, exercise, relax, and splash around year-round. A swim spa has an endless water current that creates resistance for exercising, as well as hot tub seats for therapy and relaxation.
Stress is a part of your life. No matter how much you try to avoid it, there are situations (or people) who will create stress in your life. However, you can choose how you manage and react to stress in your life.
Among the ways you can manage stress are listening to music, going outside for a walk, and talking to your friends. Massage and relaxation can also help you ease stress, especially if you struggle with tense muscles.
But can you make massage a daily habit? Yes. Whether you have a hot tub or swim spa, you can soak and use massage jets to ease stress and tension. Soaking in warm water can increase circulation and stimulate the nervous system. As your muscles relax, your body will release endorphins — the feel-good hormone.
If you snooze, you lose? The old adage might not be further from the truth. Sleep is crucial to good health and well being.
But 37 percent of American adults get less than seven hours of sleep per night, which can lead to negative health consequences. Sleep affects your immunity, weight, risk of heart disease and diabetes, and more.
How do you know if you aren’t getting enough sleep? If you feel tired when you wake up and find yourself wanting to take a nap throughout the day, you likely aren’t getting enough quality rest.
If you want to prioritize sleep in the new year 2022, you need to examine your sleep habits — otherwise known as sleep hygiene. Some of the factors to consider are noise and light from electronics and reading or consuming stressful media/books.
A surprising way to improve your sleep is to take advantage of hydrotherapy. A warm soak, whether in a bath or hot tub, can elevate your core body temperature. When you get out, your body temperature will drop. This shift will make it easier for you to fall asleep, and you will achieve a deeper sleep more quickly. A 20-minute soak in your hot tub can become part of your nightly ritual, signaling to your body that it’s time to sleep.
Create a support system
When you decide to adopt healthy habits in the new year, you are choosing things that you want to change. It can feel like a lonely process. However, your chance of success will increase exponentially if you enlist the help of friends and family.
An accountability partner makes it easier to get in a workout or cook a healthy meal. The process no longer feels like it’s just about you.
As you move into the new year, consider one of your “healthy habits” to be fostering a support system. Identify people who want the best for you and will keep you accountable to your goals. But more than that, allow them to lift you up when you need it and don’t be afraid to reach out.
Get started on your journey
Habits can take time to foster but with preparation and support, you can make positive changes to improve your well-being. A Master Spas hot tub or swim spa can help you get active and stay active as you foster healthy habits in the new year. Learn more about the benefits of water exercise and hydrotherapy with a Master Spas swim spa. Or, contact your local Master Spas retailer to learn more about spa ownership. Wondering how much a Master Spas costs? You can request a quote here.