Four ways to create healthy habits for 2019

The new year is a great time for a fresh start, when you can radically shake things up and zero in on personal goals. While roughly half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, only 9 percent actually keep them, according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute. Why? Because many resolutions can be either too ambitious or restrictive to maintain in the long term. Yet, the dawn of a new year can be one of the best times to “reset” your goals, and our experts offer tips on how to start 2019 off right and continue all year long. 

Move daily

You don’t necessarily have to start with a 10-mile jog. “A little something every day or a little something regularly is more beneficial than one big sweaty calorie-burning yoga class or one big workout,” says Adriene Mishler, who offers free yoga and meditation videos at By providing free content, she hopes to make regular practice more accessible to the masses and convince more people that daily exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. “Whether you walk, do yoga, meditate — try not to get too hung up on having to do a big program or burn a million calories. A little goes a long way.”

Strengthen connections

“The key to happiness is relationships,” says Gretchen Rubin, author ofThe Happiness Project. You can develop and deepen current relationships by attending a college reunion, joining a book club, throwing a party or hosting a neighborhood potluck. It’s not about quantity of friendships, but the quality. “People who are the happiest tend to have the most robust relationships.”

Renovate your eating habits

Skip the cream and sugar. “Drinking your coffee black for 30 days is not hard,” says Melissa Hartwig, co-creator of the Whole30 diet, which, she asserts, is not meant to be a permanent food plan. Instead, it’s a tough-love, 30-day program that eliminates sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes and most dairy — common foods that are problematic for many people — from your diet. After 30 days, slowly reintroduce these foods, carefully calibrating and renovating your eating habits to ensure your body is at peak performance. “So many people feel out of control with their food habits. Resetting to the point where your energy is balanced, your mood is improved, your cravings are down. … That is such a powerful experience that it will have an impact in other areas of your life, too.”

Welcome growth and focus

“It’s really important to embrace the growth mindset,” says Hartwig. “If you want to make changes in your life like eating better or exercising or meditating, you can embrace this idea and then look for ways to support that.” Mishler suggests using pen and paper. “Don’t underestimate the power of writing down your intentions and keeping that in mind as you progress throughout the year.” However, Rubin says that another way to stay focused during the year is to pick a theme and concentrate on only doing things that support that idea, such as serenity. “It’s a way to keep your highest values in mind as you go forward.” Rubin adds, “because a lot of times we’re so distracted by everyday life. It helps make life more meaningful.”

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