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Tiny Habits, Big Results: The Secret Weapon for Health Goals That Actually Last

February 01, 20244 min read

Is your gym membership collecting dust? Does the thought of another kale salad make you yawn?

Let's face it, New Year's resolutions often fizzle faster than a wet firework. But don't despair! This year, let's ditch the fad diets and unrealistic goals and unlock the secrets to lasting healthy habits that fit your life.

As we step into 2024, many of us are enthusiastic about setting new goals and intentions for the year. In fact, the majority of these goals and resolutions are around our health! Whether that is to increase exercise, to participate in an event (e.g. 5km run), eating healthier, eating less sugar or to lose weight.

 However, the initial enthusiasm for New Year's resolutions often wanes (or goes away all together) after a few weeks. Life has a way of throwing unexpected challenges our way, and before we know it, our well-intentioned habits slip back into the familiar routine.

8 Reasons

Why New Year’s Resolutions Sometimes Fail?

 Before we look at ways that we can set ourselves up for success, let’s explore what gets in the way of the success of these resolutions.  

  • Unclear Goals: Goals/resolutions lack clarity and they aren’t specific – you don’t actually know what you want to do and WHY!

  • Impulsive Decision Making: The resolutions have been created on a whim and not given much thought

  • The end goal is Overwhelming: The change is too big and takes too much effort to maintain (and even think about).

  • Resistance to Change: You’re not mentally prepared for the change in some way

Five Tips to Set Yourself Up for Success!! 👊

1. Define Your Goals Clearly, including your WHY

  • When setting health goals, it's crucial to be specific. Instead of a vague goal like "exercise more," specify the type of exercise, frequency, and duration. For example, "I will walk for 30 minutes five days a week."

  • Consider the "why" behind your goals. Connecting emotionally to your objectives reinforces your commitment. If weight loss is your goal, think about how it will positively impact your energy, confidence, and overall well-being.

  • Document your goals and motivations. Writing down your aspirations and the reasons behind them helps crystallize your vision. Keep this document accessible for regular reflection.

2. Start Small and Build From Here

  • The concept of starting small is rooted in behavioural science. BJ Fogg, a leading expert in habit formation, emphasises the effectiveness of tiny habits. These are small actions that are easy to integrate into your existing routine.

  • For example, if your goal is to improve your diet, start by adding one serving of vegetables to one meal each day. As this becomes a consistent habit, you can gradually increase the changes.

  • Consider "stacking" habits. Pair your new habits with existing ones. If you already have a morning routine, adding a new habit to that routine can make it more likely to stick. This way you can be more consistent.

    A five-minute walk you do every day has more impact that the 10k run that you never do.

3. Celebrate Your Success

  • Celebrating your successes, no matter how small, is crucial for maintaining motivation. It creates a positive feedback loop that reinforces your commitment to your goals.

  • Define milestones and celebrate them. Whether it's completing a week of consistent exercise or resisting the temptation of sugary snacks for a set period, acknowledge and reward yourself.

  • Celebrations don't have to be grand. It could be as simple as treating yourself to a relaxing bath, enjoying a favourite healthy snack, or giving yourself a ‘high-five’.

4. Don't Wait - Start Now

  • This time you might have waited for the 1st of January, but that doesn’t need to be the case. Just start implementing what you want to change NOW.

  • Avoid procrastination, which can often stem from a desire to have a “perfect start point”, BUT imperfect action is better than no action, and this way you can expect to review things as you go.

  • Sometimes taking the first step is often the most challenging, as the familiar is comfortable. Our nervous systems often resists if we’re making changes, so the smaller change is sometimes the better.

5. Seek Support - Don't do it Alone

  • Acknowledge that asking for help is a strength, not a weakness. Share your goals with friends, family, or a professional.

  • Having a support system provides encouragement and accountability. It's easier to stay on track when you know someone is cheering you on

  • Consider joining a fitness class, hiring a health coach, or participating in online communities where individuals share similar health goals. The sense of community can make the journey more enjoyable and sustainable.

Got big plans for this year? Don't let challenges and uncertainty hold you back! Get ready to smash your goals and create the life you've always dreamed of.

I would love to hear about your goals, so share these below! AND sign up for my newsletter for more actionable tips and information.

Here’s to a healthy, fulfilling and transformative 2024!!

References/Books to Read
Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything by BJ Fogg
*Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results: An easy and proven way to build good habits and break bad ones by James Clear

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Erin Todd

Erin Todd is a Health and Performance Coach. She has a background in clinical psychology, and she helps women improve their health, so they can thrive.

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