Many people set New Year's resolutions to improve their mental and physical health. Do you have any changes you’d like to make? Learn how to change habits with the following tips from the Park North Physical Therapy team in Upper Manhattan.
Set Yourself Up for Success With Achievable Goals
You might have vague ideas about the changes you’d like to make. Although resolutions like “lose weight” or “eat healthier” are a good starting point, you need more defined goals to measure success. You can’t track nebulous milestones like healthy eating or exercising.
Instead, start small with a defined, research-backed plan to formulate good habits. Measure and visualize your progress with the following tools:
- Identify specific goals: Will you focus on weight loss, sleep, healthier eating habits, or regular exercise? Write down your starting point and where you would like to be within three months, six months and so on. Use a journal to log incremental check-ins throughout the year.
- Outline a plan: Give yourself at least a month to form the habit. Make small monthly changes to set yourself up for success with achievable goals.
- Consult qualified professionals about making small changes: Dieticians, physical therapists and personal trainers are fantastic resources to help you reach your goal. Review and tweak your plan with these professionals.
Make Small Changes Throughout the Year
Setting yourself up for success means identifying and breaking bad habits that thwart it. While you’d like to power through to a daily exercise habit, you’ll hit roadblocks along the way. Removing those obstacles with incremental shifts solidifies willpower and puts your New Year goals within reach.
Shift Your Routine in Increments
Say you want to establish a daily exercise routine by the year’s end. While some people can jump headfirst into a new habit, most cannot. Hold yourself to lower standards in the beginning. Some examples include:
- Five-minute daily stretch routines: If you leap into a new workout routine, you might burn yourself out mentally within the first weeks. Plus, you could increase the likelihood of injuries. Instead, start stretching daily to loosen your muscles. You can easily implement this routine for the first month.
- Low-intensity workouts: Add some low-intensity exercise routines twice weekly within the second month.
- Increasing your workout intensity and frequency: As the year progresses, increase the frequency and intensity of your workouts.
- Examining bad habits that get in the way of your success: Identify what motivates you versus the habits that prevent success. For example, does watching television after work distract you from the gym? Instead, go straight to the gym when you clock out to ensure you can meet your goals. Save your binge-able shows for after dinner.
Work on Your Thought Process
Throughout your journey, you’ll notice your thoughts shift to motivate or hinder you. Your thought process can make or break your ability to achieve your resolution. Find ways to curb your thoughts toward encouraging narratives.
Learn How To Change Habits With Self-Compassion
Face it: most resolutions come with habits you have yet to engrain. That means you can and will fail throughout your journey. However, you can look at these failures as lessons rather than losses.
Doing so helps you change your overall thought process for the better. Ask questions like:
- What triggered this failure?
- How do I avoid this trigger?
- What can I do to motivate myself more next time?
Use the answers to improve your approach throughout the year.
Park North Physical Therapy in Upper Manhattan Can Help You Achieve Your Wellness Goals
Park North Physical Therapy, with our two locations in Harlem and Morningside Heights, can help you learn how to change habits for the upcoming New Year, especially following an injury that limits your mobility. Call 212-222-6525 or fill out the form here to book an appointment with our compassionate and knowledgeable physical therapists.