As we near the end of 2022 and look forward to the next 12 months, it's a great time to focus on building healthy habits -- not only to set our year up for success, but also to help us feel our best and care for our mental health! While we recognize we're all excited about what lies ahead in 2023, the truth is that it can be daunting to build new habits.
Have you ever made a New Year's resolution, only to find yourself breaking it a few weeks (or even days) later? It can be frustrating, right? That's because resolutions are often too vague or unrealistic, and they don't give us the tools we need to actually follow through on them when they can seem like an "all or nothing" ordeal.
On the other hand, viewing new goals as habits rather than resolutions can be a much more effective way to make lasting changes. Building habits take time to form, which means that we can give ourselves grace to keep trying. Some studies have shown that forming a habit could take anywhere from 18-254 days! Once they're ingrained in our daily routine, however, they become automatic and easier to stick to!
So, if you're looking to make some positive changes in your life, consider focusing on building habits rather than making resolutions.
Let's start this year off right by building healthy (mental health) habits and setting ourselves up for success together!
Don't Let Another Year Go By: Tips for Building Mental Health Habits
Ready to kick off 2023 with a bang? Here are a few steps to get you started:
- Set specific and measurable goals: What do you want to achieve this year in terms of your mental health? Whether it's practicing self-care more, reducing stress, or improving your relationships, having a clear, specific, and measurable goal in mind can help you stay motivated and focused. By making it measurable, such as practicing something daily or for an amount of time, it will make it easier to recognize your own achievement.
- Make a plan: Once you know what you want to achieve, take some time to think about how you will get there. What specific habits do you need to adopt or change to reach your goals? What are milestones you can set along the way to make reaching the goal seem more attainable? For example, if your goal is to reduce overall stress by meditating daily, you might start by planning to meditate each day for only a few minutes at a time (e.g., 2-5 minutes), then plan to increase the duration after week 2 or even month 1. Planning and milestones are a key way to adhere to habits.
- Find a cue: Habits are often triggered by a specific cue, such as the time of day or a particular location. Identify your cues and use them to your advantage – for example, if you want to start practicing self-care in the evening, you might set a reminder on your phone or leave a note on your bathroom mirror to remind you to take some time for yourself.
- Make it realistic: The easier and more realistic it is to perform a new habit, the more likely you will stick with it. Look for ways to make doing your new habits as easy as possible – for example, if you want to start exercising more, you might keep a pair of sneakers by the door or sign up for a gym close to your work or home.
- Be consistent & give yourself grace: Building a new habit takes time and practice, so it's important to be consistent. Try to perform your new habit at the same time every day (or as close to it as possible) to help it become automatic. With consistency, however, it's also important to give yourself grace for the days in which adhering to your habit seems like it's impossible. If you can't get to it, do not shame yourself! Recognize that you are doing your best, and that you've already made progress (by even setting the goal in the first place), then pick it back up the next day!
- Celebrate your progress: Building new habits can be challenging, especially when it comes to mental health. It's important to celebrate your progress along the way and recognize how far you've come. Whether it's a small reward, like treating yourself to a massage or simply taking a moment to appreciate how much better you're feeling, recognizing your achievements can help to keep you motivated.
The Power of Support and Resources for Achieving Your Goal
Social support can be incredibly helpful when it comes to building habits. Research has shown that people who receive support from others while trying to form a new habit are more likely to succeed. It can also be key in helping people maintain healthy habits over time.
Not to mention, social support can also help reduce stress and improve well-being while trying to form a new habit. So, if you're looking to build a new habit, don't be afraid to reach out to friends and family for support and accountability - it could make all the difference! Grab an accountability buddy or team up if it works better for you!
In December, our bekome family challenged each other to begin focusing on building healthy habits. Camila decided to get back to practicing yoga during the week, Shanna committed to meditating daily, and Nora chose to cut down on mindless social media scrolling. We also keep a healthy mind and gut by taking our daily supplements! If you have yet to try it out, consider taking bekome's Daily Peace of Mind pack. Want to learn more? Click here!
I hope these steps help you as you work to build healthy mental health habits in the new year. Here's to a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2023!
- Frothingham, S. (2019, October 24). How long does it actually take to form a new habit? Healthline. Retrieved December 27, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-does-it-take-to-form-a-habit
- Sussex Publishers. (n.d.). Habit formation. Psychology Today. Retrieved December 27, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/habit-formation#how-we-form-habits
- Person. (2021, February 5). Habit loop: What it is and how to break it. Healthline. Retrieved December 27, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/habit-loop#components