The importance of setting good habits in 2023


The Catalyst / Genevieve Klein

Resolutions are made as the new year begins.

On January 1, many adopt a motto of “New Year, New Me.” The start of a new year is a time of personal reflection and goal setting in order to become a better version of yourself. However, most people who create new year’s resolutions rarely ever keep them. Why is the success rate so low? It seems that people do not know how to establish effective habits to fulfill their resolutions.

Before creating these essential habits, it is first important to set a resolution that is achievable to begin with. A New Year’s resolution should be specific and measurable, rather than a vague goal whose progress is difficult to track. It is also important that your resolution is meaningful and relevant to your personal growth in order to channel the motivation to achieve it.

Once you have an achievable, specific and meaningful resolution, you can make a strategic plan to develop positive habits that will help you reach your goal. Known as the “habit-loop,” habits start with receiving a certain cue, then there is a desire to find a certain reward, then action to obtain that reward and then a feeling of satisfaction. This habit loop can lead to many bad habits, like having the urge to scroll through social media each night when that “cue” goes off, but knowledge of how habits work can be used to rewire your brain in a more positive direction.

For example, one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to eat healthier, and developing better habits can help achieve this goal. If you have a habit of eating dessert after dinner, substitute in fruit or an organic alternative when that “cue” in the “habit loop” goes off. Completely shifting your diet is not realistic, so instead take small gradual steps. It’s also helpful to track your progress in a visual way, possibly by using planner or calendar, and

Additionally, although habits are usually unconscious routine, it is helpful to actually be in tune with how your habit makes you feel. For example, notice the way your body feels better when replacing your dessert with something healthier each night in order to see the evident effects of the habits you’re creating and maintain the motivation to continue.

If your New Year’s resolution is to stop scrolling through social media for long periods of time, set timers on app usage until it becomes a habit to only check your phone briefly. If your New Year’s Resolution is to read more, reserve 30 minutes before going to sleep to read until your mind registers that “cue” in the “habit loop” at a certain time each night.

Keeping your New Year’s resolution is a difficult achievement, but by setting an attainable goal and implementing better habits, you can reach whatever “new me” means for you during 2023.