From Aspirations to Habits: Navigating the New Year’s Wellness Journey

January 8, 2024

by Stephanie Weyrauch, PT, DPT, MSCI

As 2024 unfolds, the echoes of New Year’s resolutions still resonate, with promises to exercise more, eat healthier, and enjoy better sleep. The initial fervor often wanes as the year progresses, leaving many with abandoned aspirations. As a seasoned physical therapist, I frequently encounter clients who express their desire to lead a healthier lifestyle but struggle with time constraints and distractions. The key to success lies in making practical lifestyle changes through behavioral and psychological adjustments. 

Consider reframing your resolution. Instead of stating, “I want to exercise more,” adopt the mindset of “I want to move more often.”

Redefining Exercise

The term “exercise” can be off-putting for many. To overcome this mental barrier, consider reframing your resolution. Instead of stating, “I want to exercise more,” adopt the mindset of “I want to move more often.” This simple linguistic shift can make movement feel less like a chore, paving the way for a more successful outcome.

Establishing Consistency

Consistency is the linchpin for developing new habits. Reflect on your daily routine to identify a suitable time for movement. Similar to the habit of brushing your teeth, allocate a specific time each day for your chosen activity. Set reminders in your phone calendar to create a routine that becomes ingrained, increasing the likelihood of long-term success.

Starting Small

Begin with a manageable goal, such as moving for 10 minutes daily. These short bursts accumulate over time, leading to significant weekly and monthly totals. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week (which is approximately 21 minutes per day, seven days per week), breaking it down into more achievable increments. As your comfort with movement grows, consider increasing the duration gradually.

Choosing Enjoyable Activities 

The best form of movement is one you enjoy. While lifting weights and running have their merits, the key is finding an activity that brings you satisfaction. Whether it’s brisk walking, dancing, or cycling, engaging in activities you love enhances the likelihood of sustained commitment.

Incorporating Movement into Daily Life

Seize opportunities to infuse movement into your routine. Opt for stairs instead of elevators, park farther from entrances, or take extra laps while shopping. These seemingly minor adjustments accumulate, contributing to an overall increase in physical activity.

Embarking on a journey towards a healthier lifestyle need not be daunting. By redefining goals, establishing consistency, starting small, choosing activities you enjoy, and incorporating movement into daily life, you can turn your New Year’s resolution into a sustainable reality. If challenges persist or if pain and stiffness limit your mobility, consider seeking guidance from a physical therapist. Their expertise can provide tailored interventions, making your movement pain-free and ensuring success in achieving your wellness goals for the New Year.

Never miss an issue, check out SLM's digital editions here!  

related articles: 

Get local updates, events and special offers!

Local Events