Open Accessibility Menu

4 Ways to Build Healthy Habits for the New Year

  • Category: In The News
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Michelle Civello, APRN, FNP-BC
4 Ways to Build Healthy Habits for the New Year


It's a new year, a time to reflect on what we want to achieve this year.michelle civello waving

Many of us will resolve to be healthier - to exercise more, lose that extra weight, eat better. Some individuals might resolve to find more balance between their work and personal lives, to do more things that bring them joy or to get more involved in giving back. Whatever your new year resolutions are, building healthy habits is a great place to start.

But HOW do we build habits that stick? Try these 4 tips.

Stack it. According to behavioral scientists who study habit formation, one of the best ways to form a new habit is to stack it, or tie it to an existing habit or routine. Since morning routines tend to be our strongest, this is a great place to stack a new habit. One that I suggest building into your morning routine is to wake up early enough for "me" time. So what does that look like? For me, it’s the time where I grab a quiet cup of coffee, read a daily devotional and incorporate a short meditation or yoga practice.

Start small. Easy actions help to pave the way to the bigger, overall habit we are trying to achieve. For example, better eating habits can start with the small step of eating one piece of fruit a day. Over time, you can work towards incorporating fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meats into each meal for a balanced diet throughout the day. My start small habit for a balanced diet?A super easy protein shake that includes a premade protein shake, cold brew coffee and ice! Starting your day with protein curbs sugary cravings and keeps you fuller, longer.

Do it every day. It takes time to build positive, healthy habits - but they form faster when we do them more often. Trying to build a meditation habit? Download a free app that will remind you to do a 1-minute breathing exercise during the day or check out my favorite breathing exercise here. Working up to exercising at the gym several times a week? Start with a brisk walk, a few jumping jacks or a couple of pushups daily.

Reward yourself. This is an important part of habit formation. By building in immediate rewards, you are reinforcing the habits you are establishing. For example, plan an exercise date with a friend so the reward is spending time together. Listen to a book or your favorite podcast while cooking a healthy meal. Knowing there is a reward to look forward to could be the extra incentive you need to be successful!

Now that you know what it takes to start building healthy habits, you are on your way to making those resolutions a reality. Visit the North Oaks Health System Facebook and Instagram pages throughout the month of January for inspiration and to see how I am incorporating healthy habits into my routine. Cheers to the new year!

Hello from Civello is a monthly wellness blog written by Michelle Civello, APRN, FNP-BC. Michelle is a family nurse practitioner with Northshore Internal Medicine Associates in Hammond, where she treats patients 4 years and older. In her practice, Michelle believes that open dialogue and individualized care are the best ways to motivate her patients and improve their health outcomes.
A veteran of the Louisiana Air National Guard, Michelle enjoys spending time with family and friends, taking care of her many four-legged friends, gardening, yoga, staying active and traveling. Get to know Michelle at