It’s no secret that the best-laid plans for the new year are statistically of the rails by February, to the tune of an 80% failure rate.

What’s up with that? And how do we overcome such dismal odds, when the new year is rolling out before us, shiny and fresh with so much possibility for growth?

  1. Get spiritual. Before you start laying out on paper and calendar your goals for 2023, hit pause. And pray. It’s all too easy to fill up a vision board and resolutions journal with all kinds of items that might not be part of what God has for you for the coming year. Sure, training to run a marathon in 2023 sounds like a fantastic goal. But, prayerfully, is the time and commitment needed for such an endeavor something that God is leading you to do? Or is it something you want to put on your list of accomplishments? Get real with God about where he wants you to spend your time and focus this upcoming year.

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

Proverbs 16:3
  1. Get realistic. Think about setting new habits and goals into place this way. There is the brainstorming phase, where you can write down any and everything that seems like a great direction or new habit for the upcoming year. Then, edit. That’s right. Not everything that you come up with might be meant for this year. It’s better to focus on two or three goals or habits than to try to develop twelve new habits in the month of January. 
  2. Get stacking. James Clear, in his best-selling book Atomic Habits, writes about habit stacking. This is the idea that you have a better chance of developing new habits when you combine them with existing habits that are already foundational for you. He writes, “When it comes to building new habits, you can use the connectedness of behavior to your advantage. One of the best ways to build a new habit is to identify a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new behavior on top. This is called habit stacking.” Want to do a better job taking your vitamins? Time it for right before you brush your teeth. You’ve been brushing your teeth most of your life, and it’s not a habit you’re trying to develop. By attaching your new habit of taking your vitamins to a well-established one like brushing your teeth, you increase the odds that you can make the new habit stick.
  3. Get planning. Too often, we find ourselves on New Year’s Day, making a quick list of new habits we want to develop for the new year. But we don’t get into the details of how we’re going to make it work. Sure, writing down “Get in shape” is all well and good. But it doesn’t get you any closer to actually developing the habit. What activity are you going to engage in to get in shape? Should you hire a trainer to help you in the early stages? What times of day and days of the week are you going to block out time to help you reach this goal? It’s not just about coming up with the habits you want to see in your life in 2023; it’s about developing the plan to make those habits stick.
  4. Get techie. With online calendars, wearables, alerts, and more, you can leverage the technology you carry with you to remind you of what you’re aiming for. Say you’ve written down that you want to up your water intake, to make it a habit to stay hydrated. You can simply set a reminder on your phone to go off every couple of hours to remind you to drink your water. You can get even more techie by adding an app that helps you track your water consumption. And if you’re an Altrua HealthShare Member on certain memberships, you have access to the Altrua HealthShare App, which also allows you to record things like how much water you’re drinking and other health and fitness goals. 

The more we understand about human behavior, habit development, and the ways our minds mold and shape around new behavior, the more ways we can help ourselves establish healthy habits and reach for our goals. As you consider what you want to accomplish this new year, be sure to take advantage of the new tools and technologies that can help make this year’s best intentions stick!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Corinthians 5:17