Dr. Erin Hendriks

How to make the New Year work for you

Habits can be hard, especially when it comes to habits we try to keep for the sake of our gut health. These five, simple steps could help you keep your healthy habits in the new year.


December 19, 2022

Written by:

Medically Reviewed by:

Dr. Erin Hendriks

Board-Certified Physician


November 20, 2023

Mind-Gut Connection
Mind-Gut Connection

The calendar resetting is a time for fresh starts and if you’ve been pondering a new routine or habit, the new year may be the extra nudge you need to spring into action. But, as much as the new year can help light the fire of motivation, the fact remains that changing our habits is hard work.

That’s why we’ve broken down how to approach healthy habit change into five, simple steps so that you can make new habits stick for good!

#1 Narrow it down

While it’s helpful to leverage motivation while you’re feeling it, consider that a long list of new habits and routines will make them all less likely to stick.

Instead of reinventing your day-to-day life all at once:

  • Narrow it down to just one goal that’s most important to you
  • Consider why this goal is important to you
  • What about this goal will help you live the life you really want?

Having a clear ‘why’ gives you a powerful anchor to hold onto even when the motivation of the new year fades.


#2 Name the goal

Get really clear on exactly what your goal is—something broad like ‘I want to exercise more’ is not as actionable as ‘I want to move my body 3 times per week for 30 minutes.’

Name the goal with as much detail as you can, accounting for every letter of the SMART goal acronym if it’s helpful to you:






#3 Chart your course

A common pitfall of New Year's resolutions is the idea that you have to start your goal all at once—it’s all or it’s nothing. This makes it less likely that your goal will stick. Instead, chart your course by pacing your goal and allow yourself time to work up to it.

You can do this by asking yourself: 

  • What are the milestones you can work toward and celebrate along the way?
  • How will you remind yourself to notice the small steps you have taken?

#4 Plan for setbacks

Say you get sick or have a work trip pop up, or maybe you have a vacation planned, or home renovations.

Everyone faces setbacks and while it’s difficult to plan ahead for every possible scenario, you can: 

  • Make a general plan to help you get back on track after an obstacle
  • Work known setbacks into your paced plan so that you can measure progress accordingly

#5 Find a buddy

There are many ways to stay accountable, but one method that rises above the rest in terms of effectiveness is peer support.

Find a family member or friend who you feel comfortable talking to about your goal, and ask them to check in with you every week or month along the way. 

Even with these 5 steps to support you, remember that real change takes time and isn’t always linear.

Enjoy the twists and turns along the way, and good luck from Salvo Health!

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