Keep the Winter Blues at Bay

10 Ways to Build Healthy Habits for 2023

By Chris H. Hadgis

According to author and podcaster Gretchen Ruben, “if we change our habits, we change our lives.” 

The colder, darker, shorter days of winter often dampen the urge to push ourselves out of our comfort zones, exercise, and evolve. But the new year offers us a fresh start to build better habits and take actionable, sustainable steps toward living healthier lives.

Adapted from Ruben’s “Pillars of Habits,” we’ve compiled ten tips and recommendations for you to pursue your goals and resolutions in 2023. 

1. Gain clarity. Before endeavoring to create change in your life, know thyself, as Socrates said.

The better you understand yourself, your tendencies, obstacles, pitfalls, what’s holding you back, and what you want, the more likely you are to stick with your goals. Take a few quiet moments alone, focus on your goals, and write down each one and the steps to achieve them. That’s your roadmap.

2. Find exercise, sports, and activities that you enjoy. Don’t force yourself to do Zumba classes if you don’t like Zumba. Try a variety of activities, sports, and exercises to find at least one that you enjoy and will make a part of your daily or weekly routine. UVAC offers something for everyone including, spin, yoga, pilates, aqua classes, and more.

3. Schedule activities into your calendar. If it’s on the calendar, it happens. Studies show prioritizing your self-care enables you to better show up for yourself and for others. Make exercise non-negotiable.  

4. Train for something. Whether it’s your local 5k, charity bike ride, or a competitive family sledding contest, pinning a challenge on the horizon keeps you motivated to stay fit all winter long. 

5. Mind the people in your spheres: Your habits rub off on other people, and their habits rub off on you. So, if you want to improve your wellness, spend time with motivated, health-conscious people who inspire you.

6. Accountability: Find ways to hold yourself accountable. Plan a walk, jog, hike, snowshoe, ski, bike, yoga class, or weightlifting session with a friend, coworker, coach, or personal trainer. You are more likely to commit and follow through when you know someone is depending on you to show up.

Investing in classes and sessions with personal trainers, instructors, and coaches is invaluable. They make training more efficient; you accomplish more in a shorter time frame than training alone. Moreover, trainers, instructors, and coaches can push you smarter and harder than you push yourself. 

You may already know how to exercise but signing up for a class, or hiring a personal trainer or a coach ensures that you will exercise. 

UVAC offers multiple package deals to make personal training more affordable. Pick the trainer best for you. Observe trainers with other clients. Meet with different trainers. Ask questions and ask for referrals until you find the right fit for you. Note their availability, personality, credentials, and background. Select a personal trainer who has your desired level of experience, education, and credentials, and has a compatible personality for you and your goals.

7. Some healthy activity is better than none. A walk around the block is better than sitting in front of a screen all day. Five push-ups are better than none. 

8. Convenience: Make it easy to do right and hard to go wrong. Set yourself up for success by creating convenient exercise opportunities as part of your day. Increase your steps by parking further away from entrances. Take the stairs, not the elevator. Use a standing desk. Stand to take phone calls, don’t sit. 

Limit barriers to doing what you need to do. If morning is the only time you can exercise, set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier. Lay out your workout clothes, or put them in your bag for work.

9. Inconvenience: Change your surroundings. For example, if you want to cut down on alcohol or sugar, don’t buy it. Buy nutritious, unprocessed foods that align with your healthier lifestyle. If you want to walk more, make a rule that you must walk to one errand per week—to mail a letter at the post office, to buy coffee or some groceries, etc. 

10. The Best Time to Begin? Now. There’s no perfect time to begin building better habits that will stick with you over time. Do it now.

Once you get to know yourself and what’s holding you back, focus on the elements in your control. Incorporate small, simple, sustainable changes one day at a time. Building better habits will lead you to better outcomes and the lifestyle to which you aspire. 

If you have questions, please visit UVAC’s welcome desk or website. UVAC staff are here to support you on your fitness journey.

Skip to content