Science has proven that habits are much more effective than big, audacious goals.

Yet, when another New Year rolls around, the first thing you do is make a huge list of resolutions you want to keep. However, focusing on one habit to change sets you up for success because of the consistent progress you get. Sticking to your New Year’s goals this year doesn’t need to be hard or scary. Try these four easy habit hacks to make your goals for the new year doable and rewarding.

  1. Choose One Habit

    One reason we rarely accomplish any of our New Year’s resolutions is that we make a lot of them and they are all massive. So, this year, instead of a laundry list of changes, decide which goal is the most significant in your life. For example, since our health affects everything we do, you may decide that getting healthier is the one area that deserves your focus.

  2. Break it Down 

    Another way we make things hard for ourselves is by stating our goal as something ambiguous and undefined. Like in the example above, “Get healthy” as a goal will fail. Why? Because the goal is too vague. Instead, start a list of all the steps you could take to become healthier. You could include things like drinking eight glasses of water per day, exercising for twenty minutes each day, eating a salad for lunch five days a week, drinking only two cups of coffee or soda per day, and getting at least eight hours of sleep per day. Then choose just one of those to start. Starting with the easiest one is okay. Once that becomes a habit, you can move on to the next one on the list.

    Another important aspect is to make the action toward your goal doable. If drinking eight glasses of water each day sounds impossible, how about drinking two? Once you’ve reached two glasses each day, you can step it up to three. You can make even the most challenging goals stick by chaining them together in this way.

  1. Choose a Habit Prompt

    The easiest way to make sure you take the needed action steps is by doing them immediately after you do something that you already do each day. For example, if your goal is to drink eight glasses of water per day, choose prompts to help you remember to drink water. Maybe you decide to take three big gulps of water after hitting “send” on each email throughout the day or a whole glass before each meal and on each break you take during the day.

  1. Connect Your New Habit to a Positive Feeling

    How do you feel when you stay hydrated? Sure, you might not enjoy drinking water all day. However, by connecting the action to still having lots of energy after you’ve worked all day, makes it easier to get up and do the same thing again the next day. Before you know it, drinking enough water each day has become a positive habit—a goal you’ve reached. Once that’s in place, you’ll be ready to take on another on your “get healthy” list.

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