remove as many excuses as possible. Wood says data suggests people who had a slightly longer drive to the gym went there much less often than people who had a shorter drive.
If your goal is to eat better, consider buying pre-cut vegetables at the grocery store, she suggests. Or, if you’ve gotten in the habit of ordering groceries online, pare the unhealthy food from your list, and use the time (and dollar) savings to head to a farmers’ market.
Return to work: The office version
If your new year will include a return to the office, it’s OK to expect some stress, Celano, who also is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School notes.
“My main advice would be to take it one step at a time,” he says. If you’ve got the option, block off time to work on tasks alone. If that’s not an option, recognize that everyone’s in the same boat.
And make time to get to know your colleagues again, he suggests. Personal interaction can be the upside of being with colleagues. The isolation of remote work makes it easy to forget the pleasures of catching up with someone.
Return to work: The home version
If more work from home is in your future, remember to take care of yourself, Celano says. Without a daily commute to help set boundaries, people have found themselves working late into the night.
Self-care is critical, he notes. So put it on your calendar. “I think it’s very easy for your day to fill up, but if you add self-care activities to your schedule, you will be more likely to do them.”
Whatever changes the new year has in store, stay positive.
“When people are feeling more optimistic or more positive, they’re more likely to have a healthier diet, they’re more likely to be physically active, and they’re less likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors, like drink too much alcohol or smoke,” Celano adds.
Optimism doesn’t mean denial, he says. It’s a shift in focus. Maybe the pandemic meant you had to meet with someone online instead of visiting them. “If you spend all of your time focusing on the fact that you didn’t get to see them in person, you’re going to miss out on some of the good things that may have happened in that interaction.”
Simple activities can boost optimism, he shares. Think about positive events going on in your life and share them with a family member or friend. Or think about what a “good life” would mean for you in the future and what steps you can take to make that a reality.
You also cultivate a positive spirit by volunteering – or by just showing simple kindness, Celano concludes. All that “can be a really powerful way to start the new year.”