Sometimes it's really hard to know which habits are the good ones. I mean, don't get me wrong - there are a lot of habits that are really obviously good. Things like "good nutrition" and "enough sleep."
But there are some situations where even undeniably good habits are not good habits to form right now.
Allow me to explain.
I have a good friend that's currently struggling with depression. Low energy, low mood, intense apathy, difficulty grasping motivation.
What habits would be good for me to start forming now (especially in this time when there's major pressure on the American middle class to "improve themselves") might not be good habits for her to even think about. For example, my exercise routine includes getting up to run at or shortly after dawn several days a week. Can you imagine how difficult that would be if you were already struggling with low energy? Sure, you might be able to pull it off, but then you've have no energy for the rest of the day.
Or, here's another example.
Let's say you have three dogs. You love them all, and they love you. One of them can eat 5000 calories in a day and still be starving by dinner time. Another prefers sleep to playing fetch, and won't go much further than the front gate without protesting. And the third is great with adults, but frightened of children.
Expecting the same behavior or the same amount of activity or even the same reactions from all of them would be ridiculous. We know that. Even typing it feels silly. But we seem to think that if those dogs are replaced with humans, it's okay to expect the same level of activity, competence, and forethought from all members of the group.
I'm not her, she's not me, and both of those things are okay.
But then how to I identify a good habit for myself?
A good habit for me (and, I think, a good habit for you) is one that doesn't cost more than it gives back.
To put it another way: a good habit is one that replenishes, rather than one that drains.
Running gives me energy and emotional stability, so even if it's hard to do, it's worthwhile.
If writing in a journal every day leaves you feeling drained and frustrated, rather than calm and in control, then that's probably not a good habit for you. Or if cutting sugar out of your diet negatively impacts your mood and does not boost your physical wellbeing enough to make up for that, then maybe cutting it all out at once isn't such a great idea.
This way, even the good habits can be vetted, so you can see if they're good for you. If you're not sure, give it a test run and see how it turns out.
You've got this. It's a new year, a new chance, a new start.