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What’s The Difference Between a Lifestyle Change and Short-Term Change in 2024?

The time has come once again when you feel you are ready to start making important changes to your everyday life. You feel motivated to exercise more, be more intentional with your friends, maybe drink less, or start prioritizing sleep. You have probably tried to do so once before and your focus fell off or you found that the time of year was too taxing to completely change your routine. 

Instead of declaring this new attempt as a New Year’s resolution, think of it more as a lifestyle evolution. Making a lifestyle change can be challenging, especially when you are looking to transform a lot of things at once. These things can take time though, and while you need to start small to get to the large, there are differences between short-term change and lifestyle change. 

What is Short-Term Change

There is nothing wrong with a short-term change! In fact, it’s absolutely necessary to have goals throughout your day. It’s what makes up our life’s to-do list. You can accomplish them on a day-to-day or monthly basis, and they can be anything from learning a new recipe to making it to the gym. These short-term goals, or changes, that you make are excellent at delivering a sense of accomplishment and boosting motivation. 

Short-term change is typically positive, however, it gets to the negative when you are using short-term change as a substitute for a lifestyle change. An example would be neglecting your mental health for a period of time to focus on your work goals, instead of balancing those two for the better. If you find that you keep telling yourself “just a little bit longer” it’s not a positive change you want to be associated with. Ultimately the goal is to establish short-term changes within your daily life to help you attain and manage a lifestyle change.

What is a Lifestyle Change

Lifestyle changes look a little different than short-term changes. It sounds exactly like what it is, a change to your lifestyle for the better. These kinds of changes take time and require support. Since these changes are goals that will ultimately shape your future, it’s important that they can be adaptable and manageable. 

Positive lifestyle changes can range from big to small and typically make the most sense for you. Some examples include getting more rest, getting more physical activity, stress management, going to therapy, and quitting a bad habit. As we learn and grow, our priorities shift, and what you may have wanted for yourself two years ago may not be what you want now. Adding a positive lifestyle change will help you achieve your goals and better align your future. 

The Importance of Both in 2024

Lifestyle changes consist of small, achievable, short-term goals that lead you to live a better life. Looking at long-term targets can be daunting, so using short-term goals to slowly move towards your objective will prove to have a better outcome. It’s hard to rewire our brains to manage a different routine, which is why changing one behavior a little at a time and starting small will help you achieve the bigger picture. Remember, lifestyle changes take time, work, and support. Be kind to yourself throughout this process. 


  1. Source: Elizabeth Perry (2023) Long-Term Versus Short-Term Goals

  1. Source: April Dupee (2022) Lifestyle Changes That Can Help Add Years to Your Life

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