New Year’s Resolutions are a great way to set health goals and develop healthy eating habits for the coming year. However, too frequently people do not end up sticking to their resolutions. Here are a few tips to get a jumpstart on setting and sticking with your resolutions this year!
1. Often people set goals which are unrealistic. Losing 20 pounds in one month is not tangible. Set smaller goals that can be achieved. Achieving a goal keeps you motivated to continue it. Try setting a more realistic goal of losing 5 pounds in one month. Notice how you feel when you achieve this goal!
2. Be specific with your goals. Setting a goal of losing 5 pounds in one month is very vague. Set goals that are unambiguous and measurable for how you will lose the 5 pounds. Measurable goals also allow you to track how well you are doing. Try specific goals such as:
a. “I will walk in the neighborhood for 30 minutes 4x/week”
b. “I will eat breakfast every day before work”
c. “I will increase my vegetables at dinner by 1/2 cup everyday”
Track these goals so you can monitor your progress every week.
3. Remember to have a plan for exercise during the winter months. Walking in a mall, joining a gym or doing exercise at home are great ways to stay active when it is cold outside.
4. Set up a non-food rewards system. Rewards give us something to look forward to and, for some people, can motivate us to stay working. Consider a reward system where you get to buy new clothes, go to the movies or buy a book you want when a goal is achieved.
5. Write out a contract with yourself and place it on the refrigerator. This helps to keep you accountable. Write down your goals and the ways in which you will achieve them. Also write down your rewards system if you choose to use that. Keep the contract in a place where you can see it everyday to stay encouraged!
6. Be patient! If you get off track all is not lost and you do not have to give up. Re-evaluate your goals and see why things have not worked. Update your plan based upon your progress or what is currently going on in your life at least monthly if not every 2 weeks. Resolutions are for the whole year, not just for the first month. So if you stray off the path, there is still time to find it again!
Jacqueline Minichiello, MS, RD, LDN
Jackie is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition from Tufts University. She has a passion for cooking, food and physical activity.