The fresh feeling ushered in by the New Year seems like the ideal time to make big changes. New Year resolutions are set and approached with enthusiasm and confidence for success. Yet even with this enthusiasm, 40% of individuals polled by the Marist Poll did not follow through with their New Year goals. Another study by the University of Scranton showed that 30% give up their resolutions after two weeks. So, what goes wrong? Read on to find out how you can improve the likelihood of reaching your goals.
The #1 New Years resolution is – no surprise here, to lose weight. Getting organized and spending less money follow closely at #2 and #3. Regardless of the specific goal, resolutions require behavior changes that can be difficult to make “stick”. Starting out right can help you succeed throughout the year and even longer. Here are some ways to do it.
Strengthen your self-control. Start small. Say no to the second cookie after dinner. Start making small changes so that you don’t become overwhelmed by trying to do it all at once.
Set a specific goal with smaller milestones. You may want to lose 20 pounds, but focusing on such a long-term goal may make you more likely to call it quits. Smaller milestones on the way to your long-term goal are easier to achieve and provide more quickly and frequently achieved gratification.
Develop a plan for achieving your goal. Include details for managing any setbacks. It is important to have a plan to follow. It is difficult to, for example, lose weight without knowing what steps to take to improve how and what you eat. Including details for setbacks will help you power through any obstacles without giving up. It will remind you that a small setback is not a failure.
Create a form of accountability. Trying to lose weight? Keep a food journal to make you think about what you’re eating. Trying to quit smoking? Have a friend check-in to see how you’re doing. Be creative in figuring out what form of accountability works for you.
Reward yourself! Remember those smaller milestones? These provide a great opportunity to reward yourself. There are many creative incentives to keep yourself going. A great example is to use money you would have otherwise used on take-out or snacks from the vending machine on a manicure.
Stay positive. It's easy to get lost in the challenges to keeping your resolution. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed with the negative, shift your mindset. Stop thinking about how hard it is not to eat the cheeseburger. Instead, remind yourself of how much more energetic you feel. Think about how great you’ll feel when you can run and play with your kids or how gratifying it is to follow through on a goal you set for yourself.
See a counselor. Finding a great counselor, such as a dietician, can help you stay on track. Not only can they help you prepare a detailed plan for success, they are there for you throughout the process. They can serve as encouragement and accountability, helping you stay on track if you hit a setback!
Remain persistent. There is no one “right” way to approach a resolution. Everyone is different. The first plan you try may not work. But don’t give up! Prepare yourself ahead of time for the possibility of having to rework your plan. Keeping a positive attitude throughout is vital to finding success!
Is your resolution to live and eat more healthfully individually or as a family? Try these tips from our dieticians for easy changes to incorporate into your daily routine!
Gather Around the Table. Families that share at least 3 meals per week are more likely to have children with healthy eating habits, weights within the normal range and a decreased rate of eating disorders. Aim for at least 3 shared meals per week- this can be a simple breakfast before the school day or a dinner in the dining room, what matters is that the family is together!
Make Half Your Grains Whole. Whole grains are a great source of fiber, vitamins and minerals that refined grains just can’t stand up to. Make a goal of changing at least half of your grains to whole grains. Choose wheat bread, brown rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa, or oatmeal for the majority of your starch choices to reap the benefit of these super foods.
Think about portions. When taking foods from a package, take the simple step of checking the serving size on the nutrition facts label. Portion out the serving size as a starting point for you and your loved ones.
Please Don’t Pass the Salt. Limiting sodium for you and your family now can greatly help lower the risk of stroke and heart disease later in life. Start by avoiding adding salt while cooking, don’t add it onto foods and choose packaged products with ~300 mg or less of sodium per serving.
Power Off. Eating in front of TV or computer screens can take our focus off our meal or snack and can easily lead to overeating. A great way to avoid excess calories is to take the pledge to be mindful of your foods. When you eat sit away from the screen and pay attention to the taste, the smell and your satiety or fullness factor.
For some help staying the course with your New Years Resolutions, contact our dietitians to set up an appointment today firstname.lastname@example.org.