New Year’s resolutions can be a great way to set goals and make positive changes in your life. However, according to Time magazine, only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions stick to them, and the other 92% typically give up after about a week. So, how can you improve your odds for success?
- Do not base a resolution on guilt. Feeling guilty about your indulgences over the holidays and/or lack of exercise is not enough to make you stick to your resolutions. Guilt is short lived and will, more than likely, cause you to dwell on negative feelings and make you feel worse. A positive attitude and concrete reasons for your resolutions will be key to your success. Focus on the many benefits of health resolutions, such as a higher energy level, increase in stamina, possible disease prevention, and generally feeling better overall. Positive Motivating Factors = Positive Long-Term Results.
- Make your resolutions realistic and specific. Setting unrealistic goals will leave you feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. Set goals that you can build on and increase over time. If you are not exercising at all, setting an immediate goal of exercising 5 times per week is unrealistic. Start off with 2 times per week for 30 minutes and increase over time. This also applies to your diet. Slowly add “healthier” food choices and decrease “unhealthy” ones. Do this one meal at a time with only 1-2 changes per week every 2-3 weeks. Baby Steps = Big Long-Term Habits.
- Do not expect perfection. EVER. Your resolutions will become habits if you learn from your mistakes. It takes approximately 21 days to form a new habit. Stay positive and continue to push through your struggles. You will get there with perseverance and realistic plan. Perseverance = Success whereas Perfection = Failure.
- Think in terms of “long-term lifestyle” changes. Your resolutions should consist of goals that you can maintain long-term. Your goals should focus on the benefits that you will achieve in the long run. The benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle to your body are endless! I don’t think anyone regrets feeling better mentally and physically. It’s a great feeling to do your body good by fueling it with healthy foods and keeping it active.
Don’t focus on your holiday failures between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Instead, focus on taking small, healthier steps for the whole year. Make 2018 your year for positive, attainable goals with long-term habit forming results.
My New Year’s Resolution Recommendations:
- Add protein to your breakfast. Try nonfat Greek yogurt topped with fresh berries and a handful of nuts.
- Choose fresh fruit instead of fruit juice. Fruit juice is higher in calories and lack the fiber of fresh fruit. Also, fresh fruit will keep you full longer.
- Start your lunch and dinner meals with a small garden salad. This will increase satiety; therefore, help you keep the rest of meal in check. Always ask for the dressing on the side. Mix 1 tsp vinaigrette with balsamic or red wine vinegar to decrease calories.
- Choose whole grains over refined grains. Refined grains are usually empty calories that can leave you feeling hungry. Whole grains have more staying power and are a great source of fiber. Choose brown rice, quinoa and oatmeal. Quality is key when choosing carbohydrates.
- Make your fat servings tangible. Eliminate as much fat from food preparation as possible. Use fat servings on healthy fats such as nuts, pure nut butters, avocados and healthy oils. Keep oil servings to a minimum. 1 tsp = 1 fat serving (45 calories and 5 grams of fat)
- Think of food as “fuel”. What will it do for your body and your health.
- Snack with a purpose. Snacks are meant to “hold you over” from one meal to the next. Choose snacks with protein such as nonfat Greek yogurt/fruit or 2% cheese sticks/whole grain crackers.
- Count food quality NOT calories.
My Resolution Must Have Tip:
Do not underestimate the power of a positive mindset. You cannot move forward without it. With it, you can and will accomplish amazing things.
Lori Gardiner is a Registered Dietitian with a Master of Science degree in nutrition. She is the author of the book, “My Little Black Book for a Healthy Non-Diet Lifestyle”. She has conducted numerous workshops and corporate wellness seminars teaching people how to incorporate healthy eating habits into any lifestyle and budget. She has been quoted in The Advocate regarding various nutrition topics and has written articles for several local magazines. Her passion is teaching people how to incorporate healthy eating habits into their lives that are “do-able” and realistic long-term. Lori finds her true joy in being a mother to her three boys and a wife to her husband, Scott. For more information about Lori, please visit her website at www.Lori-Gardiner.com. While you are there, check out her “ab food finds”, nutrition tips, recipes and more.