I really don’t like New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t think you ever need to wait until a calendar date to make changes. If you are really committed, you will start today. Having said that, come January 1st, millions of Americans will recommit to living a healthier lifestyle. If you are one of those, here are some tips for you.
1. Start small. You may want to run a marathon eventually, but a 5K might be a better place to start. Make realistic goals that will be achievable in the short term. This will allow you to see results quickly and will keep you committed to long term goals.
2. Fit your goals to fit your lifestyle. If you travel a lot, it might not be realistic to say you won’t eat out anymore. If you like ice cream, you probably won’t give it up. Be sure to take your lifestyle into account when making your goals.
3. Make concrete goals. Wanting to “eat healthier” is a little vague. On the other hand, making sure you eat a fruit or a vegetable at every meal is more measurable. Wanting to “cook more at home” could be replaced with, “will plan meals for the week, put together a grocery list and shop on Saturdays”.
4. Write them down. If they are just in your head, they probably won’t happen. Write down your goals and make a clear plan of how you will accomplish them.
5. Remember that 21 days makes a habit. The problem with that is the novelty wears off about the third day. Commit to doing it day in and day out. Recommit each morning to living a healthier lifestyle just today. Worry about tomorrow when it comes.
6. Aim for consistency. Avoid the all or nothing attitude. Often we aim for perfection and when we fail, we jump ship. One off day is not going to do you in. It is feeling guilty for not being perfect or not executing your new goals perfectly, that will do you in. But consistently trying to stick to realistic goals, will bring about the change you are after.
So what are your New Year’s Resolutions? I want to hear them! Want to hear mine? It isn’t necessarily related to nutrition but here goes: Don’t sweat the small stuff. But I’m not waiting until January 1st. I am starting today.
Emily Fonnesbeck RD,CD