It’s that time of year when everyone seems to be making a new year’s resolution. Something about the new year makes people want to start doing things differently, whether that means exercising more, picking up a new hobby, or eating healthier. It’s a fresh start but why is it that ‘resolutions’ don’t continue past the third week of January? Why do we start something and ‘drop’ the ball? Below are some tips to consider when making new year resolutions.
How to Make your New Year Resolutions a Success
Tip#1: If you want to start eating healthier, ditch the diet mentality.
Many people start new diets in the new year as a way to ‘detox’ from the holidays but we all know that these diets don’t last long. As humans when we are deprived from a certain food we tend to want it more, and diets do just that. After a few days of eating a certain way you cave in and end up eating more than you would if you were not on that diet. So as hard as it may sound to you my first tip is to start making peace with all foods. There are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods and by learning to understand your body’s wants and needs you will naturally be inclined to adopting a healthier way of eating. This is the essence of intuitive eating, a method of eating that honors your body by listening to it. Think of foods as ‘healthy’ and ‘less healthy’ and aim to include more of the ‘healthy’ foods.
Tip #2: Have a buddy
We all know that if we are not accountable to someone then we are less likely to follow through with our goals. The buddy-system works great because you know that you have someone that’s on the same road as you, supporting and cheering you on as you reach your goal. Ideally you want someone that you are comfortable talking to, but not too comfortable that you lose that accountability. You can have a buddy from work or community, or if you prefer a virtual buddy or support system there are many ‘masterminds’ that you may consider joining as well.
Tip #3: Be specific with your goals
We often don’t follow through with our goals because they are too generic and therefore don’t know where to start. Use the acronym SMART to help you create goals, which stands for:
S- Specific: Provide as much detail when creating the goal. What will you focus on?
M- Measurable: Provide an outcome that you can use to assess whether you have achieved your goal. It answers the question: how often will you do this?
A- Action-oriented: What behavior will you change specifically?
R- Realistic: Is this goal realistic? Start small to set yourself up for success.
T- time oriented: When will you achieve your goal?
An example of a SMART goal is: I will eat 2 servings of vegetables each day at dinner this week.
Tip #4: Visualize your goals
Write your goals down or create a vision board so you can consistently see what you have planned. A vision board is a board with images you choose related to your goal. You can use magazines or download images from online. It can be a powerful way to motivate you and keep you focused on your goals. Focus on one goal at a time and don’t overwhelm yourself to set up yourself for success.
Tip #5: Celebrate your success
We all create goals but sometimes forget to celebrate when we meet our goals. Consider the small things, such as starting to bring lunch to work. Celebrating our success is a self-care strategy that will motivate you to continue on your health journey.
10 Practical Lifestyle Tips You can Make Today
- Start eating breakfast. There are so many benefits to eating breakfast including greater energy levels, blood sugar control and increased metabolism. The key is to make sure your breakfast contains whole grains, a protein and healthy fats. Skip the sugary donuts and muffins and instead try overnight oats or an egg wrap with a fruit.
- Bring a lunch to work. You can bring leftovers from the night before or make a big batch or a salad with grains or soup for the whole week.
- Carry a water bottle with you so you can remember to hydrate with water instead of sweetened beverages.
- Move your body for 10 minutes each day. Even if you have a busy day, just 10 minutes will make a huge difference. Schedule it into your day, keep your gym clothes handy, and have a list of your favorite workout music ready. You can also try the 7-minute workout app to get started!
- Cut down on drinking soda. An average can of soda has 8 teaspoons of sugar! No, thank you! Switch to sparkling or flavored water- there are so many varieties available!
- Eat two types of vegetables each day. Experiment and try seasonal vegetables too. Vegetables are an important source of vitamins, minerals and fiber that are important to for keeping you energized and your best health.
- Meditate or pray for 10 minutes to relieve tension and stress. This is my favorite as it really helps to clear your mind.
- Talk to a friend or partner without distractions for at least 10 minutes. Human connections and relationships are so important for our mental health.
- Be present at your dinner table and make an effort to slow down and enjoy your meal. This is referred to as mindful eating. With the fast paced environment we live in, it’s so important to slow down when we eat and savor every bite.
- Forgive yourself and others and be optimistic for the next day. There’s nothing like going to bed with a heart at peace.
Bonus Tip: Get enough sleep! Sleep is so important for our health, and lack of it has been associated with chronic health problems and changes in mood, even weight gain. Remember that there will always be a tomorrow to finish your task list, so think about your bedtime and plan to sleep earlier 10 minutes a day until you reach your desired bedtime.