It’s that time of year again. In the midst of planning New Year’s celebrations, thoughts of resolutions linger in the back of our minds. What will they be this time? And more importantly, will they be the same as last year? It would be safe to guess that eating healthfully and being more physically active top many people’s list. No one ever said sticking to your plans to have a healthier lifestyle would be easy, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you find that this year’s resolutions are the same as last year, which were the same as the year before, which were the same as…well, you get the idea.
But wait — there is hope! There ARE steps you can take to make this year be the one where your resolutions stick.
- Set reasonable goals. Let’s face it. Losing 50 pounds by Valentine’s Day isn’t very realistic — or very healthy. Neither are your plans to exercise for 2 hours every day. To have the best chance of accomplishing your goals, make sure they are doable by making small changes to your lifestyle, one at a time. For example, swapping a glass of water for a sugary drink each day can help you lose weight over the long run.
- Detail the steps. You’ll have a much better chance of sticking to your plan if you make the steps specific. For example, don’t just think, “I’ll stop snacking on candy before bedtime.” Instead, write down the details:
- I won’t buy candy to keep in the house (or I’ll put it in a hard-to-reach place).
- I’ll buy healthier snacks, like low-fat yogurt, fruit, and nuts.
- I’ll stay out of the kitchen after dinner and find another activity to do — instead of searching through the cupboards until bedtime!
- Take your time. Focus on one thing at a time. Experts say it takes about 15 to 20 times of doing something for it to become a habit. So, don’t try to get more sleep, eat all the “right” foods, cut down on screen time, and exercise a lot all at once. You might want to start with the easiest resolution on your list, make progress over several weeks, and then move on to something else. Success is a great motivator!
- Get support. Let your friends and family know about your goals, and ask for their help. They don’t have to watch your every move, but they should be able to help encourage you. Team up with people who have similar goals — you can take walks together, share healthy recipes, and help to motivate one another!
This information is provided by the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program within the Department of Public Health.