Succeeding at Your New Year’s Resolution! by Cari Culp, RD

Happy New Year! Many of you have probably vowed to make some positive health changes for 2018 and it turns out, the new year is a great time to do it! Research by Dr. John Norcross, clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania in Scranton, shows that those who make a new year’s resolution are 10 times more likely to achieve their goals.

Why do these people succeed? Some of the success can be contributed to the fact that when we make a new year’s resolution, we typically do it publicly, which holds us accountable. Also, the new year is a time when so many others are vowing to make changes therefore increasing our momentum and motivation. So what are some other tools those who actually stick to their resolution and achieve their goals use? Lets take a look…

  1. They take larger goals and turn them into smaller baby steps. For example, say you want to loose 50 pounds. Break that down to a smaller goal of 1-2 pounds per week. Then think about simple changes that will help you achieve that goal, like bringing your lunch to work daily or taking a 30 minute walk on your lunch break.
  2. They set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Instead of saying “I am going to eat healthier,” say “I’m going to make 1/2 my plate non-starchy vegetables at lunch and dinner 4 days a week” or “I’m going to bring my lunch from home Monday through Friday.”
  3. They don’t have an all or nothing mentality. So you had a cupcake. Who cares! Don’t get discouraged, beat yourself up and quit all together. It’s what we do most of the time that makes us who we are. Have the cupcake and move on with all the other changes you’ve been making. Just don’t make a habit out of eating cupcakes.
  4. They plan. I can’t stress enough how far a little planning can go! It is almost impossible to eat healthy without planning. To make meal preparation less overwhelming, try planning two meals for dinner each week. Make sure these meals make leftovers. Prepare one on the weekend and one mid-week to give you several dinners, lunches or both throughout the week, without having to cook every day. Get in the habit of making double portions to save time. If you make oatmeal or a smoothie, make 2 servings and save half for breakfast the next day. If you bake a sweet potato, bake two. Boil a large batch of eggs to store the fridge for the week. Prep fruits and veggies in bulk for the week and place them at the front of the fridge for easy access.
  5. They minimize temptations! If we have cookies and fruit at home, we are more likely to choose the cookies for a sweet tooth. If we have a larger bowl of popcorn or use a larger plate at dinner, we are much more likely to eat more. So keep healthy snacks like nuts or nut butter, fruits and veggies, hummus, cheese sticks and unsweetened yogurt (with your own fruit added!) around the house instead of processed foods that may set you back. Bring snacks with you to minimize the temptation for less healthy foods when on the go.
  6. They use rewards! Non-food rewards of course. Giving yourself something to look forward to, keeps motivation high. Say you met your goal of eating a vegetable at dinner every night this week, buy yourself something you’ve been wanting, go see a movie, get a massage or take a relaxing bath! There are lots of little rewards you can use to keep momentum going and make the process more fun.
  7. Lastly, they use the buddy system! Having a partner who knows your goals and can keep you accountable increases the likelihood you’ll stay on track, even if they don’t do it with you.

So, if you were thinking of forgoing that new year’s resolution this year, think again. It’s not too late. Go ahead and set those health goals! If you’re using these tools, now is the best time to do it! Here’s to a healthier you this year!

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