By: Dan Washmuth, Nutrition and Fitness Expert, MS, RD, EP-C.
Even with the best intentions, less than 10% of New Year’s resolutions last for the entire year.
We have all been there. We have all made New Year’s resolutions with boundless determination to eat healthier and exercise more. Most of us have even kept up with our New Year’s resolutions for a couple weeks. The month of January is filled with vegetables and gym memberships and void of sodas and fast food.
However, by the time the calendar turns to February each year, most resolutions have become an afterthought.
The good news is that there are ways to drastically improve your chances of having a New Year’s resolution that lasts. Creating a plan with the tips listed below can help you reach the health goals you have set out to accomplish in the new year.
Focus on One Small, Easily Attainable Goal at a Time
The more difficult something is, the less likely a person will sustain it over the long term. This can be applied to any aspect of our lives, but it is especially applicable to nutrition and exercise. If a person tries to follow a nutrition or exercise plan that is extremely complicated and difficult, it is very unlikely that a person will stick with it for more than a week or two. One surefire way to make a resolution too difficult is to make one big lofty goal.
A great way to make a New Year’s resolution that lasts all year is to break up the overall goal into smaller, more attainable goals. Then, focus on just one goal at a time. For example, if your resolution is to eat healthier this year, try having a different, smaller goal each week that relates to your overall goal. Your first goal could be to eat one more serving of vegetables each day. Focus on just that one goal for the entire week, get really good at it, then create a new goal the following week. Maybe your goal the second week is to drink one less can of soda each day. The key is to make these goals easy and attainable.
Each week’s goals may not seem like impressive accomplishments when looked at separately. However, when you add up all the smaller weekly goals (all 52 of them) it will amount to considerable improvements over the entire year.
Find a Form of Exercise that You Enjoy
The key to exercising is finding activities that you enjoy doing, because if you enjoy doing something it is more likely that you will stick with it over the long term. If you hate running with a passion, it is very unlikely that you will stick with an exercise plan that revolves around running. If you hate going to a gym because you are intimidated by working out in front of people, you will not stick with an exercise plan that revolves around going to the gym.
There are thousands of different forms of exercise: from swimming to paddle boarding to lifting weights to yoga. The key is to find a form of exercise that you enjoy doing. If you enjoy doing it, it will be easy to stick with it all year!
Don’t Follow “Fad” Diets
The vast majority of “fad” diets are either unhealthy or ineffective, and sometimes both. Here are three tell-tale signs of a “fad” diet.
- The diet plan promises rapid weight loss. Many “fad” diets promise rapid weight loss, sometimes as much as 10 pounds per week. The safest, most effective way to lose weight is 1-2 pounds per week. Losing weight more rapidly than this can increase the likelihood that a person will regain the weight or increase the chances that a person will not stick with the diet over the long term.
- The diet plan eliminates entire food groups. Each of the 5 food groups contain certain nutrients that are pretty specific to that food group. Eliminating an entire food group drastically increases that chance that a person will become deficient in the nutrients that are specific to that food group.
- The diet plan is extremely difficult to follow. As mentioned above, the more difficult something is, the less likely it is that a person will stick with it over the long term. Many “fad” diets are extremely difficult to follow. They might severely restrict your food, require you to perform complicated math problems to calculate how much food you can eat at each meal, or only allow you to eat a couple different foods.
Here are three easily achievable tips for healthy eating over the long term that are not “fads”:
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are the healthiest foods in the world. They are loaded with important nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
- Eat protein at each meal and snack. Consuming protein can boost your metabolism and help you feel fuller longer. Good protein sources can include chicken, fish, nuts, seeds, beans, and dairy.
- Eat “real” food. Look at the ingredients of your food. The ingredients should be “real” food, not artificial ingredients that are difficult to pronounce. Any of the 14 ToYou bars fall into this category with whole ingredients, no preservatives and full of the right fats, carbs and protein.
Put some of these tips into action and you will be well on your way to sticking with your resolution plan and new healthy and fit lifestyle.Use hashtags #toyousnacks and #healthyandfit to share your journey with us!