New Year's Resolutions Done Right

Happy 2017! I hope everyone had a safe New Year's Eve! I had a blast enjoying Baltimore and spending time with friends. I ate some amazing nachos too, and it was quite possibly the highlight of my night.

Nachos @ Myth & Moonshine

With the new year comes New Year's resolutions. For many, these are health related. It can be motivating when you have the prospect of a the whole year ahead, but sticking with resolutions isn't easy. You can't expect to go on an extreme diet or workout every single day and suddenly find health and happiness. But don't worry, you don't need a crazy resolution to meet your goals (read this article I contributed to for more!). I talked about some of my tips Friday at Baltimore's local Fox station. You can watch it by clicking on the picture below! 

Fox45 TV segment

Fox45 TV segment

Today I want to outline my tips so you can make plans for a truly healthier 2017.  

How to make successful resolutions

1. Understand why resolutions fail

Broad and general goals are a guaranteed way to NOT reach your goals.

Examples include:

"I am going to lose 15 pounds" 

"I am going to eat healthier"

"I am going to go to the gym more"

Having no end in sight is another contributor to resolution failure. It is absolutely insane to think you can keep up with any new habit for a full 365 days when you have no measures in place to keep you on track. 

2. Set small goals

So now you know why resolutions inevitably fail, but setting goals for yourself shouldn't be abandoned, it just needs to be done right. You need small, sustainable goals, that are going to take place in a specific time frame, also known as SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely).

Break your large goal into small changes or actions that will help you get towards that big goal. For example, last years failed goal of "I am going to eat healthier" needs to be looked at in terms of the day to day actions that are getting in the way of you eating a more nourishing diet. Perhaps dinner is on-the-go, fast food type meals several times a week, you might want to start with committing to one slow cooker meal per week to help you eat home cooked meals more often. Stick with your small goal for 2-3 weeks. After that reevaluate and either take the goal a step further for add a new goal. Next you might want to commit to only purchasing dinner out one night per week. Or maybe things have been going well and you want to add a new goal such as trying one new vegetable per week. Giving yourself a time frame and setting specific actions can help you build these goals into habits that WILL extend through the year.

3. be accountable

If you're not holding yourself accountable to your goals then you can't succeed. Involve family or friends that have similar goals and have weekly or even daily check-ins. You can motivate each other and help keep each other on track. You might want to put something into your planner that you check off daily or maybe a list on the fridge where you check off each successful day. Another great way to be accountable is to set up a reward for yourself! Treat yourself to that shirt you have been wanting to buy or go get a massage after a month of meeting your goals. Having something to look forward to is a motivator in itself! 

Let's KALE those goals for 2017!!

Let's KALE those goals for 2017!!

Here are some small, but achievable goals to help you get started the right way!

  • No added sugar for 2 weeks
  • No alcohol for 2 weeks
  • Add 1 extra serving of vegetables daily
  • Mindful eating: sit down at a table for every meal and snack
  • Meatless Monday

Remember, it doesn't have to be about food or weight loss. Resolutions should be made to make you healthier and happier and these things are about much more than weight. Here are some examples.

  • No elevators or escalators for 2 weeks.
  • Take a yoga class one per week
  • Meditate before bed
  • Journal before bed

Curious what a dietitian does for her New Year's resolution? You can check out this blog post from last year when my sister and I cut out alcohol and sugar. This year, I will set two resolutions of a different kind. I am trying to focus on relaxation and relationships to. Here are my resolutions for 2017.

- One hour of friend time per week. This is lunch, coffee, a walk, a phone call, just one hour per week I devote to spending time catching up with a friend. I am going to hold myself accountable by setting these dates ahead of time and putting them in my planner.

- Two hours of reading per week. My audiobooks do not count. I need to sit on the couch and open a book and not move. This is going to be a tough one but I know my boyfriend will hold me accountable here!

So what are you waiting for? Today is the day to set your first goal! Leave me a comment and let me know what you're working on this year. 

Have big health goals and worried about success and accountability? I can help! Weekly check-ins and goal setting together will help you make changes that have a big impact. Lets work together!