5 Tips for Achieving Your New Year’s Goals
Samantha Wilford, MS, RDN, CD
What’s your New Year’s resolution? Each January, nearly a quarter of American adults set out to improve their health through lifestyle changes. Set yourself up for success with these tips:
- Set SMART goals – Success starts with setting appropriate, realistic goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. Instead of “I’m going to exercise more,” try “I’m going to walk 5 days a week for 30 minutes this month.” Remember, it is better to start with small changes and build on them over time.
- Keep a consistent routine– Following a schedule for sleeping, eating, exercise, and other important daily tasks is essential for managing time and stress, and helping you form healthy habits. Avoid skipping meals, which often leads to cravings, overeating, or poor choices later in the day.
- Make the healthy choice the easy choice – For many people, it’s easy to default to the first thing you see. Stock up on healthy snacks and staples and store them in visible, accessible locations. Limit the amount of less healthy foods you buy, and store these in the back of the cupboard or pantry, or in containers that make them harder to see.
- Rethink the “cheat day” mentality – Cheat days set people up for failure with “all or nothing” thinking that can easily undo your previous hard work and leave you feeling deprived or guilty. Try reframing using flexible “most of the time” thinking, focusing on healthy choices most of the time while allowing yourself to have a couple special occasions each week that you can plan around.
- Keep it interesting – Many people lose momentum for healthy eating due to boredom and monotony. Keep things exciting by incorporating new foods and recipes. For example, try one new recipe or fruit/vegetable every week. Involving your family in this can help keep them engaged too.