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Once again, the New Year is just around the corner, and if you’re like most adults, you have at least one New Year’s resolution on your mind for the upcoming year. However, like 77 percent of adults, you’ll most likely stay on your resolution track for just one week. Why is maintaining resolutions so difficult? A few reasons that come to mind include setting goals that are very vague or having super unrealistic expectations like losing 20 pounds in a month. It’s said that attitudes are easy to change but behavior is not. However, if you’re really committed to something, you can make a new behavior permanent.
For example, instead of saying, “I will spend an hour on the treadmill a day” (that can be overwhelming, to begin with), start by saying “I will park my car farther away from the office or store to get more steps in each day.” We overwhelm ourselves with huge resolutions when it comes to our nutrition and fitness which can lead to failure. Here are a few more achievable resolutions to set your mind on for the upcoming year.
Do you want to fit into a certain pair of jeans? Do you want to have more energy to keep up with your kids? Do you want to feel more self-confident at work and in social environments? Knowing your reason for making a lifestyle change can help motivate you to stay on track with your resolution.
Value self-care. Regularly overextending yourself for others forces you to put your own needs on the back burner, which is okay sometimes but not all the time. Spend a night in. Take a bath. Cook yourself a nourishing meal. Disconnect from the internet. Get a good night’s sleep. Investing in yourself will improve your energy and help you get excited to take on the new year.
So many people get rid of clothing or household knick-knacks they no longer use, so why not clean out your pantry? Toss unhealthy products, like cookies, chips, and sodas, from your pantry and refrigerator. Then, restock with healthy options like carrots, hummus, avocados, raw nuts, and seasonal fruits. Leave these healthy snacks in the front of the fridge or out on the counter in a basket for visibility and easy snacking access so you’re not tempted to go look for other things that may not be good for you.
This goes along with the kitchen cleanse, but by eliminating unhealthy foods and habits from your life, you can welcome in new creative ways to enjoy food. Buy yourself a NutriBullet to create fun and refreshing smoothies. Adding frozen bananas and nut butters to a smoothie can give it a creamy texture so it feels like dessert, but healthier than an actual milkshake or ice cream-based treat.
You should view fitness as a permanent lifestyle change and find something you really enjoy doing. Better yet, find more than one thing so you don’t get bored – a dance class with friends, a boxing class where you can take out feigned aggression and relieve stress, a spin class where you can sweat profusely but not put too much pressure on your joints. Do whatever it is that excites you and that you can make a permanent lifestyle change. That way, you will view exercise, not as something you have to do, but something you get to do.
Nobody is perfect. Remember that minor mistakes when reaching your goals are completely normal. Don’t give up because you ate a piece of chocolate and broke your diet or skipped the gym for a week because you were busy. Realistically, everyone has ups and downs. Stay determined to recover from your mistakes and get back on track.
Stay motivated and get creative! If you become discouraged, remind yourself why you made these resolutions, to begin with. With patience, practice and a good look at your lifestyle and needs, you can push through that first week and keep your New Year’s resolutions throughout the year!
Carrie Gabriel studied nutrition at California State University-Los Angeles and got her RDN through the Coordinated Dietetics Program there. She works as a dietitian for different corporate wellness companies, creating recipes for cooking demos and content for nutrition seminars.
She created her company, Steps2Nutrition, in 2012 in hopes of working more one on one with busy professionals and their specific nutritional needs. She has an advanced certification in weight management and specializes in gluten and dairy free meal preparation for various clients.
You can find some of Carrie’s healthy and delicious recipes and meal tips on her website, www.steps2nutrition.com, and on her Instagram and Twitter account, @steps2nutrition.