Ditch Your New Year’s Resolutions

Ditch Your New Year’s Resolutions

by Susan Neuhalfen

What is it about New Year’s Resolutions that we can’t resist and yet, we can’t keep?

Every year we pledge to lose weight, eat healthier, change our diet in some way. Every year we start out strong and every year we slowly get back into our old routine after only a few weeks. So what does it take to keep a healthy New Year’s resolution?

“If the ‘I’ll start being healthy after the New Year (or Monday)’ philosophy really worked, 65% of the US adult population wouldn’t be overweight,” says nutritionist Kathy King. “After 46 years in nutrition and reviewing the newest studies on people who successfully control their weight, I’ve found that most healthy people don’t do the all or none thinking—they compensate daily or at least every few days on their food intake and exercise.”

NextGen Counseling Clinic Director Jessica Burrows agrees. In Borrows’ professional opinion, extreme goals are neither realistic nor reasonable.

“The best way to create lasting change is by creating a new lifestyle change that is balanced and allows for more flexibility,” said Burrows.

So what does work?

Setting Realistic Goals
Do you really want to run a marathon? Sure, we all want to run one, but do you really want to put in the time and effort? The same goes for everything. Set a small realistic goal for starters and build from there.

Make A Plan
A lot of time, failure occurs because there wasn’t a plan. When there’s no plan there’s no accountability. If there’s no accountability, there’s no consequence. If you want to change the way you eat, make your meal plan (and your meals if possible) in advance so that you are less likely to “go off the rails”.

Round Up The Cheerleaders
If there’s one thing that is good about social media, it’s really good for getting people in your corner. Instead of making political stances and commiserating with others, use it to hold yourself accountable. Tell people that you’ve set this goal and you need their encouragement. You might even get some others to join you.

Use An App
It has been proven time and time again that keeping a food and exercise diary helps you lose weight. One app to keep you motivated, no matter what you’re trying to achieve, is Coach.me. To keep track of food and fitness, myfitnesspal is an excellent app. These are many other free apps as well that help to motivate and keep you heading toward your goal.

Change Your Mindset
According to fitness trainer Danette May, one of the biggest reasons that people don’t reach their goals is that their mind has trained them to remember the past failures and gives them excuses to quit. May says that your ego wants to take the path of least resistance but you have to let your spirit override that urge to give up. She even incorporates meditation into her overall health plans in order to “rewire” the brain. The good news is YouTube is full of great inspirational videos and there are just as many podcasts to retrain your brain. From Anthony Robbins to Joel Osteen, there’s something to fit the type of training you need to change your thinking.

Give Yourself A Good Reason
Make sure you understand why you are working toward this goal. Maybe your health is in need of improvement. Maybe you would like to fit into that sexy new dress before the wedding. Maybe you want to set a better example for your kids and help them to understand health and wellness. Find a good reason and you may find all the motivation you need.

It’s Not Just A January Thing
Remember that every day is a new day. You don’t have to wait until New Year’s or Monday or right after ___ (fill in the blank) to start a new change in your life.
The key, according to the experts, is to start with one small step. If you are trying to give up soda, and you drink one every morning, just give up your soda on Tuesday morning. After a while, when you’ve ready, give up your Thursday morning soda, too. If you’re trying eat more organically, start by taking out foods that use dyes. Then graduate to taking out foods that have high fructose corn syrup. If you try to throw out everything in your pantry and go all organic, the shock to your budget will be enough to throw you off course.

Simply put, slow and steady wins the race. Take it one day at a time and remember, change can happen at any time, not just when the ball drops in Times Square.

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