The first month of the new year makes us feel full of so many possibilities, and at this time of the year we are so gung-ho to begin anew, making the best and biggest changes possible. Now, find out how the way you state your resolutions can mean the difference between following through or tossing them out the window after just a few days.
Think about some of the most common resolutions you hear: “I’m going to lose weight”; “I’m going to exercise more”; or “I’m going to eat more healthily.” The problem with each of these is that they are too general. They don’t give you any direction or any solid steps to follow. So after a few weeks, when your excited phase starts wearing out and the gym becomes boring, you just let the good intentions drop away until, say, bathing suit season.
What can you do to turn these good ideas into good habits? Decide on what steps you can take to incorporate healthier eating and exercise habits into your life. Here are a few examples of some new year’s resolutions that you will find easier to stick with:
1. I’m going to lose weight: Decide what steps you can take to make this happen. What can you incorporate into your daily routine to result in a decrease in calorie intake? How about, “I’m going to have fruit or sorbet after dinner instead of cookies or ice cream,” or “I’m going to start keeping a food journal and set a goal of eating only when I am hungry or really want a certain treat once a week.” These are behaviors you can perform without watching the days go by with the scale not budging.
2. I’m going to exercise more. How are you going to be sure you actually follow through with this resolution? Some people work better with a schedule or with an exercise buddy. “I’m going to find a class I like at the gym and find a buddy to join me so I’m sure to keep my appointed time three days each week,” or “I’m going to go for a 30 minute walk after dinner four nights a week,” holds you accountable to a friend and to a schedule. It’s a very concrete way of including exercise into your regular routine and you can keep this up literally for the rest of your life!
3. I’m going to eat more healthily. This statement is far too general. What does “healthy” mean to you? Will you stop eating processed foods? If you stop for fast food one day, will you believe you’ve blown the whole “healthy” resolution and pounce on a new reason to give up right away and pig out? “I’m going to make sure I eat at least three fruits and three vegetables each day,” or “I’m going to avoid foods that contain more than 30% of the calories from fat,” will direct you to a concrete action you can take. If you miss a vegetable one day, you can easily start over the next, knowing that you are doing better this year than you were last year.
Plan on some specifics that define what you really mean by “healthy” or “weight loss” or “more exercise,” and start those new habits to form a healthier you in 2009!
Image by: peter_w, SXC
Laurie Beebe is a registered dietitian with over 25 years of experience. She assists people from all walks of life in changing their diet for better health. Certified in Adult Weight Management, Laurie has transitioned into life coaching to better implement changes in people’s environments. No matter how much people know about what they ‘should’ be doing differently, they don’t alter their habits without making adjustments in their surroundings and their awareness. Coaching helps lead people to permanent changes by helping them set their own goals and design their own action plans. Please visit Laurie’s website for more free nutrition tips, a free monthly newsletter, or more information on coaching, at www.mycoachlaurie.com.