Written by: Omar Guerrero, Dietetic Intern and Master’s Student at Florida State University
Precepted by: Afaf Qasem, MS, RDN, LDN, Community Wellness Dietitian at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare
Eating better, exercising more, spending less, and reading more are among the popular few; but how many of us are actually able to stick with it for an entire year? Unfortunately, not very many, so let’s discuss how we can actually stick to our New Year’s resolution.
One Valuable Change
Many of us try to tackle too many goals all at once and it can be overwhelming and lead to disappointment. Try and picking one goal to complete. Once you have learned to make that change sustainable, looking at accomplishing a second or third goal is feasible. Remember, these changes you are trying to make are not short-term goals but rather goals you are trying to sustain for a lifetime.
|I want to fit in a certain pant size.||I want to be able to play with my grandkids.|
|I want to lose weight.||I want to walk up the stairs without being winded.|
|I want to workout.||I want to have more energy and be more productive.|
Make SMART Goals
The reason a lot of us fail our resolutions is that we are trying to reach the finish line before we reach specific checkpoints. At some point along the way, we get lost, discouraged and eventually quit. If you wanted to exercise more this year, don’t jump from 0 days a week to 6 days a week. Give yourself short-term milestone goals of 2 days a week and once that is consistently accomplished, increase it to 3 until your final goal of 5-6 times a week. The idea is to set realistic, SMART goals.
M – Measurable
“Oh no, I wasn’t able to eat vegetables for lunch this week! I was not able to complete my goal so I should just quit…” This is called the all-or-nothing mentality. When we are unable to complete our goal, we go straight to giving up for the rest of the day or dropping the goal entirely. Well guess what, relapses happen and they happen often.
By realizing that relapses occur, you can prepare for them. Rather than quitting you can follow these steps:
- Accept that you didn’t eat vegetables for lunch.
- Regather yourself.
- Have them for lunch the next day.
Keep Moving Forward
Sticking with your New Year’s resolution is tough. Remember, making one change at a time, having SMART goals, and understanding relapses occur, will give you a better chance at sticking to it in the end. Keep in mind that one small change doesn’t mean you have lost all your progress, look at the net change and keep moving forward.