6 Tips to Help Make Your New Year’s Diet Resolutions Stick
Making New Year’s resolutions is easy. Most of us do it every year. It’s actually sticking to those well-intentioned promises that become the challenging part. Even when we start strong in January, as the weeks and months begin to pass and life gets busy, it’s easy to fall back into bad habits. This is especially true when it comes to eating healthier. It sounds like a great idea, and it is. But actually committing to the lifestyle changes that are necessary to achieve this goal is another story.
If you’ve ridden the diet resolution rollercoaster one too many times and you’re ready to make some permanent changes, the following tips should help you get (and stay) healthier, once and for all.
One of the biggest reasons people fail at keeping their New Year’s resolutions is setting goals that aren’t realistic. If the goal you set is too big, it can easily become overwhelming, which can cause you to fall off the proverbial wagon. If the goals you set are too aggressive, achieving them will be so difficult that you risk becoming discouraged and giving up. Be honest with yourself about what you’d like to accomplish and set a reasonable timeline to start seeing results.
Break Things Down
Having too lofty of a target hanging over your head can be a recipe for disaster. To improve your odds of sticking it out, set smaller, more attainable objectives that will ultimately lead to your bigger, overarching goals. For instance, rather than simply saying you want to lose 100 pounds by the end of the year, break that target down by aiming to lose 2 pounds a week or 8 pounds a month.
Tackle One Thing at a Time
You probably didn’t develop your unhealthy eating habits overnight. These behaviors and routines can take months and years to establish. So, be gentle with yourself. Don’t expect to turn things around immediately. Otherwise, you’ll begin to feel overwhelmed. Instead, focus on tackling one thing at a time. For instance, try to concentrate on eating more vegetables at each sitting, or replacing one meal or side dish a day with a healthier option. As you successfully adjust, work your way up from there.
A big killer of healthy diets is snacking. Unfortunately, this is also one of the toughest habits to break. The good news is, you don’t have to starve yourself in order to eat better. In fact, doing so will likely have just the opposite effect. Rather than deprive yourself, look for tasty alternatives to some of your favorite snacks. For example, you might try replacing traditional breadsticks with cauliflower dippers or eating roasted garbanzo beans instead of chips. Making wise substitutions can be the secret to your success.
Get Some Support
Being accountable can do wonders for sticking to a New Year’s resolution. If you want to get real, consistent and sustainable results, start talking. Tell others what you hope to accomplish and what measures you’re taking to get there. Let your friends and family know you’re trying to eat better and ask them to join you on your journey. Depending on the types of dietary changes you plan on making, there may even be a support group you can join. For instance, there are lots of active Facebook groups dedicated to specific diets/lifestyles, like low-carb and gluten-free. Getting support from others can make a world of difference.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
If you mess up along the way, that doesn’t mean you have to throw in the towel and give up completely. To the contrary, people who are forgiving of themselves tend to have much more success when it comes to achieving their long-term goals. If you want to eat better but you give in to temptation and go a little off the rails one particular weekend, just put a period, dust yourself off and try again starting Monday. Remember – you are human and humans make mistakes. Resolve to recover and learn from those mistakes and you’ll be well on your way to accomplishing what you set out to do on January 1st.
Making a resolution to eat better is great, but if you’re not careful, you could very easily be back to your old ways in just a few months’ time. By applying the tips above, you’ll set yourself up with a much better chance of creating new, positive and lasting habits that will improve your long-term wellness for months and years to come.