With the New Year comes the opportunity for a fresh start. For many people, this means leading a healthier lifestyle and losing weight. While many people set goals and make resolutions at the beginning of the new year, few people stick with their goals. Too often, resolutions are too lofty, too unclear, or focus too much on the end result and not enough on the process. Who’s been there? #failedresolution
You are not alone! According to the Times Tribune, studies show that only 8% of Americans who make a New Year’s resolution keep them all year and 80% have failed by the start of February.
Five tips to stay on track and to be part of the elite 8%:
- Find your motivation: Get clear about what you want, and then use that to inspire you throughout your journey. What is motivating you to lose weight? Do you want to look better in your clothes, feel more energetic, or simply improve your health? Write these motivators down on pieces of paper and place them in locations where you will be sure to see it.
- Have a plan: Before Jan. 1 arrives, outline the changes you want to implement and decide how you will fit them into your schedule. If you were to go on a long road trip, you would not just jump in the car and go. If you did, you’d arrive hungry, tired, and fatigued. That’s the same way you’d feel if you jumped into a whole new lifestyle with zero planning. Keep in mind that it may be best to take steps rather than tackle everything at once. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!
- Make goals: If you do not know where you want to end up, you will not really know how to get there. Goals will help measure your progress. When making your goals, you need to make S.M.A.R.T. goals. S.M.A.R.T. stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. Examples of S.M.A.R.T. goals are:
- “I will walk for 15 minutes, three days for one week.”
- “I will prepare one new healthy recipe each week for the month of January.”
- Track what you eat: Taking a close look at what you eat is often an eye-opening experience. A good ole pen and piece of paper will work just fine or you can use an app on your phone. You don’t have to do it for the rest of your life, but it is a great habit to start. Tracking will help you tweak your diet so that you can still enjoy foods you love without sabotaging your weight loss or healthy eating goals.
- Use reliable, proven resources: It may be tempting to try a fad diet, but these are usually unrealistic, difficult to maintain, and sometimes even dangerous. Instead, find a reliable source of information to help you understand nutrition. The USDA offers several tools and resources, or you can consult a registered dietitian (RD). A RD is specially trained and can give you tips and tricks to help you achieve your specific goals. If you are interested in getting support from a dietitian, reach out to the UofL Health – Diabetes and Nutrition Program! Call 502-587-4465 to learn how.
Remember, changing your lifestyle is a marathon not a sprint. If you slip up one day, DON’T GIVE UP. Get up, dust yourself off and immediately re-commit to reaching your goals. You can do it!