It's the middle of January, so I'm wondering: how are you doing with your New Years Resolution to "be healthy," "do a detox," "eat clean," or meet whatever other goals you had in mind for 2016? If you've already given up, you're not alone. By the end of January, nearly 36% of you will have abandoned your plans for 2016. Womp, womp.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set resolutions. Why? Because even though some resolvers may drop off mid or at the end of January, resolvers in general report higher rates of success as compared to non-resolvers. (Source)
Call it a "resolution" or call it a "goal" - whatever you refer to it as, before you go all crazy (or continue the crazy) on cutting calories and stressing over whether you should have almonds versus pistachios, remember these tips for creating better health goals:
1. Set Specific Goals.
No one sets the goal to “be happy” and successfully does so without meeting small milestones like smiling at a stranger, dancing or listening to music more often, or watching funny or uplifting YouTube videos. Think: if your goal is going to “be healthy” how exactly are you going to do just that? Maybe it’s drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning or infused water instead of soda. Maybe it’s eating a green vegetable at least one time per day. Perhaps it’s getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night or 30 minutes of movement each day. Create goals that are specific!
2. Be Realistic; Don’t Stress.
If you’re considering the nutritional differences between beans and bacon, that’s one thing (a great thing!). But, if you’re worried so much about the nutritional differences between black beans and garbanzo beans or red apples versus green apples that the thought of eating healthy leaves you anxious and stressed, then perhaps take a step back and look at the overall picture. When we make changes to our eating habits that leave us feeling deprived or stressed over each and every food choice, we may not keep those changes long term. Think: how can you be satisfied AND eat right? You likely have a favorite fruit or vegetable…brainstorm ways those favorite foods could be included more often into your eating plan.
3.. Aim for Persistence, not Perfection.
I've found that one of the top struggles my clients have is the desire to be perfect. They eat avocado toast with a kale smoothie for breakfast, a collard green wrap with roasted vegetables and sauerkraut for lunch - then with one simple, innocent bite of dark chocolate, it's pizza and breadsticks and brownies and beer for dinner. If you've fallen off your plan, just get back on. Leave the guilt and the all-in or all-out mentality at the door.
4. Every Body is Different.
What is best for you is likely very different than what works for your friend, your trainer, or your mother. Everybody - and every body - is different. You’ll definitely want the support and encouragement of your social network, but if it’s some serious overhaul you’re doing, you need an educated and well-trained professional to help provide you with a personalized plan. After all, you probably wouldn’t get the best advice if you asked your friend to do a check-up on your pet to be sure he’s healthy (you’d go to the vet) and you may not receive the best action plan if you asked your neighbor to look into your finances and help you get out of debt just because she was able to (you’d go to your financial advisor).
I talked more about the mistakes I see when people set New Years Resolutions with Women’s Health Magazine. Are you wondering if your resolution is worthy? Leave a note in the comments section and let’s chat. I'm always curious of your thoughts and plans!