Hello and happy 2014, my friends! Let’s talk New Years Resolutions – specifically, how to make a successful new year’s resolution!
For most of us, today means back to the daily grind; it also means a fresh start after the fun indulgences of the holidays. As a Registered Dietitian with a nutrition counseling private practice, I’m all for people making decisions to change their lives in a healthy way. But that said: I’m not a big new year’s resolution person. I know that resolutions do work for some, but for me (and, I’ve found, for my clients), big resolutions, while made with good intentions, are often a bit broad and overwhelming and can be hard to translate into real action. As I hope I’ve shown on this blog, I believe much more in the power of small daily actions that lead up to something bigger.
Whenever I have a nutrition counseling session with a client, we end the meeting or call with goal setting. I find that setting small daily or weekly goals really helps with making healthy living a lifestyle change vs. a quick fix — or a huge overwhelming goal that is never reached. I have my clients set 3 goals to work on until we talk again, and we make sure the goals are specific and measurable, focusing on daily action in the short term.
So – what am I talking about? Here are some examples of how to turn a broad resolution into a more specific action.
Resolution: “I will lose weight this year.”
Daily/Weekly Action: “I will eat at least one extra vegetable every day.” or “I will avoid products whose ingredient lists include things I don’t recognize or understand.” or “I will eat a healthy breakfast 5 out of 7 days of the week.”
Again, setting a daily or weekly action will help to make the overall end goal more reachable, because you have something specific and measurable to focus on. The original resolution will end up being a side effect of your long term behavior change.
Resolution: “I will exercise more this year.”
Daily/Weekly Action: “I will schedule at least three workouts into my calendar every week.” or “I will run 3 miles twice per week.” or “I will go to yoga every Saturday morning.” or “I will sign up for and run a half marathon this spring.”
This approach is applicable for non-health related resolutions, too.
Resolution: “Be a better friend.”
Daily/Weekly Action: “I will call 1 friend per week to catch up.” or “I will mail 1 handwritten card per month to a friend to brighten his/her day.”
I hope you can see that throwing out the broad, sweeping resolutions and working them into weekly or daily intentions can really help with making healthy life changes much more attainable and sustainable. It might help to set different goals every month, so you’re constantly challenging yourself and giving yourself new actions to work on. Most likely, the old actions will start to stick, and all those small changes will add up quickly to something big.
What do you guys think — are you more of a resolutions person or a daily action person? Obviously changing your life for the healthier is a lot easier said than done, but I hope this approach might help some of you to translate your resolutions into action this year.
Did you set a New Year’s Resolution? What is it? And if you like the idea of daily action, what are some examples of how you can turn your original resolution into daily action? You can do this!
Have a great day everyone!