Making Healthy Resolutions You Can Keep

Heather Reese Health Guide
  • I’m not a fan of new years resolutions, mainly because I’m not very good at keeping them. Last year I decided to mail birthday cards to all my friends and family members. Well, mailing birthday cards to everyone I know required having both birthday cards and stamps on hand, and I ran out of both in February. Oh, by the way, happy belated birthday to everyone born in March through December.

    Still, January 1st marks the start of a new year, a new beginning, a fresh slate and it’s an obvious time to make a positive change in your life. For many Americans it marks the day that they resolve to live healthier and lose some of those holiday pounds. According to statistics from the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, more people join fitness clubs in January than any other month of the year. Unfortunately, many of these people abandoned this new years resolution by the middle of February.
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    Resolving to eat healthier and be more physically active is a resolution to improve your health and reduce your risk of chronic disease. It is a resolution worth keeping because you deserve to have a healthy body. Below are some tips to help you turn your new years resolution to eat right and exercise into a permanent healthier lifestyle.

    Be Realistic

    Too often people set themselves up for failure by making a resolution to do something that is not realistic. You are the one who has to do it – so consider your lifestyle, your likes and your dislikes when making your new years resolution. If you are not a morning person than don’t resolve to hit the gym every morning before work. Instead, resolve to workout over your lunch hour or after work.

    If you work long hours and do not get home until late in the evening than don’t resolve to cook dinner every night of the week. Instead come up with quick, healthy alternatives to take out food. Try resolving to cook meals over the weekends, to eat cereal or soup for dinner, or to eat a low-calorie microwavable meal with a salad from the grocery store salad bar.

    Did You Say FOREVER?

    Don’t resolve to do something that you know you won’t be able to do forever. Remember, you are making a lifestyle change and the goal is to keep your resolution. If you love chocolate than don’t resolve to stop eating it altogether, instead resolve to cut down on your chocolate consumption and give up an unhealthy treat that you can live without.

    Set Small Goals

    The key to making a healthy lifestyle change is to make small changes that you can maintain over the long term. An immediate overhaul of your diet may be difficult to maintain but resolving to drink more water is a good first step. Once you’ve established your first goal as a habit then set a new one and go from there. You can reach your big goals over time by setting and reaching smaller goals.

    It’s Not Always About the Numbers

    Try to avoid setting time frames for your weight loss goals. Since you can’t predict plateaus and you may lose inches without losing pounds, especially if you are lifting weights, you may not lose 10 pounds in two months. Instead of relying on the scale to gauge your success, use other measures such as inches lost, an increased energy level, lower blood sugar, lower blood pressure and making it through an exercise class that you struggled to complete in the past.

  • It’s not too late to change your new years resolution. If you have resolved to do something that you know you will not maintain – change your resolution. If you have set goals that you now realize may be frustrating or disheartening – change your goals. The bottom line is that it is never too late to resolve to live a healthier lifestyle. And next year, after you’ve established your healthy habits as a lifestyle and not just a resolution, maybe you’ll have better luck with the birthday cards.
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Published On: January 02, 2007