Realistic Goals for the New Year

Health Professional, Medical Reviewer

If you're like most people, you've created a few New Year's resolutions for yourself. Yet some people create resolutions that are difficult to achieve, such as getting back to their high school weight. Here are some suggestions to start off your New Year right, with some realistic goals.

Commit to a Healthier Lifestyle

Instead of setting a goal that may seem insurmountable, such as "lose 50 pounds in two months," why not start with a more realistic goal of adopting some positive changes, which could ultimately help you to lose weight?

We sometimes get focused on a number, and we are willing to do anything to get there (such as going on a crash diet). Even if you are successful in losing weight on a fad diet, you will need to make some positive lifestyle changes to maintain the weight you lost. Take a look at your current unhealthy habits: Is it eating out too frequently?Lack of physical activity? Start with small, achievable goals.

For example, if you eat lunch out every day with co-workers, consider packing your lunch and saving that lunch hour for a 30-minute walk outside. You will save hundreds of calories by packing a healthier lunch, and you can burn over 100 calories by taking a brisk walk at lunchtime. These small changes alone could yield a weight loss of at least a pound a week.

Get Moving

We've heard this a million times, but the lack of physical activity in our country is a huge contributor to weight gain. You don't have to join a gym like everyone else this January. Think of times when you are sedentary but could be moving. Do you sit in a lawn chair at your kid's soccer practice, or sit on the sidelines during their basketball game?

Think about walking laps around the field or court during the practice or game. You can still watch your child participate, but you are setting a great example by supporting their physical activity. Have you ever thought about joining one of their warm-ups or stretches after a practice? It combines physical activity with quality family time.

Expand Your Palate

We often get stuck making the same meals week after week, and frequently resort to picking up fast food or pizza on the way home just because "it's easier." But is it?

In the time you spend ordering and picking up food several times a week, you could spend a few minutes on the weekend looking for a new recipe to try and going to the grocery store to pick up some healthy ingredients. By trying just one new recipe each week, you will soon have a whole new recipe book of your own. Get your kids involved in cooking, and maybe they can make you dinner once a week!

It's OK to Say No

I am guilty of this"...I have a hard time saying "no" to anyone who asks for my help, whether it's volunteering at my children's' school, overbooking my weekends, or agreeing to let my kids sign up for yet another activity.

One of my goals this year is to simplify my life, and to say no to things that I don't enjoy or can't fit into my schedule. You will be surprised at how much your schedule will open up, allowing more time for fitness, healthy eating and cooking.