Lifestyle

Healthy New Year’s Resolutions

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New Year’s resolutions – and specifically healthy New Year’s resolutions are a point of discussion in my family these days.  As we age, our focus turns more to our health, so this year’s resolutions are all about healthy choices.  My husband’s healthy New Year’s resolution is to stop eating leftovers from our kids’ plates.  (Lately, when we dine out, he’s been ordering our kids mac and cheese, knowing it’s not their favorite food.  It’s his favorite dinner, so what they leave on their plate becomes his post-meal palate cleanser.)  My healthy New Year’s resolution is taken from the first month of Cooking Light’s 12 Healthy Habits challenge.  I resolve to increase my intake of vegetables and fruit by three servings per day.     

I’ve never actually kept a New Year’s resolution and most years, I make them so grandiose and vague (get more organized!) that I’m doomed to fail.  According to Forbes magazine, only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions.  So in the spirit of keeping my healthy New Year’s resolution this year, here are five tips that seem to be the hallmark for successful New Year’s resolutions:

1.  Set a realistic, measureable resolution – Let’s take fitness or health-based New Year’s resolutions.  Many of the most popular goals are ambiguous:

Join a gym!  Okay, that takes about one hour to do, but what is the goal of the gym membership?

Get fit!  How are you defining “fit?”  Is it a lower BMI or the ability to run a 10k or compete in a triathlon? 

Lose and unrealistic amount of weight!  Congratulations, you’ve set yourself up for failure.

2.  Have a plan

Take your resolution and break it down by quarter, then month, then week.  Enjoy each small success and each month, reassess your goal and adjust if necessary. 

3.  Have a vision – what will life look and feel like one year from now?  Set that vision and focus on it each week. 

4.  Get support – Few goals are achievable without external support and accountability.  Ask a friend to join you in your new endeavor or download one of the many apps to help you stay on track..

5.  Don’t stress – life has many ups and downs and stress often prevents success.  Don’t let your New Year’s resolution add to your stress.  If you find that it’s overwhelming you, adjust the goal or just accept that you’ve had a stressful week and will move forward the next week.

And take time to enjoy 2014.  Happy New Year!