It seems to happen every year: We make New Year’s resolutions with the best intentions, and then we all but forget about them in a few weeks.
Fortunately, we know a few ways to keep New Year’s resolutions on track all year long.
Tips for Keeping New Year’s Resolutions
On New Year’s Eve, running a 5K, losing 10 pounds and quitting sugar seem like great ideas. But keeping a New Year’s resolution is often easier said than done. So if you find yourself losing the motivation to follow through on your plans, know you’re not alone. About 80 percent of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions by the second week in February, Business Insider reports. Why? Well, change is hard, and we tend to bite off more than we can chew and often don’t plan properly for lifestyle overhauls.
But that doesn’t mean you should give up before you start trying. Here, we’ve compiled some foolproof tips for keeping New Year’s resolutions.
Resolution No. 1: Lose Weight
Whether you want to lose 5 pounds or 50, losing weight is a popular New Year’s resolution. The prospect can be overwhelming, especially if you’re looking to lose a lot of weight. Make things easier by starting with small, detailed goals. Don’t just say you want to lose 20 pounds. Beware of crash diets, fads, and plans that exclude major food groups or are overly restrictive, as the majority of research on diets like these has shown that they do not work in the long-run. Meet with a registered dietitian for a personalized plan that fits your lifestyle.
Resolution No. 2: Eat Better
Do you want to cut back on sweets? Stop mindless snacking? Bid farewell to fast food? A healthy diet will help you achieve better health and a healthy weight. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and whole grains, as well as seafood and yogurt in your meals and snacks. Cut back on refined grains and starches, high-sodium foods, sugar-sweetened beverages and other high-sugar foods. A nutritionist can help you devise a healthier diet and help you stay on track with healthy food options.
Resolution No. 3: Be More Active
When it comes to increasing your physical activity, the step-by-step approach is best. Literally. You can’t expect to go from couch potato to marathoner overnight. If you’re currently sedentary, start with a daily walk around the block. Sample some fitness classes or programs to see what appeals to you most, then make your favorites a part of your routine. If you want to amp up your workouts, set a bolder (but still achievable) goal, such as running a 5K.
Resolution No. 4: Quit a Bad Habit
Quitting unhealthy habits — whether they’re deleterious, like smoking or drinking too much alcohol, or benign, like biting your nails — can be incredibly difficult. Start by increasing your self-awareness. Pay attention to when you indulge in these habits and what seems to trigger your cravings. Keeping a journal can be a great way to do that. Once you’ve identified what sets you off, try to replace the bad habit with a healthier alternative. Depending on the habit, you might need expert guidance, so don’t be afraid to reach out to your physician or a therapist for extra support.
Resolution No. 5: Stop Procrastinating
There’s a reason why we left this New Year’s resolution for last! All kidding aside, it can be tough to stick to a to-do list. Start off with small challenges: Don’t flip on the TV or get sucked into social media until after you wash the dishes or do your daily workout. Then work toward long-term tests, like not spending extra money until you pay off a debt. You might find that you enjoy the challenges as much as you do the rewards.
Most importantly: Resolve to cut yourself some slack. Making a major lifestyle change isn’t easy, so start small and don’t give up. Any positive change is worth the effort, and by putting plans in place, 2019 could be the year you finally keep your New Year’s resolutions.