New Year’s Health Resolutions: Sticking Points

How do you know it’s the first week of January? The gyms are packed and the classes are at full capacity. How long will it last? I am not telling you anything you don’t already know, when I say most resolutions will not be kept. Tom Connellan, author of   “The 1 Percent Solution: How to Make Your Next 30 Days the Best Ever,” reports that  25% of resolutions are abandoned the first week of January. What’s the prospect of lasting the year? BLEAK.  According to Connellan, only 12% of those will last the year.

This post is my attempt to offer you some sticking points (5 tips ) to keep you on track.

TIP 1. Get realistic not perfectionistic. Make sure your goals are reachable and not too lofty. For example, if you are a parent with a full time job and are strapped for time, don’t set a goal of exercising for 2 hours a day. Instead, work in what you can.  Resolve to include more exercise in your daily activities by incorporating small changes like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking a little further away at the grocery store, and spending active time with your kids in lieu of sitting in front of the television.

Perfectionism, also known as   “the all or nothing attitude,” is a resolution killer!  Don’t give up the first time you start slipping. If you are resolving to lose wight by improving your dietary habits and cutting back on portions, don’t let over eating on a given day derail you. Get back on track the next day.

Weak moments do not mean you have failed. This quote is a good reminder of that.  Tweeted by @coytecooper:

“Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.” ~ Marilyn vos Savan

Tip 2. Use Mondays as a fresh start.  This gives you 52 weeks a year to start fresh. According to research conducted by  John’s Hopkins, the week is a notable unit of time in planning and is significant as the beginning of the week. Research has shown that people are much more likely to start a diet or establish other health goals for themselves on Monday. Monday health campaigns is now a national movement backed by three leading public health schools. Join the crowd of people committed to making healthier choices every week.

Tip 3. Use social networking for support. For example, a twitter account will allow you to find both inspiration and  health messaging  or give you the opportunity to offer your own advice to help others. You can read tweets from health organizations and individual professionals, to contestants from the Biggest Loser!  All have common ground in trying to help others make healthy choices.

TIp 4. Reward your positive behavior periodically. Make the reward unrelated to the resolution. For example, if you are trying shun desserts, don’t reward yourself with a banana split. Instead buy yourself a favorite magazine, some cut flowers, or a new bottle of nail polish. You can also give yourself the gift of time; set aside some   “me ” time for yourself to do something you enjoy.

Tip 5. Seek professional help from a life  coach or registered dietitian (RD) . If you are struggling with keeping diet and nutrition related resolutions, a food and nutrition expert (RD) can help. Research has proven nutritional counseling as part of a weight loss program is more effective than without. Dieters lose 6% more, translating to about 10-15 pounds. Dieititians can help you not only with the physical aspects of food,  (calories, fat grams, fiber, etc.) they can assist with the emotional aspects as well. Locate a registered dietitian in your area at www.eatright.org or SCANRD.

Remember to be patient. I like to use the song by Gary Allen,  Life Ain’t Always Beautiful, to remind individuals that it’s human to have a bad day now and then. When life gets tough, don’t bury your head in the sand. Face your struggles bravely and  let your success give you confidence to take on new challenges that lie ahead. Have a beautiful day!

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