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How to make and keep your New Year’s resolutions

By Elizabeth Hall, MS, RDN, LDNFood City Registered Dietitian • Dec 26, 2018 at 12:00 AM

The end of the year and the start of a new one brings a time of reflection leading to the development of New Year’s resolutions. It is estimated that just 8 percent of individuals who make resolutions actually keep them. To be a part of that 8 percent this year, here are few tips to keep in mind when setting your New Year’s resolutions:

PICK ONE THING AT A TIME

While we all might have multiple areas for improvement, picking one goal can help you be more successful. Make sure the one thing you pick is a SMART goal or that it is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based. For example, if your overarching goal is to eat healthier in 2019, choose something specific to work on to help you achieve that goal. 

For instance, start by setting a goal to eat at least one serving of vegetables at dinner each night. Give yourself a time frame to complete this goal — typically about 30 days to make it a habit. Once the first goal is incorporated into your lifestyle, choose another goal such as adding a serving of fruit to breakfast. A bunch of small changes leads to a big change in the long run.

KEEP YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE

A huge aspect of achieving and sustaining goals is accountability. Find someone who has a similar goal to encourage you to keep your own. Even if your goals are different, recognizing and utilizing social support leads to more successful, long-term behavior change.

RECOGNIZE YOUR SUCCESS

Giving yourself a pat on the back every now and then can help motivate you to continue on your self-improvement journey. A good way to keep track of your success is to write down your goals in a notebook, on your phone, or online and add updates as you meet each small goal. 

Write down your feelings or thoughts associated with the changes you’ve made as well as concrete milestones such as improved labs, inches lost or muscle gained. When you are struggling to meet a goal, having your diary to look back upon can provide much-needed motivation.

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