By Toni Viles, RD/LD, Norman Regional Community Dietitian
For many of us, each New Year brings with it resolutions to better ourselves… Lose 10 pounds, give up fried foods, walk every morning, get more sleep, etc. While we make these pledges with the best intentions, after a few weeks we often lose steam and let them slowly slip away. How can we avoid that this year?
Set Reasonable Goals
Make sure your goal is realistic for you and your lifestyle. If want to start exercising every morning before work but you already wake up at 5a.m. to get ready, can you really see yourself waking up at 4 a.m. every day to get it done? Instead, you could focus on getting more activity throughout the day (for example taking the stairs instead of the elevator and parking farther away from the building) or try exercising after work.
Try to change your habits gradually. Habits take a long to establish so it’s normal for them to take some time to change. Let’s say you drink 64 oz of pop every day. It’s a tall order to say that you’ll immediately stop drinking pop. Instead maybe you could cut down to 48 oz for the first week or two, then aim for 36 oz, and so on. You are more likely to be successful if you take it slow and give your body and your mind some time to adjust.
Get a Partner
Making changes is much easier when you have support. Consider making a pact with a friend or family member to work on a resolution together. Having a partner to talk with can make the ups and downs more manageable. It also helps to be accountable to somebody besides you.
Write it Down
Start by writing down your goals and then begin tracking your behaviors. If your goal is diet-related, record your food intake as the day goes on. If it’s an exercise-related goal, track your physical activity. We tend to be more successful when we are accountable to ourselves throughout the day.
Remember It’s a Lifestyle Change
Whatever your New Year’s resolution is, remember to make it a lifestyle change and not a quick fix. Aiming for a new and improved you is a great goal and well-worth the hard work.
For nutritional counseling, Norman Regional Health System offers the guidance of registered dietitians. Those interested can schedule an appointment for an assessment with a referral from their family physician.