As the food prep and exercise industries enjoy an uptick in profits at the start of a new year, most of us experience a let-down in momentum after the “new” in new year wanes. So, if you are not one of the 8% of folks who keep their New Year’s resolutions, here are a few tips to keep you on track.
1) Focus on what you can ADD to your diet, not take away
One of the most common New Year’s resolutions people have is to go on a diet or restrict a certain food group (like carbs) or ingredient (like sugar). The truth is that all foods can be a part of a varied and balanced diet. Instead of focusing on deprivation – which can lead to binging, unnecessary feelings of guilt and preoccupation with food – why not focus on what you can add instead?
For example, if you are lacking in the veggie department, resolve to add at least one more serving of vegetables per day. Or if you don’t hit all the food groups, commit to making sure your meals have what you need like fruit and/or veggies, protein, fat, grains and dairy. Do you find yourself ravenous by the time lunch or dinner hits? Add in a snack between meals to hold you over and prevent overeating – grab an apple with peanut butter or a handful of nuts and dried fruit.
Focus more on eating to nourish yourself (mentally and physically), instead of depriving yourself.
2) Find a form of exercise that makes you happy
Exercise has seemingly endless benefits, including improved mood and focus, and reduced disease risk. Only one in five adults in the U.S. meets the recommended amount of physical activity each week.
If you want to move more in 2020, chose a form of movement based on how it makes you feel. What if enjoyment and invigoration were your motivators, instead of obligation or punishment? The more you enjoy the exercise, the more likely you will continue doing it. Running, not for you? Then try yoga, dancing, gardening, walking, skipping, jump-roping, rollerblading, hiking and so on.
Exercise should add joy to your life, not stress!
3) Practice at least one form of self-care daily
While both nutrition and exercise certainly fall under the self-care umbrella, they are just one part of our well-being. Tending to our careers and families, often means forgetting about ourselves. If you feel like you don’t have time, ask yourself what you could take off your plate. What can you say “no” to in your life that no longer serves you, so you can create space for yourself? After all, the better we take care of ourselves, the better we can take care of others. Self-care looks different for everyone, but here are some ideas:
- Get a massage
- Unplug one day per week (no e-mails, social media, etc.)
- Spend time outdoors
- Enjoy a meal out with a friend
- Watch a comedy
- Take a bubble bath
- Take a few minutes alone in the morning or evening
- Try a calming activity, like Tai Chi, gentle yoga or coloring
- Go out dancing with friends
- Read for pleasure
Some days, it may be a few minutes of self-care, and other days it may be hours (or the whole day!). Remember emotional and mental health are equally as important as physical health.
Say goodbye to the 92% and stay resolute!
Reference material taken in part from the following sources: National Peanut Board, Three Resolutions You May Actually Keep by Caroline Young Bearden, MS, RD, LD, RYT