It is that time of year again, when millions of Americans make that annual decree to make a substantial change for the better. For many, the resolution focuses on one’s relationship with food—a resolve to eat healthier and lose weight. Though the intent is great, the fact is most people don’t have the necessary tools in place to achieve that goal. They may lose a few pounds in the beginning by drastically cutting calories or by trying a “fad” diet. But in the end, many will give up because they have not made healthy changes that can be sustained. In fact, a recent survey found that just 20% of resolutions had been kept after 12 months. In order for a resolution to be successful, one has to have a few “resolution solutions” to help them get started.

Assess your eating habits: You may already know what parts of your diet need improvement. Complete a three day diet recall; record you food intake for three days to keep track of what you ate. Include portion size, time, who you were with and where you ate. This will allow you to take a closer look of your diet and where you may potentially make healthy changes. For example, you may find that when you get bored in the afternoons you wander in the kitchen and snack while standing in front of an open cabinet. A healthy change would be to take a walk or phone a friend instead.

Be realistic and set goals:
Setting a goal that is attainable and measurable is critical to making a permanent change. Instead of saying, “I would like to eat better this year,” try a goal that is more tangible like, “I will drink 8 glasses of water a day.” Once your goals are set, share these with your friends and family. They can be a great source of support for you.

Plan ahead: Deciding on December 31st that you would like to change your diet the next morning is a recipe for failure. Plan in advance what you would like to achieve specifically, and then begin setting goals.

Reward yourself: As you achieve your goals along the way, reward yourself with a new outfit, or a new pair of running shoes. Treat yourself to something that you enjoy to help keep you motivated.

Stay the course: It has been suggested that it takes about 21 days for a new activity (eating healthy) to become a habit, and about 6 months for it to become part of your personality. If you have a slip up and get off track, remember that obsessing about it won’t help you achieve your goals. Pick yourself up and start up where you left off.

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