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A new year…time to start over with your health and fitness goals that got away from you during the holidays! Most New Year’s resolutions have something to do with becoming healthier, losing weight or exercising, and even though excitement and motivation is high now, many resolutions will be abandoned by February!

I believe the main reason for people not being able to keep their resolutions is that they try to make too many dramatic changes all at once. Many people cannot go from sedentary to running 5 miles a day or from eating a high-fat/junk food diet to becoming a vegetarian.

Here are some tips that can make it easier to reach your New Year’s goal – without pain or starvation!

  1. Set a REALISTIC goal. You should have a main goal and several small “mini” goals that support your main goal. Goals should be doable and measurable.
  2. Write it down. When you write down your goals and make plans on how to achieve them, you are more likely to be successful. Also, keeping food and activity records have been shown to shape behaviors to help you reach your goals.
  3. Make small changes. Try substituting water for soda or mustard for mayonnaise or cooking at home 3 nights a week vs. eating out. As you feel comfortable with the changes you have made, then you can implement others.
  4. Reward yourself (not with a hot fudge sundae!). As you reach your “mini” goals, reward your hard work. Take a healthy cooking class; buy a new pair of running shoes; get a massage…something to look forward to and to help keep you motivated.
  5. Make mistakes! You are going to eat birthday cake, go to happy hour, catch a cold and not make it to the gym for a week – that’s life! Each time one of these situations happens is a time for learning and problem solving.
  6. Educate yourself. There is so much information on nutrition and fitness it is difficult to make sense of it all. Whether you do the research yourself or seek the expertise from a qualified professional….know how many calories you need each day, how many calories are in your favorite foods and what exercises are best for you.
  7. Get support! Having support from family, friends and co-workers can give you extra accountability! Find groups and classes so that you can surround yourself with people that share your same goals and passions.

Tarie Beldin, RD,LD
St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center

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