Get practical ways to re-energize your health and nutrition new year intentions with these tips from a registered dietitian nutritionist.
Around March of each year, the goals, intentions or resolutions you’ve set may be in the rearview mirror. We’ve settled in to the year and the new-ness of the year is long gone.
But there’s good news. You have the ability to change your habits at any given day or moment. January 1st is not the only day where you can start something new.
If you’ve lost steam on your New Year Resolutions, you’re not alone. Get back on track with these 5 steps.
1. Re-evaluate your goals. If you bit off more than you can chew, step back and create small, achievable goals. In my work with clients, I’ve found that specific, small changes have the best outcomes and are more likely to stick.
If you had a goal to eat more vegetables, break it down. You might say, I will eat 1 more vegetable at lunch or I will add vegetables to breakfast 5 days a week. That’s very specific but it’s more actionable than the general idea to “eat healthier” for example.
Of course, if you’ve forgot your goals, no worries. Think about what you want to do now. Set up reminders on your phone to stay engaged or post sticky notes on the bathroom mirror to help you remember and stay on track.
2. Make yourself accountable. Partner up for a regular movement date. Saying you’ll meet up with a friend is not only social and fun, it can also help you stick to your goal to get more physical activity in. Evaluate what works for you. Maybe you’re motivated by marking days on a physical calendar? Or taking a photo to share in the group chat.
If you want more accountability, a registered dietitian nutritionist or certified fitness coach might also be able to help. Knowing that you are meeting someone makes a huge difference.
3. Try something new. If you’ve been following the same diet and exercise routine since January 2nd and it’s working – keep going. But if it’s getting a little boring, switch things up! Try a circuits class or swap your morning cereal for a veggie omelet from time to time. This is not to say that you must be following any specific diet. And remember it’s important to maintain an eating pattern that includes lots of variety from the types of fruits and vegetables and grains you eat to types and sources of fish if you include it.
4. Be kind to yourself. Don’t let eating one cookie ruin your day. Enjoy it. Savor it. Appreciate how good it tastes and move on with your day. This can be difficult since diet culture tells us that cookies are “bad” and that you should feel guilt or shame for eating them.
But when you recognize the many forces at work to make you feel that way (such as a focus on thinness and perfect eating), taking a balanced approach makes the cookie just like any other food. Give yourself some grace. For more on intuitive eating, check out the dietitians who created the principles and book on rejecting diet mentality.
5. Build in rewards. All work and no play is no fun. Stay motivated by setting up a (non-food related) reward system. Stash away a few dollars for every mini-goal you meet. Use the money to go shoe shopping, enjoy a day at the spa or take up a new hobby.
If money is not a motivator, try other rewards. It could be promising yourself to take a long walk or set a daily date to dance in front of the mirror. Soon those “rewards” might be part of your daily life!
The journey of a thousand miles, starts with the first step. – Lao Tzu
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