The new year brings New Year’s resolutions. If you’re making the same ones year after year and they’re not sticking, it’s time to rethink your strategy. But if you’ve been successful so far, these 5 signs will let you know that the resolution you made this year is a promise you can keep.
#1: You Made a Specific Resolution
In order to become healthier, you want to make specific and achievable short-term goals. These goals become habits over time. Instead of making a resolution that you’ll lose 50 pounds this year, make a more specific goal on how you will achieve it. Some specific goals include:
- I will eat 5 servings of vegetables 3 days a week.
- I will go to Zumba class twice every week.
- I will switch from white to brown rice.
- I will make time for breakfast every day.
Here are more examples of small goals that pave the way to bigger changes.
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Ahh, you can have them baked with cheese and bacon, mashed with cream and butter or deep-fried in oil. So versatile, yet so unhealthy: the white potato. But do potatoes deserve such a bad rap? Take a moment, and let’s rediscover one of the best “unhealthy” foods around.
Taken by itself, the great spud compares quite well in calories, fiber and nutrients to most other starches like pasta and rice. A medium potato with its skin (2 to 3 inches wide) has 130 calories, three grams of fiber, three grams of protein and is a source of vitamin C, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, phosphorus, potassium and manganese. Comparatively, one cup of pasta or rice (the size of your fist) has about 200 calories for similar amounts of fiber.
So why does the potato get such a bad rap? Obviously how we prepare it can have a huge impact. Loaded potato skins probably have more bacon, cheese and sour cream than they do potato.
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How many times do you hear people say, “I need to eat healthier” or, “I would eat better but . . . (insert excuse or justification here, such as schedule, demands, kids, being tired, etc.)? You can have the best intentions in the world, but in the end, the only way to actually get results and make a difference in health, fitness or weight is by taking action.
Taking action can be challenging; it usually means leaving your comfort zone and making a change to your current habits. So before taking action on any new change: a new role at work, going back to school, working out more or eating better, there are three important questions you should ask yourself to know if you are headed down the right path:
1. Why do I want to take action and make these changes? Eating healthier, whether it be eating more fruits and vegetables or eating less fried food or soda, is a commitment you make to yourself. And the changes you make must be sustained in order to get results and have a real impact on your life. But after a long, stressful day of work, what’s going to be the inspiration that makes you choose a yogurt and a piece of fruit instead of a brownie or bag of chips? What’s going to keep you from having that extra drink when you’re out with friends? Whatever answers those questions is your motivation to change. Consider why you want to make these changes, and what you are changing for. Is it to have more self-confidence in the way you look? Is it to serve as a role model for your kids? These are big motivators that keep you focused when times are tough. Figure out your true motivations for change and taking action will become inevitable!
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- Can one tiny change each day lead to big results?
The average adult gains about one pound per year. That doesn’t sound like much, right? But now consider how someone who weighs 120 pounds at 20-years-old can reach 150 pounds around their 50th birthday. One pound a year. And when you break it down, one pound a year is about ten calories a day.
Ten calories a day? That’s like a little less butter spread on your bread! And not even one packet of sugar in your daily coffee! These changes seem very easy, but the key is to make these changes every day, day after day. And that’s the challenging part: Consistency. Life happens: late days at work, stressful life events, traveling. The key is to find small changes that are easy for us, and not easily disrupted by life’s (sometimes necessary) distractions.
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Not in the habit of label reading? Don’t know where to start? The New Year is a good time to work on it — here are some first steps.
Label-reading how-to »
- English Muffin Breakfast Pizza - Photo Courtesy Food Network Magazine
Is skipping breakfast part of your daily routine? Starting your day running on empty just makes your life tougher and is more stressful for your body. You may feel tired, without knowing why. As we begin Breakfast Week here on Healthy Eats, here are a few ways to help get you in the habit of eating a morning meal every day.
Take small steps towards a better breakfast »
- Need More Calcium? Eat Some Ice Cream!
We’ve told you how to drink more water, fit in more exercise and eat more fruit—this week it’s all about calcium. If you don’t get enough of this important mineral, here are 5 ways to help.
Eat your way to stronger bones – here’s how »
Studies show that most folks don’t move enough, and it’s one definite step to getting healthier. If you’re reading this and making the “I hate exercise” face, don’t fret. Start slow! Here are five ways to exercise without even realizing it.
Get 5 move-more tips »
- Are You Eating Enough Fruit?
Making significant changes to your diet takes time and baby steps. Deciding which small steps to focus on is up to you. We’ve told you how to up your fluid intake — now it’s time for more fruit. Do you eat enough of nature’s candy? Most folks don’t.
Easy ways to add fruit to your diet »
- Start Small: Add Healthy Fluids to Your Diet
If you’re looking to eat healthier, completely overhauling your diet is not the answer — you’ll be back to your old habits in no time. Studies have shown that making small changes is the best way to create long-term habits. In this new series, we suggest small, easy steps you can take to become healthier. First up: Staying hydrated.
Get our easy tips for good hydration »