Let’s kick things off with a riddle.
What’s something that everyone wants, but no one actually has?
A successful new year’s resolution!
Okay, okay, that may not be completely true. We’re sure some people have made good on their end-of-year promises. But for most people, sticking to their resolutions is tough! Especially when their resolution is about healthy eating.
Committing to eating healthy is difficult no matter what time of year it is, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are 9 tips for setting healthy new year’s resolutions (that you can actually stick to!)
What are New Year’s Resolutions?
New year’s resolutions are a practice that began in ancient Babylon back in 2000 BC. Babylonians would commit to returning their neighbour’s farm equipment, which was a lot more simple than the resolutions we choose now! Eventually, the Romans found out about the idea and shared it with the world.
Since then, new year’s resolutions have become a tradition for much of the world, where people will vow to change a behaviour or reach a goal in the coming new year.
Now that you know what new year’s resolutions are, read on to learn how to set ones that you can actually achieve.
1. Be Realistic!
If you don’t exercise, eat mostly junk food, and have just started a really time consuming job, maybe don’t set resolutions to be a triathlon-running, power-lifting vegan by the end of the year.
You are setting yourself up to fail which will just reinforce your unhealthy habits. Instead, vow to do something more achievable, that will help improve your fitness and diet gradually.
Rather than running a triathlon, commit to running a half marathon by the end of the year.
Instead of power-lifting, commit to going to the gym regularly.
By managing your expectations you are more likely to succeed, and then your next year’s resolutions can build on your progress and aim for harder goals.
2. Decide Early
There are three main reasons you’ll want to set your new year’s resolutions early.
First, if you wait until new year’s eve you’ll make a decision based on how you feel that day (and how many drinks you’ve had…) Choose your resolutions earlier in December when you are more level headed..
Second, if you wait till new year’s eve you might feel rushed to make a decision before midnight. This is never a good idea and will lead you to choosing something you don’t really care about.
Third, if you choose while you are out with friends, you run the risk of being swept up in group resolutions. These are never a good idea because it’s harder for a group to stay on track than it is for an individual.
3. Only Choose One!
Setting and succeeding at one new year’s resolution is tough enough, so why throw more into the mix?
Instead, choose one that you really care about and that will seriously change your life. Part of why healthy new year’s resolutions are so common is because eating better or exercising are tangible goals that can truly change your quality of life.
The last thing you want is for trivial resolutions to steal your focus away from important healthy ones.
4. Allow for a Gradual Start
Most healthy new year’s resolutions start quickly out of the gate, but then lose steam as the year progresses.
Rather than being blindsided by this and letting it spoil your plans, allow for a gradual start that aims to gain momentum throughout the year rather than lose it.
For example, if your resolution is to cut out sugar, treat January - March as months where you progressively remove sugar from your diet. This will ease you into the changes while still leaving plenty of the year to eat sugar-free and build the habit.
5. Set Mini Milestones
Just like easing into your resolutions, set mini-goals to sustain your focus for the entire year. If, for example, your goal was to eat smaller meals by the end of the year, that’s a long time to work towards a big goal.
Break it up by setting smaller goals. Maybe for the quarter of the year you want to eat a smaller breakfast everyday. By the second quarter you might eat smaller lunches, and by the third you can eat smaller dinners.
What’s the last quarter for? Cutting down on snacks!
By breaking the year down, you can work towards your end goal by slowly introducing changes, rather than changing all at once and failing.
6. Choose an Accountability Partner
An accountability partner is a great idea if you want to set healthy new year’s resolutions that will last the distance.
For many people, letting other people down is more of a concern than letting themselves down. There’s something about being judged by our peers that really gets under our skin.
An accountability partner - as the name suggests - is someone who holds you accountable over your progress. They are someone you can turn to for motivation if you feel like giving up or if you’ve had a setback. Just remember to find someone and ask them before you set your resolution!
7. Plan a Reward
It’s natural to want to work towards a reward. A year is a long time to work towards anything, let alone something as transformative as a diet or fitness related resolution. To literally keep your eyes on the prize, plan a reward beforehand.
Just make sure the reward isn’t counterproductive in the context of your resolution. For example, if your goal was to cut out all gluten-rich foods, don’t reward yourself with a week off from your gluten-free diet. It doesn’t take long to slip back into bad habits!
8. Account for Setbacks
Setbacks happen, and don’t mean you’ve failed - unless you let them. The important thing to do when you suffer a setback is to dust yourself off and keep going. If you commit to a vegetarian diet and you have some chicken in your salad, just make sure you don’t the next day.
Where setbacks can cause your new year’s resolution to fail is if you take a while to get back on track. Using the chicken example again, if your response is to write off that whole week and eat as much chicken as you want, you aren’t going to stop.
The Secret to Successful Healthy New Year’s Resolutions is…
One of the best ways to stick to a new year’s resolution diet is by eating delicious, ready-made meals.
If you get your ready-made meals through Activate Foods, you know that they are healthy, taste homemade, and come in a variety of nutritional and dietary restriction versions.
Visit our website to learn more about our fantastic range.
So if you’d like to make sticking to your new year diet as easy and tasty as possible, register at Activate Foods today.