It’s time to STOP making the same impossible promises year after year and start accomplishing your goals. This article explains how to avoid these three stereotypical resolutions and provides alternatives for achieving success in 2014.
1. The “Too Restrictive” Resolution
Starting January 1st, “I will no longer eat candy, cupcakes, cookies, ice cream, pizza, fries, fast food, potato chips, nachos, and all forms of carbohydrates.” Ok, superwoman! Unless you lack emotions or taste buds, you’re going to have a tough time turning this resolution into a reality. And success might not make you the happiest person either. I know I’d be a little grumpy if I stopped eating everything I loved!
It’s important to recognize what foods cause weight gain, but removing everything at once could be a recipe for disaster. Think about the last time you really craved an unhealthy treat or snack. Where you satisfied after eating carrots? Or did you dive into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s an hour later? An extremely restrictive diet usually leads to failure, or even worse, resentment towards healthy eating. We all deserve a cheat meal every once in a while, just don’t turn it into a habit.
This year, as opposed to focusing on dietary “cant’s” and “wont’s”, allow yourself to eat anything you want (as long as you write it down). A food journal encourages healthy eating and promotes accountability without limiting you to certain foods. Many people underestimate their indulgences, make excuses for unhealthy eating, or even block out cheat meals all together. A food journal forces you to accept responsibility for what you put into your body. Did someone make your favorite homemade brownies? Then enjoy one, but don’t forget to write it down and skip the cookies at work the next day.
2. The “Burned Out in a Month” Resolution
If you’re someone who loves the “all or nothing” approach, I encourage you to rethink your resolution strategy. Although you may be initially motivated to eat healthy, workout everyday, call your mom twice a week, and reconnect with old friends over dinner, you will quickly find yourself burned out and exhausted.
Remember, it’s called a New YEAR’s resolution, not a two-week resolution. It’s important to pace yourself and avoid making changes all at once. When people try crash diets in order to lose weight, they are usually very successful (at first). However, the changes eventually become impossible to maintain and all the weight is regained, along with an extra 10 pounds.
For this year’s resolution, focus on making small sustainable changes one at a time, as well as building on your prior accomplishments throughout the year. If you went to the gym once this week for only 30 minutes, strive for an hour-long session the following week. These slight improvements will enable you to make considerable progress without feeling overwhelmed. Lifestyle changes are already hard enough. Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to fix everything all at once.
3. The Cookie Cutter Resolution
What keeps you up at night? What stresses you out everyday? Is it something about your personality, an unhealthy relationship, or even unwanted weight gain? Whatever it is, that’s what you should focus on changing for 2014. An impactful New Year’s resolution doesn’t have to be explainable to others, it just has to be something that you want to improve.
For example, if you always eat junk food right before bed, your resolution may be as simple as creating a sign that reads, “Do NOT eat after 9pm,” and abiding by your new rule. By making your resolution personal and specific, you’ll be on your way to achieving meaningful results.
Once you decide on your goal for 2014, you should also create a “Resolution Reminder”. When faced with daily responsibilities and unexpected situations, it’s easy to forget the bigger picture. A subtle reminder, such as a picture posted on your mirror, can help keep you focused on what’s really important each day.
Alyse Scaffidi is the founder of Bite Sized Fitness. She is a Doctorate of Pharmacy student and knows how hard it is to make time for your health. Check out the sites below for more motivational tips, delicious recipes, and ideas for healthy eating.