2020: the beginning of a new decade. No time like the present to start thinking about how you’ll begin the new year, what resolutions you will have to make this THE year. Which begs the question, what resolutions have you made in the past? Have they been successful?
Chances are, the answer is “nope”. According to inc.com, about half of the 2,000 people surveyed “failed” their resolutions by January 31st. Another article written by two doctors at Mass General Hospital in Massachusetts, suggests that a similar number, “50% of all people who make resolutions, have not seen them come to fruition by the end of the year”. Why is this?
Let’s review some of the more popular New Years Resolutions. According to inc.com, the top three were “Diet”, “Exercise More”, and “Lose weight”. I don’t know about you, but the words diet, exercise “more”, and lose weight, all conjure up negative feelings -even coming from a registered dietitian! Its often assumed that these practices can easily be done if we just had enough self-control/willpower/discipline within ourselves. What’s more is that these goals are very vague, and are not SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) and don’t map out a specific plan to achieving them – hence why they are likely to fail.
Having goals that are focused on eating or exercise are not necessarily a bad thing; it’s all about the intention behind it and how you frame it. By making your goals more specific AND positive, sticking with them becomes manageable and enjoyable (equally as important!). For example, try to focus on what you’d like to do, vs. what NOT to do. Here’s some examples:
“I would love to include fruit with my lunch daily”, vs. “I’m going to stop eating chips altogether”.
“I would love to eat meals at home 5 nights a week instead of eating out 5 nights per week” instead of “I will go on an elimination diet this year”.
“I’d love to run a 5k in 6 months with my best friends” vs. “I need to exercise more”.
Or, a radical idea, consider a resolution that has nothing to do with diet, exercise, or weight. What if we focused on something else entirely? This article suggests that focusing on attributes we already possess could be a great place to start and these types of resolutions may lend themselves to a higher rate of success. Here are some great examples that you can adapt and make more specific (SMART) to you:
- I will take greater pleasure in my partner, children, parents, and friends.
- I will increase my caring of and sensitivity toward others.
- I will further my dedication to social and individual justice.
- I will emphasize my gratitude for the blessings in my life.
- I will celebrate the times that I make a positive difference in my life and in the lives of others.
- I will spend more time and energy on the things that make me happy
If you choose to set a resolution that involves food or nutrition and diet, why not have the guidance and support of a nutrition expert? Our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists can help you establish SMART goals and guide you along the way. With all of the nutrition information (and misinformation) out there this time of year, its helpful to have an evidence-based expert help you decide what diet best supports your wellbeing. If you are ready to make lasting sustainable changes, we’re here to help.
If you choose not to set a resolution, enjoy your New Years Eve and try to think about all of the things both good and bad, that 2019 has brought you. It is always a good time to reflect, and spend time with family and friends. Happy New Year, may 2020 bring you all health and happiness.