I tend to lose steam when it comes to sticking to my New Year's healthy-eating resolutions. What can I do to stay on track?
How successful you'll be at making your resolutions stick depends on how you approach your goals. Make sure what you want to accomplish – eating better, losing weight, getting fit – is among your highest priorities so that you are truly committed to make change.
Write down your goals and read them every day. It's also a good idea to keep them in a prominent place where you can see them – on your desk, on your smart phone, even on the fridge.
Don't plan to change everything at once. People often go into the New Year with a big bang only to lose momentum come February. Break big goals into manageable pieces. For example, if you want to lose 25 pounds in 2013, set monthly weight loss targets of 4 to 8 pounds.
Instead of saying "I will eat healthier," spell out precisely how you plan to do that. Will you eat breakfast everyday before you leave for work? Eat more vegetables? Cut out evening snacks? Limit sweets to once per week?
Chart your progress along the way. The more monitoring you do – and feedback you get – the better you'll do. I strongly recommend keeping a food and fitness diary for January and February. If weight loss is a goal, track your weight each week and your body measurements monthly.
To stay on track, don't expect to be perfect. Too often I've seen how all-or-nothing thinking sends people off the rails, for good. If you allow yourself to lapse occasionally, rather than beating yourself up, you'll be much more likely to pick up where you left off.
Finally, keep in mind that most people don't achieve their resolution on the first attempt. For many of us, it takes multiple attempts to succeed. Persistence pays off.
Leslie Beck, a registered dietitian, is the national director of nutrition at BodyScience Medical. She can be seen every Thursday at noon on CTV News Channel'sDirect (www.lesliebeck.com).
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