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How to Make (and Keep!) Your Healthy Lifestyle Resolutions for 2018

"A resolution should bepreciseand the means to achieve it clearly defined. "

Here we go again! Another New Year, another resolution to “get healthy.” How many of you vow each year to lose weight, exercise more, and eat more nutritious foods, yet find yourself stuck with the same bad habits by February? Too many, I bet.

It doesn’t have to be that way. New Year’s resolutions are not made to fail, especially when they concern your health and wellbeing. Here are three healthy lifestyle resolutions (1. Exercise more; 2. Eat more nutritious food; 3. Have less stress) and some suggestions on how to actually make them “stick.”

Make reasonable resolutions and don’t take on too much at once

If you make resolutions that are too difficult to achieve, you might find yourself giving up before long. Changing habitual behaviors can also be daunting and overwhelming; “old habits die hard,” as they say. A more effective strategy for sticking to your resolution is to make it realistic and achievable. Start with small steps, experience initial success, and as you experience change be sure to ramp up the challenges you progress.

Find someone to hold you accountable

People who make their resolutions “public” and who have friends, family members, or coach to hold them accountable tend to stick to their resolutions more than those who go it alone. Your accountability partners will help keep you on the right track and support your positive actions. Conversely they will ensure that you don’t ignore your own transgressions and keep you focused on your actions rather than your intentions.

Establish specific goals, create an action plan, and quantify your results

Those who say they want to lose weight or eat nutritious food are not necessarily establishing specific goals or creating an action plan. Instead, the resolution should be “I want to lose 15 lbs. in 3 months” or “I want to give up foods high in saturated fat,” followed by the steps needed to reach those goals. A resolution should be precise and the means to achieve it clearly defined. There are even apps to help keep you on point and help you follow through with your 2018 resolutions.

Inevitably you’ll find yourself in situations in which you may be tempted to fall back into patterned, less healthful behaviors. Don’t be too hard on yourself! Eating one bag of potato chips isn’t going to have a lasting negative impact on your resolution to eat more nutritious food -- in fact, the more you “beat yourself up” the easier it is to simply toss your resolutions aside and return to your old ways.

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