Spinach pasta with basil and feta.
Lisa M. Baragiola

New Habits Beat New Resolutions

Set up for failure

It’s the beginning of 2023 and many of us have made New Year’s resolutions which may include losing weight and exercising. It happens annually at local gyms when memberships soar January through March and then drop back to normal levels in the spring. Does this sound familiar to you? Why is it difficult for us to maintain the momentum we feel at the start of the new year? I’m guessing one of our challenges is the “all or nothing” approach. For instance, you vow to exercise every day and never eat sugar again. Our success is brought on by changing our habits, thereby avoiding deprivation, removing our triggers, and adding pleasure to the experience.

New habits for success

The question now is how do we change our habits and create lasting results? The key is consistency. Let’s start with exercise first. There are many opportunities available besides joining a gym. Grab a friend and plan to walk together, it’s much more enjoyable, and we tend to hold each other accountable. Commit to a 30-minute walk, three days a week for a month. Once you’ve reached this goal, add a day, or increase it to 45 minutes. Walk your dog, go to the park, or ride a bike with your children. You’ll be amazed at how this increase in activity improves your outlook and feeling of self-accomplishment.

Don’t despair

When it comes to weight loss, we’re bombarded with all types of eating plans and methods. Often, it leaves us overwhelmed and sometimes sad, feeling deprivation is the only way to be successful. Do you remember when you were a kid and your parents told you something was off limits? I don’t know about you, but it made me want it more. I’ve discovered by trial and error that moderation can be beneficial in adopting an eating plan which still allows for pleasurable experiences. Begin with small goals, such as drinking water in place of carbonated beverages. Utilize a dinner plate as a guide and make half of your meal fruits and vegetables. If you have a sweet tooth, focus on smaller portion sizes, and allow yourself treat days. Life is too short to never eat a cookie again.

Remember that achieving short term goals will motivate you in the long term. You are creating healthy habits and next year’s resolution can be the vacation of your dreams. Happy healthy journey to you…

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