Spring Cleaning: Renew Your Resolutions
Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD
Did you, like so many millions of other people, vow to improve your health in 2013? Maybe you resolved to eat more fruits and vegetables every day, work out five times a week (at least!), or give up chocolate. If you made any efforts to change for the better, we’re curious: How’s that going, three months into the new year?
If it’s not going as well as expected, there’s still plenty of hope for positive change!
Obviously, you’re committed to improving your well-being: that’s why you took a stab at New Year’s resolutions in the first place. While the determination to do better has largely deteriorated for most of us, there is good news: March is the perfect time to renew the promises you made to yourself.
Make reasonable resolutions
The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that they raise expeRich texttions by appearing to offer short-term fixes for long-term problems. In addition, the end of the year may be the worst time to make resolutions because you’re tired from the holidays and probably not thinking straight.
When you feel guilty about overeating and not exercising during December, your resolutions reflect that. Harsh New Year’s resolutions, including the kind that restrict all of your favorite foods, typically don’t make it past mid-January.
Restrictive New Year's resolutions that are next to impossible to stick with in the long-run are more punishment than self-help strategy. There’s probably no need to completely give up a food or alcohol if it’s safe for you to have. Expecting dietary perfection is unrealistic and spells doomsday for your best intentions to eat better.
Spring into action
It’s much easier to imagine exercising or eating light during springtime when the sun is shining and the mercury is on the rise. Spring is a good time to revisit wellness goals because you’re more energetic and hopeful than during the cold, dark winter months. Use these tips to get back on track:
- Avoid resolution overload. Make a list of three habits to change.
- Keep resolutions positive. Focus on what to add, not what to delete. For example, add 30-minutes of walking to your day five times a week; add one serving of vegetables to your day; add more water to your diet.
- Plan for success. Break down bigger goals such as losing 10 pounds into everyday goals, like eating 100 fewer calories by replacing your typical snack of three chocolate crème-filled sandwich cookies with an apple.
- Find what works. Don’t give up on “failed” resolutions, but do find a different strategy. For example, you resolved to join a gym and go every day. You joined the gym, but decided that approach to exercise isn’t for you. Perhaps you’d rather work out at home with exercise DVDs instead, or walk or run outside with a friend on a regular basis.
- Monitor yourself. Check your resolutions list every month or so to see how you’re doing with your goals.
- Give yourself a high five. Nobody's perfect, so it pays to focus on what you have accomplished and not how you’ve “failed.”