Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Holidays
Secrets for making resolutions stick
Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D., former Nutritional Sciences Specialist, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri Extension
By the end of January, most people who have made unrealistic New
Year's resolutions will have burned out. But if you know the
following secrets, you can re-establish your goals into habits that
will stick for a lifetime.
- Make lifestyle changes because YOU want to. Make changes
for you, not your husband, wife, mother or sister.
- Make small changes and chart your progress. The single
biggest mistake people make is biting off more than they can chew —
quitting smoking, losing 50 pounds in two weeks and exercising every
day. It's just too much. According to the American Council on Science
and Health, stopping smoking is the single most important change you
can make. Don't worry about gaining a pound or two — it's nothing compared
to the health benefits you'll gain by quitting smoking. If you want
to lose weight, focus on losing 5 pounds at a time. Changing lifestyle
habits will get you to where you want to be for the long term, and that's
what counts. It's not about how much weight you lose in two weeks, but
how much weight you can keep off for the rest of your life.
- Keep a journal. It allows you to track your progress so
you can give yourself credit for the smallest accomplishments you make — they all add up.
Journaling can also be used to document your emotions
and help you see if there are patterns to your bad habits. For
example, do you
eat or smoke when you're angry, bored, nervous? If so, then find alternative
activities to get to the real problems.
- Find a buddy. Exercisers are more likely to stick to their
plans when they know someone is waiting for or depending on them. If
you prefer to exercise by yourself but find boredom is a problem, get
a headset and listen to enjoyable music. The key to sticking with exercise
is looking at it as fun. Find activities you enjoy, vary them and schedule
them into your calendar as you would any important appointment.
- Practice positive self talk. So often we don't even realize that we are giving ourselves negative messages. Catch yourself and turn those statements around. Tell yourself that you enjoy getting up a few minutes early to exercise and that you feel great and look better when you exercise. If you catch yourself saying that your legs are too fat, STOP right there and find something positive to say instead: I have a beautiful smile, I have attractive eyes, I look good in a particular color, etc. Assume you'll be successful, and you will be.
Last update: Monday, February 01, 2016