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, those good intentions can stick forever. Good luck!
1. Make lifestyle changes because YOU want to. Make changes
for you, not your husband, wife, mother or sister.
2. 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.
3. 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 eating
you eat when you're angry, bored, nervous? If so, then find alternative
activities to get to the real problems.
4. 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.
5. 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, January 03, 2011