For most of us, the new year means a healthy fresh start after the fun indulgences of the holidays. As a Registered Dietitian with a nutrition counseling private practice, I’m all for people making decisions to change their lives in a healthy way. But that said: I’m not a big New Year’s resolution person. I know that resolutions do work for some, but for me (and, I’ve found, for my clients), big resolutions, while made with good intentions, are often too broad and overwhelming and can be hard to translate into real action.
Whenever I have a nutrition counseling session with a client, we end the meeting or call with goal setting. I find that setting small daily or weekly goals really helps with making healthy living a lifestyle change vs. a quick fix—or a huge overwhelming goal that is never reached. I have my clients set three goals to work on until we talk again, and we make sure the goals are specific and measurable, focusing on daily action in the short term.
Instead of making broad resolutions this year, try making some weekly or daily action goals instead. Here’s an example using exercise, since we all love ClassPass! Instead of just saying you will exercise more this year, turn it into action by setting a measurable and attainable goal instead of a general resolution.
Resolution: “I will exercise more this year.”
Daily/Weekly Action: “I will sign up ahead of time for at least three ClassPass workouts every week” and/or “I will run 3 miles twice per week” or “I will go to yoga every Saturday morning” or “I will sign-up for and run a half marathon this spring.”
Again, setting a daily or weekly action will help to make the overall end goal more reachable, because you have something specific and measurable to focus on. The original resolution will end up being a side effect of your long term behavior change.
I hope you can see that throwing out the broad, sweeping resolutions and working them into weekly or daily intentions can really help with making healthy life changes much more attainable and sustainable. It might help to set different goals every month, so you’re constantly challenging yourself and giving yourself new actions to work on. Most likely, the old actions will start to stick, and all those small changes will add up quickly to something big.
What do you guys think — are you more of a resolutions person or a daily action person? Obviously changing your life for the healthier is a lot easier said than done, but I hope this approach might help some of you to translate your resolutions into action this year!