Making Diet Resolutions? Try Diet Changes Instead
When January 1 comes around, it’s time to dust off that list of diet resolutions you made last year (and perhaps the year before that?) and vow to tackle them again. A new year means a fresh start, so we promise ourselves we’re going to eat right and get into shape. But we often don’t, because a lot of times our diet and lifestyle “to-do” list is a mile long and making many changes all at once is just too hard. We’re also creatures of habit, and it takes time for new habits to take hold. With all that in mind, we created an easier approach consisting of small but impactful steps that makes sticking to your New Year’s diet resolutions possible and sustainable!
Make a Few Small Changes Every Month
Don’t try to make all your changes at once. Just make three small changes in January – another three in February, three more in March, and so on until the end of the year. If you work on establishing just three new habits for a month, you won’t be overwhelmed with trying to focus on too many things at once. By the end of the month, the three new habits will be part of your routine, and you’ll be ready to take on three more changes in the following month.
Keep Your Diet Resolutions Going All Year Long
Suppose that those three changes you make in January cut out a total of 100 calories a day from your diet. That might not sound like a lot, but let’s say the same thing happens in February and March and April and May. Five months into the New Year, you’ve made a total of 15 small, sustainable changes to your eating habits, and you’re now saving 500 calories a day – enough to lose up to a pound a week.
Think about what you’d like to work on first. Maybe you’d like to cut your fat or sugar intake. Maybe your portions are just too large, or your problem is that you don’t eat enough fruits or vegetables. Maybe you’re an emotional eater and you want to work on that. Then determine the three things you plan to do in January and get to work.
Three Small Diet Changes a Month
Here’s an example of the small adjustments you can make to your diet in a given month. Let’s say you want to cut back on your sugar intake. Your diet resolutions for January might be:
- I will have fruit for dessert instead of cookies
- I will cut my soda intake in half
- I will switch from presweetened yogurt to plain yogurt
This year we encourage you to take a different approach to your diet resolutions. Make a few changes, give them a month to settle in, and then build on those changes month after month. True, this stepwise approach isn’t the complete diet overhaul that you may attempt every January (and abandon by February) – but it’s like the old saying goes, “Slow and steady wins the race.”