7 Ways to Jump-Start Your New Year’s Resolutions

Get a head start on your New Year’s resolutions by using these seven techniques.

Losing weight and getting healthy isn’t something that happens once a year — it’s something that should last a lifetime. Instead of waiting until January 1 to start planning your healthy eating resolutions, start doing these seven things today.

1. Jot Down Your List of Goals

Most long-term goals are to lose a certain number of pounds. However, how you’ll achieve your goal is by setting short-term goals. It’s very important to establish these short-term benchmarks and achieve different ones every few weeks. Short-term goals should be realistic. For example, if you think you’ll never eat chocolate again, you may want to rethink that goal, especially if chocolate is your weakness. Goals should also be positive. Instead of telling yourself what you won’t eat, focus on what you will eat. For example, "I will eat a fruit during at least one snack time each day."

2. Do Your Research

Don’t start your New Year’s resolutions with a blind eye. Take the time to research foods, recipes, diet plans and any tool you may want to purchase. All the wacky weight-loss miracle cures start coming out of the woodwork after January 1, so be sure you don’t fall for ones that are dangerous or just don’t work.

3. Enlist a Friend

It’s much easier to stay accountable if you do it along with someone else. Whether it’s a spouse or a friend, you can help motivate each other and pick each other up when you fall off the wagon. You can also hit the gym together and cook together — it just makes things more fun.

4. Create a Motivational Mantra

You’re going to have a bad day. Most people do, and it’s OK. When you’re down about your weight or the way you’ve been eating, it’s important to pick yourself up. Having a motivational saying that you repeat to yourself can help inspire you and put you back on track again. Hang the mantra on your fridge or on your bathroom mirror — anywhere you can see it every day or when you need a pick-me-up.

5. Determine How to Measure Success

There are many ways you can determine if you’re losing weight and meeting your short-term goals. Many apps are now available to help you, including My Fitness Pal, Fooducate, FitBit and LoseIt.

6. Purchase Your Tools

If your goal is to drink 8 cups of water daily, you may want to purchase a reusable water bottle to tote with you. Perhaps your goal is to take a daily walk after dinner; then you may need to purchase a new pair of sneakers. Now is the time to purchase whatever you will need to follow through with your goals. It’s also right around Christmas, so you’ll find many items on sale.

7. Find a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Perhaps you need a little help from a professional to help jump-start your healthy eating or weight-loss plan. You can find a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) in your area on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website (www.eatright.org). Scroll down on the home screen and you’ll see a red arrow that says “Find an expert” and click on “search now.” Many even take health insurance, so be sure to ask.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

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