To make resolutions that will actually stick (and improve your health and well-being), I’ve included 10 ideas for resolutions you can actually keep.

December 22, 2009

By Julie Upton, RD
With many of the unrealistic New Year’s resolutions people make, like “I’m giving up sweets,” or “I’m going to work out every day,” it’s no wonder that only 40% to 46% of people who make resolutions will be successful after six months.  To make resolutions that will actually stick (and improve your health and well-being), I’ve included 10 ideas for resolutions you can actually keep.

  1. Small changes = big results. Consider two simple diet substitutions—like a side salad instead of fries and dessert once a week—rather than a complete overhaul of your lifestyle. Simple changes can add up to big health and weight-loss payoffs and are more likely to stick, compared to resolutions that are too restrictive.
  2. Commit. You’ll be more likely to succeed if you write your goal down and put it where it’s visible. You'll see and read it most days, and sharing your resolution with family and friends adds additional incentive to improve your chances of success.
  3. Limit liquid calories. Since beverages are less filling or satiating than food, limiting your liquid calorie count to 150 a day is one of the easiest ways to cut calories without increasing hunger. Aim for nutritional beverages like antioxidant-rich tea and 100% fruit juice.
  4. Break the fast. Enjoy a daily breakfast of whole-grain cereal to improve your diet, reduce caloric intake, and help with weight loss.
  5. Snack smarter. Choose fruits and veggies as snacks for a big weight-loss payoff. Since snacks currently account for one-quarter of your total calories, produce will help slash between-meal empty calories by filling you up with fiber.
  6. Make a list, check it twice. Make a grocery list for each shopping trip and stick to it to limit impulse purchases that may occur on the snack food aisle. And when you are in the grocery store, stick to the peripheral of the store, where you'll find fresh produce, lean protein, and whole grains.

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  8. Find your inner chef. Eating out less and trying to cook at home will slash calories and fat from your diet.
  9. Write off pounds. Those who track what they eat and how much they exercise lose more weight than those who don’t. Take advantage of online food and exercise logs—sign up for a program and begin documenting what you eat and how much you move. Two of my favorites are, which is iPhone compatible, and
  10. Find fitness that fits. Fitness resolutions are among the most likely to fail because they are too rigid and essentially impossible to achieve. Making fitness a part of your daily schedule will aid in your success. Do an activity that you love or try to sign up for fitness events—like 10Ks, marathons, or charity walks.
  11. Have a fall-off-the-wagon plan. Have a strategy for when/if you cheat or break your resolution so that you can get back on track without derailing all of your efforts. Think progress, not perfection.