I realize it's July, but now may be the perfect time to re-assess your New Year's resolutions. In looking up the most common resolutions, it's not a surprise that most are related to health. "I'm going to start exercising," "I'm going to lose weight," "I'm going to eat healthy," "I'm going to get fit." But these statements are vague when it comes to figuring out how you're going to accomplish your goals. This may be a reason why resolutions fizzle after a few months.
Revisit Your Goals
We're halfway through the year. Though you should continuously revisit goals for yourself, now is a great time if you haven't done so yet. Examine what your goals are--are they specific? If you want to start exercising, don't generalize the goal. State what you're going to do: "I'm going to walk around the block each morning" or "I'm going to run three days a week." Starting with small, obtainable goals may also help ease your way into a new habit. Think of it as a set appointment. Then you may be less likely to blow it off or put it off for later. If your specific goals don't work out, you have the chance to tweak them and start down a different path. Do not give up until you find something you enjoy and will be realistic for your life.
Don't Keep Secrets
In revisiting the expectations you made of yourself for 2012, look at it like a proud lifestyle change, not a brief one-year resolution. This should be something you're incorporating into your life. Start with finding support from family and friends. Don't make it a secret. If people know you're trying to watch your food intake, exercise, or whatever you've chosen to change, they're less likely to sabotage your progress.
Seize the Day
You don't need to use the holidays as an excuse or a reason to change. Today is just as important as any other day, so start now. There's no reason to wait until your diet choices or exercise habits spiral out of control during the holidays to create change. If you're on a healthy path now, you can approach any day--holiday or otherwise--with ease. Get rid of temptation in the house, cook at home more, learn what a normal portion of food looks like, and have snacks on hand for when hunger strikes (generally 150-200 calories for a snack).
Keep in mind, any lifestyle change is a challenge. We're human, so if you have a day without exercise or you had a piece of chocolate cake, don't feel defeated. Realize that now is the time to re-charge and start over. Tomorrow is another day to start back on your goals. Don't wait until January 1.
Jackie Termont, RD is a registered dietitian based in Richmond, VA. Jackie received her bachelor of science in nutrition from Purdue University in West, Lafayette, IN. She completed her dietetic internship at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. During that time she was placed in Beaufort, SC for her assignment. She has experience as a hospital dietitian and taught weekly classes on heart healthy diets. Currently she is working as a renal dietitian in a dialysis center, teaching patients about the kidney/dialysis diet. She loves to bake and cook most nights, and especially on the weekends. Coming up with new recipes and lightening up existing recipes is a hobby. Jackie enjoys helping people with ideas for healthier meals and loves to talk about food. She can be reached via email at at firstname.lastname@example.org.