Four out of five people who make New Year’s resolutions will eventually break them, and a third won’t even make it until February, a survey of 15,000 people by time management firm FranklinCovey found. Nearly 40 per cent of those surveyed said they broke their resolutions because they’re too busy, and a third said they simply weren’t committed to their particular goals. However, experts say the real problem is that we make resolutions that are too vague or not achievable, so we quit. If you truly want to make this your best year yet, follow this expert advice on resolutions not to make.
"I'm Going On A Diet"
"When you wake up on January 1 thinking, ‘This is the first day of my new diet,’ you’re setting yourself up to fail,” says Heather Bauer, RD, CDN, and founder of Nu-Train, a New York City-based diet and nutrition counseling center. “Diet means hunger, misery, and abandoning your normal routine.” Instead, pledge to make healthy low-calorie food choices. You’ll see more weight loss and achieve greater fitness if you simply resolve to cut processed and refined foods from most meals, Bauer says.
'I'm Going To The Gym Every Day'
Weight loss is a simple formula: Burn more calories than you eat. But if you’ve never set foot inside a gym, don’t declare that in January you’re going to start working out every day, says fitness expert Scott White, a personal trainer in Scottsdale, Ariz. White advises starting slowly and adding more workouts until you’re exercising for about 30 minutes, five times a week.
'I'm Going To Weigh Myself Every Morning.'
For your New Year’s weight-loss resolution to work, you need to have accountability and chart your progress. However, the slow-to-move scale may not be the answer, says Jennifer Brango, a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach in Phoenixville, Pa. A better way to measure your weight loss: “Get a pair of jeans that you haven’t been able to fit into and use them as your scale," she suggests. "If you’re changing shape and losing weight, you’ll notice those jeans fitting better.”
'I'm Never Going to Eat My Favourite Food Again.'
This New Year’s fitness resolution is doomed for two reasons, says Marjorie Nolan a New York nutritionist and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. One is that you are saying “never,” which is an unreasonable restraint. The other is that you’re depriving yourself of the foods that make you happy. A better weight-loss resolution: “I’m only going to have a small piece of chocolate or a kid-size ice cream cone, once a week or when a strong craving hits.” Remember, if you really want something, it’s best to give into your craving in moderation — depriving yourself of the taste you truly want can often only lead to overeating later.
'I'm Going To Lose Weight, And Exercise More, And Save Money, Etc.'
The problem here is making too many resolutions. You’re more likely to succeed if you make one New Year’s resolution rather than five. And, the more specific your resolution is, the better. It’s harder to achieve your weight loss goals when they’re too vague or too broad, Bauer says. Adds Amanda Sensabaugh, RD, who works with the N.E.W. Program, a weight-loss program in Newport Beach, Calif., “if you want your resolutions to stick, they have to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, balanced, and unrestrictive."
'I'm Going To Lose Weight All By Myself.'
When you resolve to lose weight and exercise more, you don’t have to post it on your Facebook page or tweet about it daily. But you should find some support either through online diet groups or among close friends and family. “Weight loss buddies are great,” Bauer says. Brango agrees, saying that they can provide that extra motivation you may need, cheering you on when you’re feeling stressed at work or frustrated that the pounds aren’t coming off faster. “Your friend can hold you accountable — you’ll get up at 6 a.m. to go to the gym if you know she’s meeting you there," Brango says.
'I'm Going To Stop Eating Out.'
True, weight loss can be harder when you’re ordering from menus rather than cooking for yourself. But Bauer says it’s not impossible to make healthy choices when eating out, even at fast-food restaurants. If you like to eat out and don’t, you’ll feel deprived and you may quickly abandon this New Year’s resolution. You can resolve to eat out less — pack a healthy lunch several days a week, for instance — but still dine at the same places you always have.
'I'm Going To Skip Breakfast.'
Think you can save 300 calories if you skip your scrambled eggs and toast? Big mistake. There’s serious truth behind what’s become a cliché: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, Nolan says. If you don’t eat a healthy breakfast, it can sabotage your weight loss goals. Come noon, you’re starving, and you’ll overeat because you’re so hungry. Better to make a New Year’s resolution to eat smaller meals and healthy snacks throughout the day.
'I'm Going To Find Time To Exercise Every Day.'
On the surface, this seems like an admirable New Year’s resolution. But it’s hard to keep exercise and fitness in mind when you don’t plan for it. Mark gym dates on your calendar, White says, and factor your current lifestyle into the equation. For example, if you’re a snoozaholic, don’t set yourself up for failure by scheduling early morning gym classes you’re bound to sleep through — go after work instead. If you miss one of your scheduled workouts, squeeze in a 30-minute walk — exercise isn’t confined to the gym.
'I'm Going To Follow The Latest Diet.'
The caveman diet. The cookie diet. The grapefruit diet. Every few weeks it seems there’s a new fad diet book hitting the shelves. But weight loss plans that restrict you to any one food group are nearly impossible to sustain, Bauer says. Pledge instead to stick to a well-balanced diet that’s heavy on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains with some lean proteins, low-fat dairy products, and healthy fats, and you’ll find losing weight in the New Year may be easier than you thought.