We’re all famous for not keeping our New Year’s resolutions. Hardly anyone ever does – which is why there are so many jokes about the matter!
Here’s why we fail: We make unrealistic goals.
Most resolutions are lofty and overwhelming, things like “Lose 20 lbs” or “Get in shape” or “Spend less money.”
Even just typing those phrases stresses me out. These so-called “goals” are the opposite of what resolutions should be: specific, measurable, and attainable.
Let’s make this year different. Let’s prove stereotypes wrong. Let’s actually achieve what we resolve, so we can truly feel healthier and more free.
By setting realistic, specific and measurable goals.
Below are 15 resolution ideas, all related to eating healthier or losing weight, since that’s what many of us resolve to do each January.
15 New Years Resolutions You Can Actually Keep
1. Schedule a time to grocery shop every week. Set aside 3 hours each week to make a list, buy groceries and unload or prep what you’ve bought so your fridge and pantry are stocked with healthy, ready-to-eat foods. Make sure to take inventory in your kitchen before you go.
2. Eat a vegetarian lunch or dinner each day. Leaving meat to only one meal per day is a great way to help increase the vegetables and plant-based proteins in your diet. Whether you’re making food at home or eating out, choose a veggie-heavy meal at least once per day.
3. Make fast food restaurants within 50 miles of your house off-limits. (This tip is borrowed from Nutritionella – love this idea!!). Save fast food for the very occasional road trip, airport or whenever you have no other choices.
4. Take a basic cooking or knife skills class. If you’re a novice cook or used to eating out, making meals at home can be discouraging or take forever. Sign up for a class to help you master the basics, so you can avoid simple mistakes that make cooking more difficult.
5. Switch to plain yogurt. If you eat yogurt regularly, buying plain can greatly reduce your sugar intake, which equals fewer empty calories. Add your own fruit, shredded coconut, or even a little of honey or maple syrup if you like a sweet taste; you’ll still be eating less sugar.
6. Read package labels. Many packaged and prepared foods contain all sorts of buzz words to convince you they are healthy when they’re not. Becoming a label-reader will allow you to steer clear of fake health food and bring home better choices. Remember, the fewer ingredients the better.
7. Switch to whole grain carbs. Start buying whole wheat bread, whole grain cereals, whole wheat tortillas, etc. You’ll increase your fiber intake (which helps keep you satisfied) and will by default avoid many empty calories.
8. Make all sweet treats from scratch. If you have to make cookies, cakes, pies, ice cream and candy from scratch instead of buying them, you probably won’t eat them as often. But you’ll feel assured that they’re not “off limits.”
9. Set a timer for 15 minutes while you’re eating. Most of us wolf down our food, which means we may not recognize when we’re full nor get much pleasure out of meals. Spend at least 15 minutes eating, so you can relax a little and enjoy each bite.
10. Keep a food journal for two weeks. Become aware of your current habits by writing everything down for two full weeks. Then look back and see if there are any habits you could change that wouldn’t make a huge difference in your lifestyle (like leaving cheese off your sandwich, or snacking on veggies instead of chips while making dinner).
11. Make one new recipe each week for three months. Do it on the weekend if weeknights are busy. By the end of three months, you’ll have 12 new recipes under your belt that you can make with frequency.
12. Start eating breakfast. Breakfast starts your metabolism off on the right foot each day, and makes you less likely to make poor choices later in the day. If you’re not hungry when you wake up, you may be eating too much at night. Avoid eating two hours before bedtime and you’ll be more ready for breakfast in the morning.
13. Replace one beverage per day with water. If you drink juice, soda (even diet), sweetened coffee, wine, beer, etc. – swap out one of these drinks per day with water. You’ll likely lose weight slowly, just from this one small change.
14. Eat your vegetables first. Whether you’re at a restaurant or at home, start your meal with a salad, fresh veggie appetizer or veggie side dish. You’ll begin feeling satisfied and then eat less of the heavier stuff.
15. Vow to avoid doing anything extreme. There are no quick fixes out there, and if you find one, it won’t last. Resolve to skip the cleanses, diets, pills, deprivation, etc. and you’ll have a LOT more success, plus find yourself a LOT happier.
If you have other ideas to add to the list, please share!
Images from Someecards.
Christina @ The Beautiful BalanceDecember 29, 2013 at 5:40 pm
I seriously LOLed because I have never heard of wonton tacos..hilarious!
Amelia WinslowDecember 29, 2013 at 9:15 pm
Haha, me neither! I think that was the point – something outrageous and thus indulgent. I loved this.
Megan (The Lyons' Share)January 1, 2014 at 2:10 pm
Love these resolutions! I am a huge believer in making small changes like this that really add up! I consider myself good at some of these (yay!), but I love the idea of keeping track of how many new recipes I’m trying each month. One that I would add is fitting in SOME kind of movement every day – maybe it’s a “true” workout, maybe it’s 5 minutes dancing in your house, maybe it’s a short walk around the block, but just something to stay active. Again, even a small bit of exercise really does add up!
Amelia WinslowJanuary 2, 2014 at 8:01 am
Thanks, Megan! I absolutely agree about some small fitness-focused resolutions too…so key! It’s just not my area of expertise so I kept this list to food-related things 🙂
DanaJanuary 3, 2014 at 9:37 am
These are all such great ideas – printing them out for my fridge!
Mine this year is to make a significant reduction in the amount of processed food we eat. I’m not buying crackers, chips, granola bars, etc. because if I have it in the house, it ends up being my first choice for snacking. If it’s not there, it’s a lot easier to make good choices and snacking on fruits and veggies or whole grain bread with PB instead. I’m being realistic about this, and of course will still indulge in crackers if I’m at wine and cheese night with the ladies, but figured making the change at home would have a big impact. I know if I were to try to eliminate these things completely I’d probably fall off the wagon. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!
Amelia WinslowJanuary 3, 2014 at 10:03 am
Great resolution. I’m not sure I could do it! I do make an effort though to only have one packaged/processed food in the house at a time – like either crackers, granola bars, chips, etc. If there’s only one, the snacking options are limited – for both me and Lucy!
KristinJanuary 6, 2014 at 3:39 pm
I love these – fantastic recommendations (as usual)!
My target for 2014 is to replace canned soups with homemade. I eat soup almost every day for lunch and I want to better control the ingredient quality and veggie:protein ratios. I’m also really tired of the same old two soups that I buy at Costco.
My plan is to make a couple big pots of soup one weekend each month, package them down into single servings & freeze. Still grab & go, but hopefully better than canned. 🙂
Any recommendations for soups that freeze well?
Amelia WinslowJanuary 6, 2014 at 9:06 pm
What a great goal – it’s so reasonable and realistic. I’ve never met a soup that didn’t freeze well – that’s one of the best parts about soup! My only recommendation would be that soups with lots of pasta might get very thick as the soup cools and pasta absorbs liquid. But even so, they’d be fine frozen. Happy cooking and thanks for reading, Kristin 🙂