Own Up to the Behaviour You Want to Change
In order to change bad habits and replace them with healthier ones, you first need to reflect on your current behaviour. For instance, if you know that you eat more than you should, it can be helpful to both acknowledge that you overeat and, at the same time, allow yourself to be a little “fed up” with your behaviour, too.
Make Resolutions Reasonable
The first step in keeping a resolution is to make sure it’s reasonable in the first place. That’s a lot better than setting unrealistic goals and giving up right out of the starting gate.
Make Your Resolutions Specific
When you put your resolutions into words, make them as specific as you can. It’s great to say that you want to “eat less fat,” but that’s too vague. Instead, you might set a measurable goal to “limit my fat intake to 40 grams a day.”
Prioritise Your Resolutions
If your list of resolutions is fairly long, you might want to prioritise them and tackle a few of the easier ones first. This can help to give you the confidence that you can, in fact, achieve what you’ve set out to do. But if you feel that you’re trying to make too many changes at once, you might need to trim your list a little bit.
Commit to Your Resolutions
Once you’ve decided what your resolutions are, write them down. Putting your challenges and plans in writing will help you commit to them.
Plan to Put Your New Habits in Place
Once you’ve made your commitments, you’ll need to plan for how you can put your new habits into practice. If you’re working on your eating habits, have you cleared all the junk food out of the house? If you’re planning to cook more meals at home, do you have the right foods in your refrigerator, pantry and freezer?
Practice New Habits and Keep Tabs on Yourself
Be patient––it takes a while for new habits to settle in and feel natural and comfortable. Keep track of the “measurable” that you included in your resolutions––such as your kilojoule or fat intake, the number of fruit and vegetable servings you’ve had, or the number of times per week that you packed a healthy lunch instead of eating out.
Learn from your setbacks
Rather than letting setbacks defeat you, try to learn from them. Try to figure out what led you to slip up, and figure out how you can prevent it from happening next time.
Build on and reward your successes
If you’ve made behaviour changes in the past that have stayed with you, maybe you can build on that success by tweaking your resolution a little bit. And don’t forget to reward yourself for your successes and acknowledge your accomplishments.
Build a Support System
Friends, family members and online communities can be tremendous sources of support. So, let those around you know what you intend to achieve. And when you offer support to others who need it, it may help you in your own efforts, too.
Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics