Failing to plan is planning to fail, and New Year’s resolutions are no exception, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.
“Three reasons people don’t keep their New Year’s resolutions are that the resolution isn’t realistic, a person expects an unrealistic benefit from the desired resolution or the person wasn’t prepared to make the change,” said Jenna Anding, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension nutrition specialist, College Station.
Anding said the best way to approach successful resolution-making is for people to first list the three behaviors they most want to change, such as eating better, saving money or exercising more.
The next step is to make a plan and come up with a series of smaller, attainable goals to work toward the final goal, Anding said. For example, she said, if the goal is to run a marathon this year but at the current time it’s difficult to run to the end of the block, consider starting with a more realistic goal of walking for 30 minutes a day three to five days a week.
“It’s best to break this into mini-goals, such as committing to eating one more vegetable or fruit each day,” she said. “Other mini-goals might include eating out no more than two times a week, bringing a healthy lunch to work at least three days a week, drinking water instead of soda and eating no more than two fried foods per week.”
Anding said it is important to choose and write down a specific date on which to begin the desired behavior change.
“Pick a date that is important, significant or memorable and put it on your calendar,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be the start of a new year. Once you pick your date, plan out how you will accomplish your goal. In other words, identify and write down the specific actions needed for you to be successful.”
Anding said those who meet their goals should also reward themselves during the journey of achieving their New Year’s resolution.
View more resources for eating better: https://dinnertonight.tamu.edu
Visit Walk Across Texas and take the first step toward a healthier you: https://walkacrosstexas.org/
Through the application of science-based knowledge, AgriLife Extension creates high-quality, relevant continuing education that encourages lasting and effective change.