How to Jumpstart Your Resolution Goals with Small Changes

When it comes to setting healthier habits, there’s nothing like a fresh start. The beginning of a new cycle is inspiring, and it can fill us with the energy to commit to our New Year’s resolutions.  

If you’re like most people, you probably vowed to eat better and exercise more, and there are great goals to have! If you make the decision to shape up, then you’re saying that taking better care of yourself matters a lot. If it weren’t important, you wouldn’t keep working at it.

However, if you set unachievable goals for yourself you may be at risk of feeling discouraged. When goals are set the right way, mind and body will work together to help you achieve the things you want.

Here are some ideas to help you jumpstart this year’s resolutions:

Start with Small Changes

If you’re planning to add just an extra mile to your daily run or to eat at home one of the three main meals, then that’s a good start. Chipping bad habits away doesn’t happen overnight, so even small improvements are meaningful.

The little changes in the way you do things every single day can really add up. And, you can continue to build on these small successes throughout the year.

Don’t Do Too Much at Once

It’s great to be ambitious, but if you try to tackle too many changes at once, you could be setting yourself up for defeat. Making resolutions is the easy part – making them stick is what’s hard because you have to do things differently.

It takes time to undo a bad habit, which is why repetition is so important. But it’s a lot easier to repeat a small, relatively easy task than one that seems positively Herculean.

Identify the Obstacles

In order to achieve your goals, you have to figure out what’s getting in the way of your progress. Find out why you’re not doing what you plan to do, and how you can make it easier. It’s easy to say you’re going to eat more fruits and vegetables, but it’s hard to do if you don’t have any at home.

Make it easy for yourself and go further. Once you’ve got them in the house, you have to make it easier for yourself to eat them. So maybe you make sure to keep a stash of fruit in the freezer to add to protein shakes.

Try keeping a bowl of fruit on your kitchen counter to remind you that fruit makes a great snack. Or, keep some cut up veggies handy in the refrigerator where you’ll see them every time you look for something to munch on.

Focus on the Big Picture

Just because the changes are small, doesn’t mean they don’t add up. If that twice-weekly homemade lunch has 300 fewer calories than your usual lunch from a restaurant, that’s a savings of over 31,000 calories in a year, which could translate into a loss of 9 pounds.

If you grab a piece of fruit instead of a bowl of ice cream every night after dinner, you’ll drop another 10 pounds by next January, just from that one small change.

Here are a few examples where small changes can make a big impact over time:

  1. Choosing better ingredients when grocery shopping
  2. Adjusting recipes for healthier meals
  3. Learning better portion control
  4. Cutting calories when dining out

Read on and jumpstart your resolution goals today.

Susan Bowerman, M.S., RD, CSSD, CSOWM, FAND –Sr.Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training

Susan BowermanM.S., R.D., CSSD, CSOWM, FAND – Sr. Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training

Susan Bowerman earned a B.S. in biology with distinction from the University of Colorado, and received her M.S. in food science and nutrition from Colorado State University. She is a registered dietitian, holds two board certifications from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as a certified specialist in sports dietetics, and a certified specialist in obesity and weight management, and is a Fellow of the Academy.