I was reading my January issue of Shape magazine. January issues of any health/wellness magazines are always dedicated to new beginnings, creating healthy habits, fresh starts, and… the dreaded “R word” – resolutions.
For a select few, making a huge, sweeping resolution at the beginning of the year might be productive. For most of us that is not the case. We end up faltering, throwing our hands up in disgust and reverting back to our old behaviors. I am sure if I looked I could find multiple statistics on the huge percentage of people that fail at their New Year’s resolutions. If I had to guess I would say it is over 75%. (New Year’s resolution #1 for me: research statistics versus making them up.)
I think most of us forget how long 365 days really is. If it were so easy to do something for a year, we would have done it by now and wouldn’t be making the same resolutions every January 1st. We also tend to make resolutions that are so vague (e.g. I want to be healthier this year.) that there is no way to determine if we are succeeding - and measurable success is important. It can be a very powerful motivator.
So I am taking a different tack. I am going for mini, week-long challenges. (If you haven’t heard, “mini” is the new “super-size.” It is all the rage.) Most of the ones I have tried, I have completed. (Yay me!) Some have been so successful that I have continued with them. And to me, THAT is true success. Some I have done just for the week, have finished with a sigh of relief, but still feel a sense of accomplishment that I completed it. Some I didn’t do for a whole week. But the good thing about mini-challenges is that you don’t have to wait until January 1st to start over- just the next week.
So this year, skip the year-long resolution. Set yourself up for success and try a mini-resolution!
Here are some suggestions for week-long nutrition challenges:
- Drink more water.
- Cut out soda.
- See how many times in a week you can have soup and salad for lunch.
- When looking for a snack, grab a piece of fruit.
- Eat dinner off of a smaller plate.
- Try making fruits and vegetables a bigger part of your day by following the MyPlate guidelines and filling ½ of your plate with them.
- Pick a vegetable you have never cooked, google a recipe and give it a shot.
- Eat breakfast everyday (even if it is just grabbing some string cheese or a banana).
- Visit a farmers’ market, ethnic grocery store or natural foods store for a change from the regular grocery store. Talk to the merchants, try new things, buy local.
- Have 1 piece of dark chocolate for dessert in place of pie, cake, ice cream, etc.
- Cook all your meals at home.
- Make one of your meals meatless.
- Read labels of items before you add it to your shopping cart.