Between the twinkling lights of the holidays and the grey, coldness of January, after far too many indulgent meals and glasses of wine – it’s time to look at making healthy New Year’s resolutions again.
What is a New Year’s Resolution?
A New Year’s resolution is a decision to do or not do something to accomplish a personal goal or break a habit. It comes at a time when people look back at the past year and think about how they might improve a few things in their lives, as the new year begins.
We know that resolutions were already recorded by the Babylonians over four thousand years ago and that they believed that whatever a person did on the first day of the year had significant effects on their lives all year long.
Why Do We Make New Year’s Resolutions?
So why then do we continue to make resolutions year after year even though less than half of us actually follow through on them? For some, it is a matter of tradition. Another reason is the allure of starting from scratch. The beginning of the year offers a fresh start and a clean slate. The idea of bettering ourselves is another inspiration. Most of us have a natural tendency toward self-improvement, and setting the first day of the year as a starting point, provides us with a goal date to prepare for the plans we intend to implement and to get ourselves psyched up.
New Year’s Resolution Statistics
The problem is that while making a New Year’s resolution is a great way to make a positive change in your life, statistics show that it’s very rare you’ll keep your resolutions for the whole. In fact, the figure shows that approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February.
But while the odds may be against you – stay positive.
In the past 10 years, experts have learned a lot about how we make and break habits, and nine times out of ten we go about it the wrong way.
Healthy New Year’s Resolutions
Resolutions get made year after year – yet are often quickly forgotten or just plain unachievable without support, especially if you suffer from hormonal imbalance. Let’s look at some common resolutions to get healthier. These are something we all seem to set and deal with –- differently.
1. Lose Weight
As a health practitioner, I can say flat out, diets don’t work. For many people, unfortunately, this is very true. For the most part, diets work for a short time and then we get tired of following the strict plans and go back to eating pretty much what we did before. And for as much weight as you may lose on a diet, sadly diets can make many people regain the weight and more. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine attributes this to the boomerang action of hormones that control appetite and fat metabolism.
If your body-mass index is over 25, you qualify as overweight but the typical promise, “I’m going to lose 20 pounds, so I can get into my bathing suit in June,” is hard to keep. You can watch the scale and focus on cutting calories and moving your body and keep at it, month in and month out. But it is when you achieve a lifestyle balance that you can enjoy weight loss that is sustainable for the rest of your life.
2. Get More Exercise (AKA Join the Gym)
This one always sounds great but be honest with yourself. Do you really think you can stick out an intense workout regimen on the coldest days of winter that easily? You know you are going to let yourself slide into all kinds of excuses – i.e. it’s too cold outside or too dark when you get home or the gym is too crowded.
And by the way, if your hormones are all screwy, no amount of exercise is going to help you lose the weight you’re trying to lose in the gym.
This is because being overweight often has nothing to do with calories or exercise. For a huge number of my patients, the problem is instead about misfiring hormones creating thyroid and insulin imbalances that make it more difficult to drop those extra pounds.
3. Stop Smoking
You can and should stop smoking, sooner, rather than later. But waiting for the perfect day to begin just because you promised yourself you would (often after too many New Year’s Eve toasts) it’s unlikely to happen that easily.
Understand that cigarette smoking raises adrenal hormones such as cortisol (the stress hormone), and androgens (male hormones) such as androstenedione and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Chronically high cortisol levels create unstable blood sugar, which in turn causes high blood glucose and insulin, making weight loss difficult. Smoking also drains the body of so many of the nutrients it needs to achieve ultimate health. Check in on using neurological understanding that leads to exactly why you should quit and how to do it and stay with it into the future.
4. Be More Positive
Learn how to experience deeper fulfillment – no matter what the new year brings and appreciate the joy of simply being. Shift your perspective to all you have to be grateful for. Learn to focus on the present, to let go of comparisons and distractions. Accept the flaws in others and in yourself and practice gratitude.
5. Nurture Yourself
This is the number one thing you should do for yourself in every way. It all starts here when you make this your priority in every aspect of your life. Whether it involves your diet, your lifestyle, relationships, emotional or spiritual well-being, or life in general. If you take a positive outlook on being healthy, everything else will flow positively.
Remember you don’t just want all-or-nothing goals ― which are usually based on unrealistic expectations and leave you struggling to change old habits. Setting overly ambitious and restrictive goals cannot only be discouraging but are one major cause of failure ― like quitting sugar when you haven’t already been making small changes to improve your diet.
How to Stick to Healthy New Year’s Resolutions
Here is a Top 10 List of Tips that can help:
- Get a notepad and start to write down your goals, intentions and action steps to get you there. Read this daily to keep you motivated and on track. Stay accountable for what you have outlined.
- It’s the small, incremental lifestyle changes that are likely to create real changes. Don’t be overly ambitious, start small and be consistent until you reach your goal.
- Focus on one resolution at a time, rather than several and set realistic, specific goals. Losing weight is not a specific goal. Losing 10 pounds in 90 days is. Set the intention and the action steps to get you there.
- Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve to make resolutions. Make it a year-long process, every day.
- Have an accountability buddy, someone close to you to whom you must report or someone who is willing to work on the same goal with you.
- Celebrate your successes between milestones. Don’t wait for the goal to be finally completed.
- Keep your mind on new behaviors and thought patterns. You have to create new neural pathways in your brain to change habits.
- Focus on the present. What’s the one thing you can do today, right now, towards your goal?
- Be mindful. Become physically, emotionally and mentally aware of your inner state so that you can stay balanced as you work your way to your goals.
- Don’t beat yourself up. Minor missteps when working towards your goals are completely normal and OK. Don’t give up completely because you ate a brownie and broke your diet, or skipped the gym for a week because you were busy. Resolve to recover from your mistakes and get back on track.
We all need a little extra help sometimes to get past some of the struggles that come with achieving weight loss goals —- especially with cravings and blood sugar fluctuations that could derail your efforts.
I recommend these in my practice to keep my clients on-track and reduce the stress of trying too hard to get meaningful results:
To promote an optimal balance of the major neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine, which affect many types of cravings, such as those for food and smoking, I highly recommend a supplement called CraveArrest™. This product includes two ingredients, tyrosine, and 5-HTP in an ideal 10:1 ratio for superior anti-craving results, while taurine and the adaptogenic herb Rhodiola are present to promote a healthy stress response.
Another unique formula which provides gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a key neurotransmitter in the body involved in a normal calm stress response is called StressArrest™. In addition, it supplies other calming nutrients including glycine, niacinamide, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6.
New Year’s Resolution Ideas
At a loss for ideas on how to make 2018 a healthier year? Consider some of these ideas…
1. Start a Meditation Practice
Meditating helps to improve your mood, it reduces stress, it lessens anxiety, and it even increases your brain’s grey matter — which is involved in muscle control, sensory perception, decision making, and self-control.
2. Get Involved in a Hobby
Did you know that having a hobby is good for you? Hobbies can lower your stress levels, boost your brain power, improve your ability to focus, and more.
3. Read More Books
Get off your phones and computers and read a great book. As obsolete as it may seem, there is nothing like the feeling you get after reading a special book from cover to cover.
4. Have an Attitude of Gratitude
If you haven’t climbed aboard the gratitude bandwagon yet, this is the year to do it. Studies show that gratitude can make you 25% happier. Being grateful will also help you to overcome adversity, improve the quality of your sleep, and allow you to get along better with others.
5. Stop Procrastinating
Make 2018 the year you stop putting things off and start getting things done. This will help you to ensure that you won’t be sitting there at the end of next year wondering why you never got around to working on your goals.
6. Devote An-Hour-A-Day to Achieve Your Dreams
Stop telling yourself that you simply don’t have the time to work on your dreams. Whatever your dreams are–whether it’s to make more money so you can redecorate your home, learn to play an instrument, have a positive impact on the world, and whatever else is on your mind — by the end of the year, that’s 365 hours you have thought about your dream and perhaps can make it come true!
7. Spend More Time in Nature
We were not made to be cooped up inside all day on computers. Spending time in nature can help you feel happier, boosts your immune system, and it can even make you more creative. Remember – just opening the windows doesn’t count.
8. Enjoy the Little Things
Living life to the fullest includes learning to appreciate simple pleasures like going outside at night to gaze at the stars, walking barefoot in the grass or taking some time to daydream.
9. Be Kinder to Yourself
You may not be able to control how kind other people are to you, but you can always control how kind you are to yourself. In 2018, set a resolution to believe in yourself, respect yourself, and treat yourself well.
Plan a vacation. Don’t keep working and letting your precious vacation days amass or worse – expire. The world is a beautiful place, and there are so many amazing things to experience. Make this the year you visit a country you’ve always wanted to see.
My New Year Resolution
As this weekend approaches and I say goodbye to 2017, I am getting ready to celebrate the start of a New Year. With this, I am reflecting on all the yearlong activity that has served me well and letting go of things that no longer have a useful space in my life.
Check out my blog titled A Nutritionist’s Healthy New Year’s Resolutions where I share my own personal goals and for intentions for 2018.
What ideas do you have for this brand-new year to make it a better year for yourself?
If you are ready to make resolutions and stick to them, I am here — ready and happy to help you understand the connection between your mind and body, and offer some strategies on to how to adjust your health goals so that weight loss, exercise, and balanced hormones are attainable – as well as a peaceful, joyful life. Contact me to get started.
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