Health Advocate Blog

Struggling with your resolution?

Try a new approach!

In January, new year’s resolutions are all the craze. The produce section of the grocery store has run out of salad, and the gyms and fitness classes are more crowded than usual.

And then, two or three weeks later, there’s plenty of lettuce in stock, and you can hop on your favorite treadmill again.

The thing with new year’s resolutions is this: They’re always started with good intentions, but they’re often too hard for people to live up to. Perhaps the resolution is too restrictive or time-consuming. Perhaps it wasn’t realistic in the first place.

If you’re struggling with your new year’s resolution, try not to feel bad about it! Instead of giving up completely, consider turning to a different approach—one that will allow you to achieve some of what you want to achieve, but in a reasonable, realistic way. Read on for some different approaches to common resolutions.

If your resolution was eating healthy all the time, consider these alternate approaches:

  • Eat healthy 80 percent of the time and less healthy 20 percent of the time. Give yourself a little room to have treats in moderation—that way, eating healthy doesn’t feel too restrictive.
  • Aim to eat five servings of fruits and veggies per day. You don’t have to just eat salad! Have frozen or canned veggies as a side dish with dinner. Have no-sugar-added applesauce or fruit juice as a snack. Try a sneaky substitution.
  • Or, is five servings too much right now? Focus on including just one additional fruit or veggie serving per day. Then when you get good at it, increase it to two a day, and so on!

If your resolution was working out every day, try these approaches instead:

  • Start your workout routine slowly! Going from working out zero days a week to seven days right away is generally too lofty of a goal. Start out aiming to work out two days a week. Succeed at that for a few weeks, and then increase it to 3 days a week—so on and so forth.
  • Instead of focusing on exercising, aim to add more movement into your day. That could be setting reminders to take a quick stretch or walk break each hour you’re working, take an after-dinner walk, or catch up on household chores (like laundry or cleaning out the fridge) that require walking and movement.
  • Find activities you truly enjoy doing. If you’re forcing yourself to go to the gym and you don’t really love it, consider other activities! Try an online fitness class. Buy a yoga DVD. Head to a park on the weekend and play a game of basketball with your kids. Go for a walk at lunchtime. Take a dance class. If you’re doing something you love, it’ll feel less like exercise and more like fun!

If your resolution was to meditate every day, try these ideas:

  • Going from never meditating to meditating every day might be too challenging—and that’s okay! Consider setting a goal to try meditation every other day to start.
  • Or, are you trying to meditate for too long, and getting frustrated because you can’t keep up? Ease yourself into it. Start with a 3-minute or 5-minute meditation. Get comfortable with those shorter lengths, and then increase the time when you feel more ready.
  • Maybe you discover that meditation isn’t really your thing. That’s fine—there are other ways to de-stress! Instead of meditating, try doing deep breathing exercises instead.

A few other helpful approaches:

How to track your progress

It’s fun to track your progress and truly see your success! Here are a few easy ways you can do this:

  • For fitness goals, use a fitness tracking device
  • Use a habit-tracking app to mark your progress on any types of goals or habits
  • Use a paper calendar—mark every day you worked on a goal. You can even use the same calendar for multiple goals—just use different colors to signify each different goal.

We wish you luck achieving your healthy goals! Remember, progress—even if it’s made in smaller steps than you originally anticipated—is still progress, and keeps you moving in the right direction.