It’s that time of the year again when we start contemplating our hopes and aspirations for the year ahead. January is undoubtedly the most popular time for dieting as it brings an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start a new journey of weight loss.
This sense of a fresh start also provides a source of motivation. The temptation when highly motivated is to make sweeping changes to your diet. Resolutions like “I’m never going to touch chocolate again” or “No more sugar, ever” are very common. Motivation and will power is what drives this desire for wholesale change.
So do resolutions work?
For change to occur it first requires a trigger, and then motivation to follow through. A New Year provides both of these. Therefore it’s a wonderful opportunity to make meaningful changes to your life and health. But it’s important to set the right type of goals that are realistic.
However strongly motivated you feel on New Years day will at some point fade. This is inevitable. Therefore it’s important that the goals you set for yourself are both achievable and forgiving. Resolutions like “I’m cutting our carbs for good” may sound appealing to begin with, but they don’t allow for the occasional slip up. This is why the majority of resolutions are thrown out within a week or two.
Instead of setting strict and overly restrictive goals this New Year, why not try implementing just a few more achievable lifestyle changes. The sum of a few small changes over time adds up to a big effect longterm. And don’t forget it doesn’t always have to be about restriction. Adding healthy food into your diet is just as important (if not more) as removing unhealthy food.
An example of a good resolution is to set your alarm 10 minutes earlier to ensure enough time in the morning for a wholesome and enjoyable breakfast. This might also allow enough time for a brisk walk around the block! Another great resolution (something I have done in the past) is to experiment with a new vegetable every week, something you haven’t tried before. There are heaps of cool veggies out there that are not part of our mainstream diets e.g. Kale, bamboo shoots, bok choy, water chestnuts etc. By doing this you are providing your body with a new profile of vitamins and minerals.
When setting your New Years resolutions for 2014 remember the phrase addition not restriction. Not only will this provide more nourishment to your body, but it’s far more likely to become habit. I have found that the best way to remove unhealthy food from your diet is to first become addicted to good nutritious food. Try it for yourself. Oh, and always allow for the occasional treat!