For lots of us New Year’s Day means football. For lots of us it also means New Year’s resolutions.
A resolution is a firm decision, a commitment, to do or not do something – often having to do with habits or lifestyle changes. Forty-four percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions.
One main category of resolutions falls under “I’m going to improve my health” usually by losing weight, exercising more, eating better, and drinking less. I’m wholeheartedly in support of any resolution about any of these things and almost always find myself squarely in the eye of this storm.
Recent research showed that 52% of participants in a resolution study were confident of succeeding with their goals, however, only 12% actually achieved
them. Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they set small measurable goals (lose a pound a week, instead of just saying “lose weight”). Women were 10% more successful when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.
Gretchen Rubin author of The Happiness Project, offers several tips to help plan for your resolutions. For more tips click on this link, http://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2009/12/five-tips-for-planning-effective-new-years-resolutions.html
- What will make you happier? This might mean having more of something – or less. It also might mean fixing something that’s not right. Think hard about what you really want or don’t want – not what you think you should want or not want. For instance, do you really want to lose weight or do you think you should because most of your friends wear a smaller size than you do?
- What is a specific thing you can do that will bring about the change that you really want? We all frequently make abstract resolutions — which are hard to keep. Resolving to put mustard rather than mayo on your sandwich every day is more specific and directed than resolving to eat less fat – and something you are far more likely to accomplish.
- Are you starting small enough? So many of us are guilty of all-or-nothing thinking and overly ambitious goals. Guess what happens? We shoot ourselves in our collective feet and call ourselves failures. Do it often enough and we solidly embed a “no can do” attitude and habit in our brains. The key is to start with very small and accomplishable goals – like putting mustard on your sandwich instead of mayo. Commit to doing it twice a week, then three, then everyday. Start small and with things that are fairly easy to do and that don’t disrupt your lifestyle. Get some success under your belt. Then move on to bigger challenges.
By the way, one tablespoon of mayonnaise has 100 calories. One tablespoon of yellow mustard has about nine calories. That’s a difference of 91 calories a day. If you replaced mayo with mustard five days a week you would save about 455 calories – enough to lose six and ¾ pounds in a year. Small changes do bring results.