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How to Make a New Year's Resolution You can Keep

Here it is, another New Year. The gyms will be packed with people trying to lose weight. Diet books will fly off the shelf with the promise of a new you. In a few weeks time the gyms will be less crowded and the diet books will be collecting dust. Is there a way to make a resolution that you can keep? The answer is yes and it is easier than you might think.

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Choose a goal based on behaviour not outcome

The first step in making a New Year's resolution you can keep is to make it a behavior based goal, not an outcome based goal. This means rather than resolve to lose 20 lbs, resolve to walk every night after dinner (or something like this). The reason behavior goals work better is that you can control your behavior, but outcomes have a lot of factors which are out of your control involved. It can also be easier to stay motivated when you have completed a couple weeks of a new behaviour than it is when weight is (very) slowly dropping off.

Establish a new habit, but keep it realistic

Next pick a habit that is relatively easy to do. If you haven't been exercising at all resolving to go to the gym every day is probably not going to work. Resolving to a do a 10 minute workout at home might be more realistic. If you currently eat lunch out every day at a fast food place, resolve to choose a healthier restaurant or bring lunch from home. Stick with the new habit for a couple of weeks before you try to make it harder or try something new.

Choose a positive and specific goal

I like goals that are positive. Instead of resolving to stop drinking soda, resolve to drink more water. You'll be surprised how you forget to drink as much soda. Make it even more specific by resolving to take a full water bottle with you everywhere you go. That way you won't be tempted to stop for a sugary drink. Another way to make it a positive goal is to resolve to eat an extra serving of vegetables every day. Maybe add a green smoothie, a salad at lunch, or some bell peppers to snack on.

Make sure you have support

Social support is one of the most important factors is making healthy habits stick. You might be able to get support from your spouse, a friend or your family. If you want to start exercising, find a friend who you can exercise with or join an exercise class. If you want to start eating better, talk to your family about how you want to start making healthier meals for everyone.

Making healthy changes can be challenging. Some times it is hard to know where to start. Try the 5 Day Healthy Habit Challenge to find some easy changes you can start making today.

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