By Jen Ong Tone MHSc RD, #HalfYourPlate Registered Dietitian

Did you make a new year’s resolution this year? According to a 2015 Ipsos poll, 73% of Canadians will eventually break their new year’s resolution. As your Half Your Plate dietitian, my goal is to help you create a new year’s resolution you can stick to!

Tip #1 Be realistic with your new year’s resolution.

Between work, school, family obligations, and activities, life gets busy! Is your goal realistic? Consider some barriers that may get in the way, like time, money, and motivation. Start off small and work towards that bigger end goal. For example, instead of saying “I’m going to start going to the gym everyday”, or “I’m going to eat salad for lunch every day,” try “I’m going to take the stairs at work once a week” or “I’m going to eat a salad for lunch once a week.” Small goals will pay off big in the long run.

Tip #2 Be specific with your new year’s resolution.

I often hear people say, “I want to be healthier” or “I want to lose weight.” While the intention is often good, being too general and not having clear direction with your goal, can lead you to nowhere. Instead of saying “I want to be healthier,” focus on a specific behaviour you’re looking to improve, such as your eating habits or physical activity. An example of a specific goal is, “I will fill half my plate with veggies at dinner on Wednesdays.” Being specific with your goal provides clarity and direction, which means you’ll know what to focus on.

Tip #3: Create a new year’s resolution you can measure.

Isn’t it satisfying to check off a box from your to-do list? Give yourself that same satisfaction by creating a new year’s resolution you can measure, with a deadline. For example, “I will try one new vegetable every week this month” has a measurable component (one time per week) and a deadline (end of month). Tracking your progress can be very motivating and can help you stick to your goal.

What can you do once you achieve your new year’s resolution? First and foremost, give yourself a tap on the back! If you’re up for it, create a new goal based on these principles. Soon, you may see that these health behaviours are becoming part of your day-to-day routine. If you don’t achieve your new year’s resolution, don’t fret. This is the perfect time to reflect and evaluate what went wrong. Was your goal realistic? Specific enough? Measurable? Once you know what got in the way, set a new goal and work towards tackling those barriers.

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