You Can Be Successful With Your Healthy New Year’s Resolutions. Here Are 15 Strategies To Help!

Lose Ten Pounds, Eat More Fruits and Vegetables, Workout Three Times a Week.  What’s Your New Year’s Resolution?

I had the Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda on this morning and at the end of the show they begn taking questions from the audience.  One of the questions, directed at Hoda, was “What is your New Year’s Resolution?”  Hoda answered, without missing a beat, that it would be the same resolution she’s made for the last ten years:  lose ten pounds and get organized.

I’m guessing that next year at this time Hoda will be resolving to lose ten pounds and get organized.

What was your New Year’s Resolution last year?  Is it the same one this year? I wonder how many resolutions made on January 1 are still in tact on March 1?  Not many I’ll bet.

A New Year’s Resolution is nothing more than a Big Hairy Audacious Goal; a BHAG.  BHAGs are great!  We don’t need to resolve not to make any more resolutions or set BHAGs.  We just need to put a Big Hairy Audacious Strategy in place to reach our Big Hairy Audacious Goal!

Don’t Worry.  It’s Easier Than It Looks

If your goal is to live a healthier lifestyle in 2012, whether that means losing weight, exercising more or eating less junk, I’ve got 15 Strategies for you to try. They will all keep you focused on your health but each in a different way.  Just when you think you can’t continue with the one you’re on, it will be time to move on to the next.

The key is not to try all of them at once and to set a specific timeline for each strategy.  I’ve assigned a timeframe to each one.  You can shorten or lengthen as needed.  If you’re really in love with one, don’t be afraid to start it again. You know; wash, rinse, repeat.

Remember, don’t get in over your head or get in a hurry.  Relax.  You have all year.

Fifteen Strategies For 2012 That Will Improve Your Health and Wellbeing and May Even Get You To Your NYR.

  • Wear a pedometer and set a goal to walk 10,000 steps a day for seven days.
  • Take the No Fast Food Challenge for 10 days.  This means no drive-through, over-the-counter stuff handed to you in a bag, or heat-and-eat from the local grocery.  Get back to having fun in the kitchen again and create meals for you and your family using whole foods.
  • Add one 20-minute strength training workout to your normal exercise routine for six weeks. Purchase a workout DVD or utilize Exercise About.com to put together a workout that uses minimal equipment that you can do at home.
  • Invite a co-worker to take a walk break or invite a staff member to join you for a walking meeting once a week for four weeks.
  • Brown bag it four days a week for three weeks.  Set a goal to fix a nutritious lunch and snack that is ready for you to grab and take out the door with you in the morning.
  • Track your calories for seven days. Keep a food journal using one of the smartphone or iPhone apps or writing down what you eat in a journal and get real about how many calories you’re eating each day. In seven days you’ll know if you’re outside of the calorie range you need to be in to lose those 10 pounds this year.  Fit Click also offers an excellent calorie tracker.
  • Take a stress break twice a week for two weeks.   Find a quiet spot in your home or outdoors and focus on your breathing.  Listen to nature sounds through ear buds or an iPod dock or C.D. and get in touch with yourself and nature.
  • Say good-bye to processed flour for 30 days.  Use whole wheat breads and pasta and brown rice in place of white.  Is 30 days too long?  Try it for 15 days and then re-enlist once you’ve found out how delicious and nourishing whole-wheat bread and pasta and brown rice are.
  • Eating five servings of fruits and vegetables four days a week for three weeks can be fun. A serving may not be nearly as much as you might think. Check out the portion control guide at Web MD to get an idea of how totally achievable this goal can be. Don’t forget to count some of the foods you’re already eating.  Salsa’s main ingredient – for instance – is tomatoes.  (Just watch out for the chips!)
  • Take a waist circumference measurement at the beginning of the year. Set a goal to reduce or maintain your girth and retake the measurement every two months throughout the year.  Track the measurement on a calendar.
  • Buy a new workout video to have on hand when the inevitable snow day comes and it’s just too cold to go to the gym.  If  you put it on the shelf it will be new and fresh when you need an at-home workout to ease your cabin fever.
  • Use a smaller plate and 18 ounce bowl for your main meal.  You can purchase an attractive eight or nine inch plate and a bowl set at the local Wal Mart.  Precise Portions has a deluxe set if you’re really ready to commit. Use those throughout the year and see if it helps with reducing your portions.
  • Track how much water you drink Monday through Friday for 14 days. If you find that on average you’re only drinking one or two glasses, set a goal to increase your water consumption to at least five each day.
  • Sign up for a group fitness class that you haven’t tried before.  Most gyms, YMCAs and recreational centers offer fitness classes that allow you to enroll for one session. Whether it is boot camp, spinning, or Body Pump, do something different for one session to wake up your brain.
  • Volunteer at an organization in your community one time in 2012.  The best way to feel better about our own life is to help someone else.  The Humane Society, local senior center, hospital auxiliary, Boys & Girls Club or YMCA would love to have your help for an afternoon.

Creating a healthier lifestyle isn’t about losing 20 pounds or committing to a workout schedule of an hour and a half a day, five days a week.  It’s about self-care.  It’s about finding time in our day to drink a couple extra glasses of water, inviting a co-worker to go on a 10 minute walk with you, and taking a 20 minute relaxation break once a week.

A few years ago everyone was buzzing about the “Small Changes, Big Results” concept that became mainstream after the book by the same name written by Ellie Krieger was published.  Small changes, big results is about reality.  Finding those things that we can do that will change our lives in an undramatic way, but that over time are sustainable and add up to something really great.

I hope you’ll use the concept of small changes and big results this year when you attack your resolution.  I have no doubt that you’ll have great success.  Happy New Year!