Rock Your New Year’s Resolutions

by karen on December 14, 2018

You either love them or hate them, but it’s approaching that time of year when we start thinking of New Year’s Resolutions. Some of us will set them only because everyone else is doing it, or because somehow, something will be lacking in January if we haven’t made resolutions.

Unfortunately, less than 10% of resolution-setters will still be working on their goals come March. This failure is largely the result of being unrealistic regarding the number of resolutions that can be taken on, the time it takes to achieve them, and the effort needed along the way.

New Year’s Resolutions involve a change in behavior, something which is not an overnight task.  According to many experts, it takes 21 days to make a new habit and 66 days to break an old one. In my experience with both myself and my clients, I feel it takes at least the 66 days to be on a new path of achieving our resolution.

The top resolution year-after-year is “get in shape,” followed by have more sex, do more traveling, read more books, and develop a new skill or hobby. No matter what our goals are for this upcoming year, we need realistic expectations and a specific plan to find success.

First and foremost, make your resolutions SMART:

look below for our printable PDF version

S – Specific. Specific goals promote action and give direction.

M – Measurable. This makes progress tangible and trackable.

A – Aligned. An aligned goal is one that follows your overall plan for your health and wellbeing.

R – Realistic. Ensure the goal is attainable otherwise failure is almost certain.

T – Timely. A time frame for accomplishing the goal keeps the plan working and shows where adjustment may be appropriate.

Remember the basics of good nutrition for weight/health-related goals:

  • No fad diets
  • Minimal emotional eating
  • Plant-based meals
  • Moderate portions
  • Limit of high fat and high sugar foods
  • Mindful eating with minimal disruptions
  • Daily supplementation with multivitamin/multimineral
  • 8 – 10 cups fluid daily
  • Exercise most days


Focus on one resolution at a time. Start with one specific goal that’s important to you and develop a detailed plan of action for success.

Keep things in perspective. Break things down into small steps that can be managed. Maintain a positive attitude.

Make sure the goal has meaning. Your goal should be something you personally want to achieve, not just something your doctor, society, or a family member says is good for you.

Avoid perfectionist thinking. There is only room for failure if we must be perfect.

Take action. Action precedes motivation, not the other way around, so start now with a small step, and it will build inspiration to continue.

Put your resolution(s) to record. You’ll find it easier to continue with your plan when it’s written out.

Hold yourself accountable. Otherwise, you’ll let go of the goal when the going gets tough.  Involve a support person to monitor your progress, offer support, and help hold you accountable.

Be persistent. No goal will happen unless you keep at it. Consistency can be the hardest of these rules, particularly if results are not immediately seen. New Year’s resolutions involve developing new habits, which take that 21 to 66 days, so be patient and persevere.

Maintain support. Keep support coming from healthcare professionals, meetings, friends, and family. These avenues help with accountability and are tools for learning, sharing, and camaraderie.

View setbacks as opportunity for growth. Missteps can be good learning opportunities.  Look at what can be changed to prevent the setback from recurring.

Give rewards. Acknowledge behavior change and work toward new habits.  Anything other than food that has value to you can be used for incentive and reinforcement in the form of a reward.

This year, you won’t need luck to achieve your 2019 New Year’s Resolutions.  You have a realistic plan of action that will ensure your success.

Nutrition Connection’s SMART Goals Model
Printable PDF here ↑

Karen Fisher, MS, RDN, CDE is a dietitian in Reno, Nevada, happily promoting the benefits of healthy foods at her nutrition consulting firm, Nutrition Connection. Find her website at

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