The start of a new year is often a time when we look towards setting intentions to have a better year and to set goals to improve important aspects of our lives. While we may set these resolutions with much enthusiasm and motivation, this often wanes quickly into the new year. Research shows that most New Year’s resolutions last less than 4 months, with most people losing sight of their goals within 2-3 months.
New research from a new Forbes Health survey from October 2023, found that most people are prioritizing their fitness in 2024. The top 5 resolutions for 2024 included fitness (48%), finances (38%), mental health (36%), weight loss (34%), and following a better diet (32%).
With 66% of people giving up on their goal by May, it’s important to develop effective strategies to ensure you stick to your New Year’s resolutions long-term. From setting realistic goals to finding accountability, below we will provide practical tips and tricks to help you achieve your goals in 2024.
Set Realistic and Achievable Goals
When creating New Year's resolutions, it's important to set goals that are realistic and achievable. Instead of aiming for drastic changes overnight, focus on small steps that are more manageable. For example, if you are looking to eat healthier, start by incorporating more fresh foods into your diet like adding a serving of vegetables to lunch and dinner daily or using Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating 4-day plan to help get you through the workweek. By setting realistic goals you'll be more likely to stick with them in the long run. Need some help with ideas for some healthy resolutions you can stick to? Check out our blog with 3 mini goals that can have a huge impact on overall health.
Additionally, make sure your goals are specific and measurable. Instead of saying, 'I want to eat healthier,' specify what that means to you. It could be eating five servings of fruit and vegetables every day or reducing your intake of processed foods. Having clear goals will help you stay focused and motivated throughout the year.
Create a Concrete Plan of Action
Setting goals is just the first step; you also need to create a concrete plan of action to achieve them. Start by breaking down your goals into smaller tasks or action steps. For example, if your goal is to improve your health by ordering Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating, your action steps could be calling and talking to our Registered Dietitians to help you choose the right plan for your goals, setting up a 5-week order, and making a plan for any obstacles that you anticipate may come up.
Creating a plan with clear direction helps improve your confidence
because you have specific tasks you will prioritize and benchmarks you are
planning for. What do you plan to do for activity and how often? How will you
spend your extra time from not having to grocery shop and meal prep? What will
you drink with your meals and in between? Are you going to order 12 or 21 meals
a week and if doing meals on your own what are your goals with them?
Having accountability greatly increases your chances of sticking to your New Year's resolutions. Find someone who shares similar goals or is also committed to the same resolution. This could be a friend, family member, or coworker. By having someone to share your progress, challenges, and successes with, you'll feel more motivated and supported.
The Forbes survey reveals that only 20% of people said they keep themselves accountable for sticking to their goals. Consider joining a support group or online community focused on healthy eating. These groups can provide additional accountability and a sense of community. You can share tips and experiences with others who are on a similar journey. Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating offers a private Community Facebook page to get support and motivation from other people on the plan and their Registered Dietitians. Together, you can celebrate milestones and overcome obstacles.
Track Your Progress
Regularly tracking your progress is essential for staying motivated and accountable. Keep a journal or use a mobile app to record your meals, exercise routines, and any challenges you face. This will help you identify patterns, track your progress, and make necessary adjustments along the way.
Consider using a tracking app to monitor your habits and keep up with your progress. This will make you more mindful of what and how you are doing and allow you to make healthier choices. You can track your portion sizes, nutrition, physical activity, sleep patterns, and other lifestyle factors that impact your overall health. By tracking your progress, you'll have a clear picture of how far you've come and what areas need improvement.
Forty-nine percent of people who responded to the Forbes survey reported planning on using an app to help stick to their resolutions. If you plan to use a health tracking app, remember our Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating meals are available on MyFitnessPal and FatSecret apps for easy tracking and reliability.
Reward Yourself for Achieving Milestones
Celebrating milestones along your journey is important for maintaining motivation and momentum. When you achieve a small goal or milestone, reward yourself in a healthy and meaningful way. This could be treating yourself to a massage, buying a new workout outfit, or taking a day off to relax. Check out our blog "10 Tips for Rewarding Your Weight Loss" for other ideas.
It's important to note that rewards should align with your resolutions and not sabotage your progress. For example, if your goal is to eat healthier, don't reward yourself with unhealthy food or indulgent treats.
Some steps should be avoided when making your resolutions such as following the latest fads, viewing your goal as a race, and not allowing room for mistakes. When setting your resolutions for the New Year, focus on doing it right by making a lifestyle change based on sound guidance that you can envision sticking to for many years to come. Health is not a resolution; it's a lifestyle.
Remember: be patient, set a plan, forgive yourself, and know you are worth it!!!