Updated: Feb 24
80% of people give up on their New Year's resolutions, according to U.S. News & World Report, and most throw in the towel by March. But you are stronger than this statistic.
If your New Year's resolution is to get healthier then you're in good company! According to a poll by YouGov, the most common resolutions are exercising more, losing weight, and eating healthier. If this describes you, it's important to know how to proceed in order to be succesful, achieve your goals, and not fall victim to a quick-fix health gimmick.
1. Research the research
Don't trust everything you hear. Be skeptical and do your research to determine who the parties are that are making certain claims. For example, when Kellogg's advertises a heart-healthy new cereal, don't buy into it because they say so. Check out the ingredients, research them, and determine who's making such claims. Was it just clever marketers or researchers funded by Kellogg's?
2. Apply common sense
In the same vein as researching the research, don't buy into quick fixes or gimmicks. If something "healthy" is pasteurized, processed, has complicated looking ingredients with a health claim stamped on the front of it, it's most likely not healthy. Make sure you check it out in the Environmental Working Group database, an unbiased third-party website that ranks all types of products and foods based on the analysis of the ingredients.
3. Trial and error
Sometimes we want to do something healthy and make a change based on what someone else has done. Keep in mind, if something doesn't work for you- don't lose hope. Just tweak it until it does work for you. We all have unique genetics, predispositions, and lifestyles, so you can't always rely on a one-size-fits-all plan. The important thing is to remember practicing trial and error. Be patient and persistent with yourself. Gradual progression towards your goals is better than no progression at all. We tend to have an all-or-nothing mentality, but it takes your body and mind time to adjust.
4. Practice positivity
Ever heard of positive affirmations? Whether you write things down in a journal, on your bathroom mirror, or say them aloud to yourself, positive self-affirmations have been shown to increase key activity in parts of the brain associated with behavior change. Don't be shy about calling yourself beautiful- you deserve it!
Best wishes for a healthy and happy new year!
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1. Cascio, C. N., O'Donnell, M. B., Tinney, F. J., Lieberman, M. D., Taylor, S. E., Strecher, V. J., & Falk, E. B. (2016). Self-affirmation activates brain systems associated with self-related processing and reward and is reinforced by future orientation. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 11(4), 621–629. doi:10.1093/scan/nsv136