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January.  The time of year many people around the world take stock of their achievements from last year and start setting goals for the year to come.  With the best of intentions, many of these goals tend to be either unachievable, or we end up giving up after a few short weeks when we return to work and life gets in the way. Instead, we’ve listed out our healthier alternatives to new years resolutions! Read on for more!

As a dietitian working full time with clients looking to lose weight and/or get fit, here are my top tips for goal setting:

  1. Be specific. You want to lose weight as a New Years resolution, great!  The first question is how much do you want to lose? Secondly, how long do you think it will realistically take to get there?
    “I want to lose weight this year” is a very different statement to “I want to lose 10kg over the next 2 months”.
  2. Now that you have a specific goal, what will some of the changes you will need to make to reach it?
    For example, if you want to lose 10kg over the next 2 months, what will you need to change when it comes to your food?  What about exercise? Having a detailed action plan in place means you will be much more likely to reach that goal.
  3. What is the cost of your goal? If you want to lose weight, what else do you need to give up, change or sacrifice to get there?
    Depending on your current lifestyle, you may need to limit the amount of times in a week you eat out or spend more time in the kitchen preparing your own meals.  It might mean you can no longer drink alcoholic beverages every single night of the week or that you need to prioritise sleep by going to bed earlier.  The benefit of achieving your goal needs to outweigh the cost of getting there.

Instead of setting an end goal, a more achievable process might be focusing on positive lifestyle changes and habits to improve your overall health and well being. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the 20kg you want to lose this year, some simple changes you could be putting in place might include one or more of the following:

  • Keep a drink bottle with you at all times to help increase your fluid intake
  • Prioritise 7-8 hours of restful sleep every single night
  • Limit alcoholic beverages to no more than 1-2 standard drinks per night with at least 2 alcohol free nights each week
  • Include at least 1-2 cups of veggies or salad in both your lunch and dinner meals
  • Try a new food you haven’t had before (e.g. turkey mince, quinoa, a different spice blend). Variety always makes things better!
  • Include something active in your day, everyday. This could be as simple as counting your steps and progressively increasing these over time.  It might also be a swim or surf if you live near the water or a yoga session outdoors if you prefer that over gym sessions.

The list of possibilities is endless.  Above all, don’t feel like you have to do this on your own.

If you are wanting to work on your health this year or to hear about more of our healthier alternatives to new years resolutions, speak to one of our Accredited Practising Dietitians here at Fuel Your Life who will be able to help keep you accountable to your goals.