A New Year, A Healthier You

Many people view the start of a new year as an opportunity to accomplish big goals: losing 20 pounds, running a marathon or working out every day at 5 in the morning. The problem is these goals often fade away. A goal without a plan is just a wish.

National Spokespeople for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourage their clients to keep three ideas in mind when creating New Year’s resolutions: "Create an action plan. Pace yourself. Stay positive."

Create an action plan

Create personal goals based on what actionable steps you can take to meet them. Set an actionable goal of exercising three times a week and eating a piece of fruit after dinner instead of a piece of cake. Decide ahead of time what success looks like to you. Otherwise, how will you know when you've achieved it?

Pinpoint the reasons for your New Year's resolutions. Is your ultimate goal to feel better so you can be more present for your children? If so, it's not the number on the scale, but how you feel after making lifestyle changes. The more mindful your approach, the more likely you are to stick with a healthier lifestyle long-term.

Consider holding off on lifestyle changes until mid-January to avoid stress. Give yourself time to create a regular schedule so you can slowly incorporate healthy lifestyle changes as you go along.

Pace yourself

Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to improving your health. Start with a small change and build from there. You can start with something as simple as eating an extra serving of fruits or vegetables per day.

Focus on creating a lifestyle change instead of resolving to a short-term, quick-fix diet. Fad diets are not sustainable. Instead, focus on healthful foods you can add to your diet instead of foods you want to remove.

Stay positive

Do what makes you happy. There is no sense in adding tofu and kale to your plate in the name of good health if they make your stomach churn. Eat nutritious foods you like and choose physical activities you love. You'll have more success maintaining your healthier lifestyle if you are enjoying yourself.

Don't give up. Every new day is a new opportunity to focus on your goals and appreciate your achievements.

Spend time with people who share your desire to become healthier. Positivity will inspire you to stay on track. The recipe for lifestyle change: a healthy diet, daily physical activity and staying on track with support.