Creating New Habits

Hand holding a sparkler

Resolutions or not, the new year can spark a desire to make some changes, particularly in the areas of weight, exercise, and eating habits.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers advice for making sustainable behavior changes that may be helpful.

Whether you’re goal is to lose weight, be more organized, or learn a new skill, give these steps from the experts a try. 

STEP 1: Identify the concerning behaviors. Identify your individual behaviors that are in need of improvement. Here are some health-oriented examples:

  • Eating too large of portions
  • Skipping meals
  • Lack of physical activity

STEP 2: Make changes in some of your identified behaviors. This does not have to be all or none. Small, do-able changes are more likely to encourage new habits replacing old ones. We advise making realistic and specific goals to keep you accountable. Some examples:

  • I will limit to one plate of food for dinner meal.
  • I will eat breakfast every day before I leave for work.
  • I will walk for 30 minutes at lunch, 3 days each week.

STEP 3: Keep track. Studies show that people who self-monitor their behaviors by tracking intake, exercise, and weighing regularly are more successful at achieving their weight loss or health oriented goals. Any medium will work: an app on your phone, a calendar on the fridge, or a pen and paper journal.

STEP 4. Put it all together. Be accountable to yourself by taking a few minutes weekly to reflect on your progress and make new goals if needed. This is a great time to figure out what is working and what might need adjusting.