3 Unrealistic New Year's Resolutions & 6 Realistic Alternatives
I don’t believe in making strict New Year’s Resolutions that will likely be abandoned. The main problem I see is that people use the word “never.” It’s unrealistic to resolve to “never eat added sugar,” for example.
However, I am all for working on developing healthier habits. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I became a dietitian!
Let’s look at 3 resolutions you’re likely to break and 6 better resolutions to consider:
Unrealistic: I will never order takeout or delivery.
Alternative 1: I will try 1 new recipe a week (or a month, whichever is more realistic for you).
If you are used to eating takeout or delivery, it’s unrealistic to start preparing everything from scratch. Instead, work on introducing home-cooked meals.
Alternative 2: I will meal prep 1 day a week (or month).
This is a good choice for people who already cook a few days a week but rely on takeout or delivery for busy days. Prepare meals a few days in advance and store in a fridge or freezer until needed. If you’re only meal prepping once a month, look for casseroles or other meals that freeze well.
Unrealistic: I will eat 3 servings of vegetables daily.
Alternative 1: I will add vegetables to breakfast at least 1 day a week.
Most people find it hard to get a serving of vegetables at breakfast. Start by adding it once a week. Consider vegetable omelets, carrot muffins, zucchini bread, green smoothies, or leftovers. Some people also like using cauliflower rice instead of oatmeal.
Alternative 2: I will try 1 new vegetable a month.
Whether you don’t eat vegetables or you just fall into a rut of eating the same ones, trying new vegetables is a good idea. Look for different varieties of produce you already enjoy, like purple carrots instead of orange ones. Consider visiting ethnic markets, like Indian grocers, to find produce from other countries.
Unrealistic: I won’t binge eat.
Alternative 1: I will attend counseling twice a month.
It’s hard to stop binge-eating cold turkey. Attending counseling can help. Look for counselors who specialize in binge eating or disordered eating at EDReferral and Psychology Today. There also support groups, like Addictive Eaters Anonymous, a 12-step program. Many counselors and support groups are currently online, which can be more convenient than in-person sessions.
Alternative 2: I will keep a food & mood diary at least 1 day a week.
I’m not talking about calorie counting, like a lot of food diary apps offer. Instead, I recommend writing down your emotions, thoughts, stress level, and/or events that led you to binge. For example, you might binge eat after fighting with your partner. Keeping a food & mood diary can help you become aware of thoughts, feelings, and situations that trigger binge eating. Once you are aware of why you binge, you can find alternate coping strategies when these triggers arise. This may be helpful to do in addition to counseling, so your counselor can help you work through those thoughts and feelings.
While this is not a complete list of all unrealistic resolutions, I hope it helps you get ideas for manageable New Year's Resolutions.
What are your New Year's Resolutions?