"I'll never have a cup of coffee again!"
"Tomorrow -- I'm getting a trainer."
"This is the last dessert I'll ever have in my life!"
The promises we make ourselves in the very early hours of the new year are not usually based on reality. More often than not they're based on bubbly, or just the infectious excitement of a chance to start anew. The problem with astronomical goals isn't just that they obviously are impossible to meet, but when you can't meet them it brings you down and you end up just scrapping the whole plan. This year, break the cycle and go for a new kind of goal -- one you can actually reach.
These are five very reachable targets that will fast track you right to keeping your new year's resolutions. I'm sure that everyone can pick one of these goals to reach really quickly and once you've conquered one, you'll feel so good you'll ride that high right to meeting the next one... and the next.
Water, Water Everywhere
Gulping down the water is super, super important. You want to get in about three liters a day with a liter by lunch -- and you want still water, only lemon if you need a little extra something. Most of the food we eat daily can be so salty, so water is a great flush for your system. And yes, this sounds like the most quintessential dietitian thing to say -- but it helps you determine if you're hungry or just thirsty. It really does!
Exercise can be one of the hardest parts of changing your routine, but it becomes even more difficult when you psych yourself out! Adding a little bit more movement in to your day doesn't have to be as unattainable as it seems. If you take the subway to work, try getting off one stop earlier and troop it the rest of the way. And if you drive, try parking in a farther parking lot. Invest in a cheap pedometer and you'll be surprised how much these little changes add up. And remember, even twenty minutes a day on the treadmill is something.
Mindless Munching Be Gone
Get a handle on your snacking! Ask yourself if snacking throughout the day is really helping you eat less at meals: if the answer is no, it's time to skip the snacking. If it does help you to not be ravenous at meal time, you can reach for a calorie controlled afternoon snack. A Kind bar is a good choice or two fiber crackers and a Laughing Cow cheese. After dinner, you have 20 minutes to reach for something sweet (like some fruit or a yogurt you popped in the freezer), so start the clock and then the kitchen's closed. If you can't stop yourself, only go for slices of plain deli turkey (or Tofurkey) or some plain celery. (You'll probably find that these options are so unappealing at that hour that you'll nix the post-dinner nibbling altogether.)
Get Cookin', Good Lookin'
Aim for at least two nights a week where you eat at home. Preparing your own meals gives you the ability to control what goes in to your food so you can satisfy your cravings. Your at home meal doesn't even have to be extravagant -- even a frozen dinner is a good choice. I'm a big, big fan of Amy's Organic, Luvo and Organic Bistro. Ladies, keep the selection to 300 calories and 400 for the gents. Add a freezer bag of veggies on the side and you've got yourself a feast.
Don't pour on extra calories by drinking them! First it's the non-fat latte in the morning, then a chai after lunch, then the wine to unwind... liquid calories add up fast! Try and keep it down to just your morning coffee and go for tea in the afternoon. If you have three glasses of wine at night, make it one. Throughout the day whenever you need to quench your thirst, only grab water -- it'll certainly help you get to your three liters!