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The One New Year’s Eve Resolution You Should Not Make

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Yup, it’s that time again. The New Year. A clean slate. The perfect, perfect time to set big goals for yourself, especially when it comes to weight loss.

Everyone’s doing it, right? Joining a fitness class, throwing out the stale holiday cookies, stepping on the scale with a heavy heart (and hiney?), and deciding THIS IS THE YEAR THAT THEY WILL LOSE THE WEIGHT. (Sorry for yelling.)

But I’m going to tell you something shocking: You should NOT resolve to lose weight.

I know! It’s a bit of a surprise. However, hear me out. You’ve probably resolved to lose weight before, am I right? Maybe every year since the dawn of the new millennium? Maybe every single Monday since you were 13? If it hasn’t worked yet, there’s no evidence to suggest this year will be different, so how about trying a new angle?

One of the reasons so many people fail to stick to their NYE resolutions to drop pounds is because the way they go about it is way, way too extreme.

Resolving to work out for an hour six days a week, especially if you’ve been pretty much sedentary, is probably not going to work. Resolving to move your body in a way that’s fun for you (walking, dancing, playing basketball, swimming) for at least 30 minutes a week for the month of January has a much better chance of working. Move it up to 60 minutes a week for February and keep on going until you hit 150  minutes of moderate exercise per week, as recommended by The American Diabetes Association.

Resolving to cut out all sugar, fat, and salt from your diet for the rest of your life is going to result in you falling off the healthy-eating wagon in about four days. Or four minutes, if you’re anything like me. A smaller, more moderate goal, say eating at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day, is going to be able to stand the test of time (and the office birthday cake). Other ideas for improving your diet include giving up sugary beverages (soda, sweet tea, juice), switching over to whole grains, or trying one new healthy recipe per week. Just make one improvement at a time, and you’ll be good to go.

The idea with all of these smaller resolutions is that if they’re manageable then they’re easier for you to achieve and stick with, and that means you’ll see yourself accomplishing what you set out to do, so you’ll be more motivated to continue making changes.

A resolution that I can absolutely get behind is “I resolve to do my best to make healthy changes this year.” Remember, weight loss may be your ultimate goal, but making it your sole resolution without a plan that includes manageable steps is a recipe for failure. Use the excitement and momentum you feel at this time of year to lay out a plan for the whole year, not just the first 3 weeks in January.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.