How long do you stick to your New Years resolutions? Sadly, it’s been reported that very few people follow through on resolutions, despite their good intentions.

Whether it is a new years resolution or not, sticking to a new way of eating can be difficult at the best of times. (notice, I did not say diet) Think of your resolution as a behavioral change, as a new way of looking at the way you eat and staying active. (notice I did not say exercise) Sometimes we set our selves up to fail, by giving it a name like diet, that four letter word that has a bad connotation. There is a pattern forming here with even the words we choose. Remember, long term goals and changes take time to implement.

Take an inner look at what is motivating you to change. Is it that your clothes feel to tight, do you have high cholesterol or like many of us in the middle age range – don’t want to give in to aging or perhaps you simply want to feel better. Use this motivation to inspire you through out your journey. Yes, think of it as a journey.

Having a plan I find is always key to success. Write down what exactly it is you want to accomplish. Do you want to eat fewer sweets, give up soda, or loose ten pounds? Be realistic in your plan. Weight loss does not happen over night. Loosing one to two pounds a week is ideal. Planning your meals can be fun and allow you to be a little creative because you are not coming up with last minute meals that usually mean poorer choices.

Making goals helps measure progress. This does not always mean looking at the scale. Seeing the weight loss is great, but not the only key to success. Make goals for example, “ I will walk 15 minutes a day 3 times a week”. It may not sound like a lot but it is a good start and you can increase your goal through out the year.

Another goal may be that you will add a new healthy recipe to your meal plan each week. Try to get excited about meal planning and you will find yourself looking forward the next meal.

Tracking what you eat is not always fun, but in the beginning it will help you keep stick to your goals. It can help you “be honest” in your new way of eating and still have the foods you love. You don’t have to do it forever, just a short time.

Do your research on reliable sources. Fad diets are usually unrealistic and may not be right for you. The Internet offers many resources, but not all of them have accurate information and they don’t know you personally or your medical history.

Include vegetables and fruit in each meal and or snack. The help you feel full faster, have few calories and provide fiber, water and many nutrients.

One of the most important parts of changing the way you eat or incorporating exercise is that no one is perfect. We may “fall off the wagon” one day or part of the day. If you get sidetracked and slip up, don’t give up and throw in the towel. One bad day does not undo all the good ones. Forgive your self and let go of the bad feelings and get back to the positive changes you are making.

 Lastly, remember to set realistic goals, always enjoy your food and make time for your self even if its only 5 minutes a day to go over what successes you had in the day.