The Secret to Successful New Year's Resolutions

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Filed Under: General Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

To stick with your weight loss plan, find new recipes filled with healthy foods.It’s no secret that most of us make New Year’s resolutions only to break them a short time later. Here’s a tip you can keep in mind to make this year’s resolutions more successful: Frame your resolutions in the positive.

Research suggests that one of the biggest reasons we can’t stick with our resolutions may be because of the way we frame them.

A study published in the journal Psychological Science concluded that negative words like “not” and “stop” throw off your brain. So if you resolve to “stop smoking,” your brain simply registers “smoking.” Or if you decide to “not eat sweets,” you may crave them even more.

If you’re one of the millions who are determined to lose weight, the key to success is to focus on positive steps you can take to achieve that goal. Here’s how to put that into action:

  • Instead of telling yourself you won’t eat sweets, tell yourself that you can enjoy your favorite fresh fruit for dessert.
  • Rather than thinking about all the foods you can’t eat, make a menu plan for the week filled with meals you can look forward to. In fact, look through a cookbook filled with healthy foods, and enjoy envisioning the meals you’ll make in the New Year.
  • When you’re in the grocery store, don’t think about all the foods you shouldn’t buy. Instead, challenge yourself to find three new healthy foods you’ve never tried—and enjoy a dining adventure.
  • Rather than telling yourself that you must exercise, and feeling like it’s a punishment, reward yourself by trying a fun new class, such as yoga, Zumba, or water aerobics.

Continue with these healthy habits for a while and the negative behaviors—like overeating and sitting on the sofa—will naturally fall by the wayside.

Now it’s your turn: Do you have a tip for keeping your New Year’s resolutions?

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