12 Little Goals

I’m still thinking about New Year’s resolutions.

The idea in my last post was to approach resolutions like you would a pyramid: start with the basics and build. Instead of making large and broad resolutions, make 12 little changes to your lifestyle. Basically, you can try one new approach per month and then keep adding on to your project for tho entire  year.

And the best part is that it’s not too late for this month!

So, what would you like to do to make your eating pattern a little more healthful? Remember, these small goals don’t always need to be taking something away or stopping doing something; they could be adding things, too.

Only you know what you’re doing now and what you would like to change.

To help get you started, I came up with a list of 20 little goals.

Use this list however you’d like — add to it, choose your favorites, pat yourself on the back for what you’re already doing, etc. Do whatever works for you. Seriously.

  1. Eat one more vegetable every day.
  2. Eat one more fruit every day.
  3. Plan one meatless meal every week.
  4. Buy a refillable water bottle and use it.
  5. Walk an extra 15 minutes each day.
  6. Try a new vegetable this month.
  7. Experiment with an exotic fruit that you’ve never tried before.
  8. Add healthful nuts to your shopping list.
  9. Use more olive oil. Swap out solid fats like butter or margarine for olive oil.
  10. Make your own salad dressings.
  11. Pack your lunch two days a week.
  12. Eat dinner at home at least three nights a week.
  13. Experiment with a “new” whole grain and eat it four different ways.
  14. Wash your hands before eating (even in restaurants).
  15. Experiment with a new spice or herb.
  16. Eat more beans.
  17. Drink less juice.
  18. Eat fish twice a week
  19. Buy old-fashioned oatmeal instead of packaged cereal so that you can eat more oatmeal.
  20. Try one new recipe each month — at the end of the year you will have increased your repertoire of healthy dishes.

I think we all know that eating and being healthful needs to become a lifestyle, not just something you do for a few weeks. Why not try it this year? Small changes at a time. Just think of where you can be 12 months from now.

By Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS, Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

Healthful Resolution Ideas

Some healthy resolutions

Have you broken your resolution before you really made it?  If you’re serious about starting the year off on the right foot I have an idea.

How about 12 attainable resolutions?  I always wonder why resolutions have to be large goals (like lose 100 pounds) or doing something major “cold turkey” (like stopping smoking).  I’m thinking resolutions should be something you could add to your life and small things that you really could do.

How about “add-on” resolutions?  Something like the 12 days of Christmas—Only I’m making it the 12 months of health (someone sing).  The idea is to change one small thing each month and then keep that accomplishment and add another the next month.

The idea is you start with one in January—say it’s getting more activity—it could be walking one night after dinner with your spouse or joining a one-day-a week-yoga class.  It doesn’t have to be 5 days a week to get you started.

February—add another goal but still keep up what you started in January. In February (since it is heart month) learn a little more about the sodium in the foods you eat. Read labels and work to reduce the amount of sodium you take in. Try to eat the recommended 2300 mg (or less of sodium) every day—and still do the January goal too.

March—add something else.  But the January and February changes should almost be a habit by then so keep it up.

Write it down.   Write your goal for each month in your new calendar right now.  Is it really a serious resolution if you haven’t spelled it out?  Reevaluate at the beginning of each month on how it’s going.

Here are 12 ideas you could incorporate into your life….if you already do some of these add your own or make them more specific for you.

  1. Add some activity to your life.  The ultimate goal would be at least 30 minutes every day of the week. But start smaller. Find something you like to do and keep it up.
  2. Pack a healthy lunch—if you eat out most days for lunch –switch to just 3 days a week and pack a lunch the other two. You’ll save money but could also have a more nutritious lunch.
  3. Eat dinner with the family—without the distraction of television or phone at least 1-2 nights a week. Research shows that families that eat together eat less fat, more fruits and vegetables and more dairy.  It’s also a great way to build strong family relationships.
  4. Eat breakfast –If you’re not a breakfast eater start with just a few days a week. Breakfast eaters are more alert, creative, perform better and are less likely to be overweight.
  5. Eat more fruit-make your goal to eat 1 piece or “extra piece” each day. You might even make it a challenge to find new fruit to try out.
  6. Eat more vegetables— Work to get a vegetable or one more vegetable into your diet each day—or if you can’t eat more each day try for at least a couple a week. Look for new mixtures in the freezer section of your grocery store.
  7. Watch less television—this is here because research has shown that people who watch less television weigh less.  Adults who watch more than 2 hours of television a day tend to weigh more than those who watch less.
  8. Eat less fast food –studies have found that those who eat at fast food restaurants more than two times a week were 10 pounds heavier than those who ate there less than once a week.
  9. Cut every restaurant meal in half…enjoy it twice. There are always opportunities to eat out. Instead of totally avoiding your favorites or time with friends and family ask for a take-out container when you get your meal and take it home for another meal.
  10. Eat more whole grains—Recommendations are to eat at least six servings of grain every day.  Half of them should be a whole-grain.
  11. Go meatless—how about a meatless Monday?  This could save you calories, money, saturated fat, increase fruits and vegetables, not to mention more variety.
  12.  Fill everyone’s plate at the stove instead of family-style on the table. This will help control portion sizes and overeating…just because it’s there (also less dishes to wash).

These are my ideas.  You know your diet and your health. What little changes can you make each month that may make a big difference at the end of the year?

I admit…you probably can’t do them all or all the time.  Be realistic.  But maybe try some.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year.

Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS
Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

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