5 Things To Do Instead Of Setting A New Year's Resolution

Written by Jay Scott

Have you ever made a New Year's resolution? Were you able to keep it? If you answered no to that question, you are not alone. According to research, only 8 percent of people achieve their New Year's resolutions each year.

Yet people continue to set these impossible goals for the year ahead. According to Nielson Ratings, about 37 percent of people want to “stay fit and healthy,” and 32 percent want to “lose weight.”

Those resolutions are so vague. You're basically setting yourself up for failure by resolving to do one of those things. Instead of setting some huge, unrealistic goal, why not focus on developing specific habits that will ultimately help you lose weight and feel healthier?

Here are five easy habits that, once you start following, will have a great impact on your overall health and well-being. Tackle one at a time until you've mastered all five.

1. Drink more water.

This one sounds simple, but it’s of utmost importance. Most people don’t drink nearly enough water throughout the day. This is not only unhealthy but can also lead to an increased urge for food — and thus dreaded weight gain.

A recent study by the American Chemical Society found that participants drinking two cups of water before meals lost an average of 5 pounds more than dieters who did not drink water. Amazing. Try drinking two glasses of water before meals to curb your appetite.

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2. Eat more protein.

Protein provides the most satiety of all the macronutrients (carbs, proteins, and fats). That means eating more protein will keep you fuller longer.

According to Men's Health nutrition adviser Alan Aragon M.S., “Protein is the most satiating macronutrient — more so than carbohydrate or fat. This means that a diet with inadequate protein can also have a compromised ability to control appetite.”

So make sure to stock up on lean, low-calorie sources of this magical macronutrient during the holiday season!

3. Eat more vegetables.

Vegetables will help you minimize your horizontal growth (in other words, they will help you keep the old waistline in check). The property of vegetables that most contribute to this wonderful effect is fiber.

Fiber is very filling — and many of the calories aren’t absorbable by the human body (they pass through the digestive system intact). The beauty of this is that you get full while adding very few calories to your diet.

A great way to add more fiber to your daily intake is to have a side of steamed veggies with your meals. Eating out? Order a large salad with the dressing on the side (make sure to avoid the high-calorie toppings like cheese and bacon).

Fruit is also a fantastic high-fiber choice — try an apple instead of pretzels or chips the next time you get the munchies. An apple has around 95 calories and a whopping 4.4 grams of fiber!

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4. Move, any way you can.

All of our modern conveniences are a blessing, but they can also be a curse. Modern culture has all but phased out necessary movement, and as a result, has left us sedentary.

The solution for this issue is to add movement to your daily routine. Unfortunately, when most people begin an exercise routine they do too much too quickly. This causes burnout and isn’t sustainable.

Try a simple daily walk, playing with your children (or grandchildren), or using the stairs at work. Eventually, you can work up to trying to hit 10,000 steps a day. Once that feels easy, you can start to work more intense exercise into your weekly routine.

5. Control your snacking.

Snacking is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to weight gain. This could be due to carbohydrate intake giving us a “boost” of feel-good serotonin when we snack. You need to find strategies that will allow you to have some of your favorite treats, but also keep your waistline in check.

When at home or work, be very mindful about what you are eating. Select a few snacks to enjoy in moderation and make sure you aren’t “grabbing” things throughout the day. Higher protein foods will also help you control appetite (see tip #2) and that can help curb tendencies to snack.

These five tips will allow you to bypass the stress, worry, and disappointment of a fitness or weight-loss resolution and help you to have your best (and trimmest) new year yet!

Photo courtesy of iStock

And are you ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.

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