Tips to Sticking with Those Healthy Lifestyle Resolutions

The goals to eat healthier and exercise more typically rank among the top resolutions people make every year. A nutritious, well-balanced diet, including whole and  enriched grains combined with exercise, help minimize health risks, improve mobility and brain function, combat some cancers and other diseases, and overall just make a person feel better.

Photo: Exercise, eat healthy sandwich.

We know making New Year’s resolutions to make healthier lifestyle choices is the easy part. In fact, in one 2017 survey 45% of people said they would like to lose weight as their resolution, but sticking to those goals can prove to be difficult.

Bailing on resolutions by February or March can increase anxiety in some people, and it may be difficult to get back on track once a person has been derailed. So, how do you become a part of the small percentage of people who are successful at making those lifestyle changes?

Making realistic resolutions is a start. Also, setting short-term goals and participating in activities that deliver immediate results can help people achieve long-term success for improving overall health and fitness goals.

Here are some other tips offered by the American Psychological Association to help refocus your efforts and affect real change this year:

Start Small.

Make resolutions that you think you can keep, and set specific goals that can be measured. For example, simply swap out unhealthy snacks with healthier options; schedule two to three half-hour workouts a week, instead of everyday.

Change One Behavior at a Time.

If you’re trying to limit calories to address weight management issues, don’t also try to train for a 10k. Instead, balance your reduced food intake with moderate exercise that keeps you moving without draining your energy and resolve.

Talk About It & Involve a Friend.

Share your goals and experiences with those who can help validate your excitement and help you stay focused and motivated when you become frustrated. Working out with friends can be a great way to stay accountable, as you’re more likely to get to the gym if someone is waiting for you.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up.

No one is perfect, and you must allow for setbacks when reaching for your goals. What’s important is not to give up completely just because you ate a piece of cake or missed a workout. Regroup, reset and resolve to recover from your mistakes and get back on track.

Ask For Support.

Reaching out to those who care about you and will listen strengthens your resilience. Asking for and accepting help from others can increase your ability to manage stress caused by your resolution and sometimes help you determine new ways to achieve your goals.

— from the Wheat Foods Council, Kernels, spring 2018


1. United States: “What are your 2018 resolutions?” (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2018, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/378105/new-years-resolution/

2. Woolley, K., & Fishbach, A. (2016). Immediate Rewards Predict Adherence to Long-Term Goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 43(2), 151-162. doi:10.1177/0146167216676480)