Hands up if you’ve given up on your New Year’s resolutions in the first month. It’s not uncommon; we naturally tend to resist change and stick to what we know.
But why do we find it so difficult to stick to something we quite clearly desire to achieve? It’s surprising that our aspirations are often met with unwanted resistance, especially when it’s to do with our diet and well-being.
Anna Tebbs, registered nutritionist at meal-box delivery service, Green Chef, expresses: “Improving your diet is a popular New Year’s resolution, but sticking to it can be tough. Our taste preferences often favour familiar foods, making it challenging to embrace a new way of eating.”
She adds, “The key is taking small, manageable steps, being patient with ourselves, and recognising that change cannot happen overnight. Ironically, New Year’s resolutions are just that, often unrealistic and challenging to achieve.”
So, whether you’ve stumbled on New Year’s resolutions in the past or are ready to give them a shot this year, here’s the key to sticking with them for good:
Set realistic goals
Start with small, achievable goals. Gradual changes are more sustainable than drastic ones. Be specific about what you want to achieve, and set measurable targets.
Anna encourages setting intentions that are achievable and sustainable. Establish a habit that fits seamlessly into your daily routine and one that feels manageable; add additional goals to gradually build a foundation for lasting positive change.
She suggests identifying one aspect of your diet to modify, such as adding a serving of vegetables to lunch each day or choosing a whole-grain option for dinner.
Create a list of small, attainable changes you want to make and gradually incorporate them into your routine, celebrating each success along the way. Once one becomes a natural part of your routine, consider incorporating the next small change.
Recognise that setbacks happen
Embrace a compassionate mindset. Recognise that slip-ups happen and are part of the process, and rather than dwelling on them, use them as fuel to improve next time.
Anna comments, “Setbacks are a natural part of any journey. For many, the first misstep often triggers feelings of inadequacy or doubt, but realising setbacks are chances to learn, not reasons to quit, is crucial for sticking to any diet or goal. The key is not perfection but progress.”
When faced with a setback, reflect on what triggered it and consider how you can avoid this situation in the future. She highlights the importance of replacing self-criticism with self-encouragement. So, rather than “I failed”, opt for “I’ll approach it differently next time.”
Understand that less can be more
If you’re struggling to eat well, streamline your meals by focusing on nutrient-dense, whole foods. Choose simple recipes with fewer ingredients to enhance flavour without unnecessary additives.
Anna advises that a straightforward approach can make consistency easier as it reduces decision fatigue, simplifies food shopping, and minimises the likelihood of veering off course with unnecessary, complicated dishes.
She recommends designing a weekly meal plan with minimal, high-quality ingredients, embracing the beauty of simplicity for a sustainable and effective eating routine.
Additionally, for those seeking added convenience, meal box services can enhance this approach as you receive carefully curated, fresh ingredients that simplify the cooking process.