9 Strategies to Make Your Diet Resolutions Stick

 by Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN

Ever find yourself making New Year's resolutions that eventually fall by the wayside? Well, you're certainly not alone. According to Alyse Levine, M.S.


Ever find yourself making New Year's resolutions that eventually fall by the wayside? Well, you're certainly not alone. According to Alyse Levine, M.S., RD, founder of the Eating Rest Plan, there are three main reasons diet resolutions tend to fail: 1) They're too restrictive and have too many rules, such as cutting out all carbs; 2) they're not enjoyable, such as thinking you will get up early every day to do an intense workout that you hate; or 3) they involve deprivation, like giving up all sweets. But have hope; there are ways to make those resolutions stick! Here are nine strategies that will help you succeed.

1. Make It Personal

Setting a successful resolution isn't just about what you want to accomplish. It's also about why it's important for you -- something known as intrinsic motivation. "Intrinsic motivation is that thing that drives someone to achieve something great. It's usually personal to them for their own reasons," says Misti Gueron M.S., RD, medical nutrition therapist at the Khalili Center. "For example, losing weight to improve your self-esteem is a personal motivation as opposed to losing weight because your family wants you to." Whether it's boosting your self-confidence or having more energy to play with your kids, determine your intrinsic motivation and write it down somewhere so that it will personally inspire you to stay on track.

2. Create a Plan for Success

"Diet resolutions are often short-lived because our daily lives and social connections reflect our old habits," says Misti Gueron M.S., RD. "But taking a little time to plan and organize your physical and social environment will pay off in the long run." So if your resolution is to eat more fruits and vegetables, set a reminder on your phone to grocery shop at a set time each week and choose your favorite fruits and vegetables that are most convenient for your lifestyle. No matter what your goals are, decide what healthy resolutions would be easiest and most enjoyable for you, and then set a plan for success.

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3. Have a High-Protein Breakfast

You've probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and for good reason. Eating a healthy breakfast can increase overall nutrient intake, boost immunity, sharpen memory, improve mood and help with weight management. "Eat breakfast every day. This is a tangible, easy daily resolution that tends to stick because it gets quick results," says Misti Gueron, M.S., RD. To get the most out of your morning meal, make sure you get adequate protein to keep you feeling satisfied and full until your next meal. Protein-rich breakfast items include eggs, nuts, nut butters, seeds (e.g., chia and flaxseed) and yogurt without added sugar.

Read more: 14 Protein-Packed Breakfasts

4. Reduce Your Salt Intake

If you're looking to reduce your salt intake, you're not alone. According to the American Heart Association, most people consume about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day -- more than twice the heart-healthy recommendation of 1,500 milligrams. High salt intake has been linked to chronic conditions that include osteoporosis, hypertension and cancer. To make salt reduction a resolution you can stick with, try flavoring your foods with lemon juice or fresh herbs, which can add a boost of flavor sans the sodium.

Read more: 20 Sneaky Sources of Sodium

5. Home Not-So-Sweet Home

Resolving to never eat a sweet again could take a lot of effort and create a feeling of deprivation. A more realistic resolution would be to create an environment in which you can consume fewer sweets without having to rely solely on your willpower. "Ridding your cupboards and freezer of all sweets is one easy and effective strategy that sticks when it comes to resolutions, " says Misti Gueron, M.S., RD. "Research shows that when sweets are within arm's reach or even within our sight, we are much more likely to consume them than if we have to go out to the store to buy them.

Read more: 15 Reasons to Kick Sugar

6. Boost Your Immunity

A strong immunity is key to your overall health. When you're sick, it makes it all the more challenging to stay on track with your health and wellness goals. And our immune health can be compromised by environmental and lifestyle factors, including poor diet, inadequate sleep and high levels of stress. Eating foods rich in immunity-boosting nutrients, such as vitamin C and glutathione, is a resolution worth sticking to. A recent study published in the European Journal of Nutrition showed that a daily supplementation of 1,000 milligrams of glutathione was found to increase glutathione levels in the blood and boost the immune system. Foods that provide both vitamin C and glutathione include citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, cabbage and cauliflower.

Read more: 8 Foods That Boost Immunity

7. Get in the Game

Have you ever tried to turn your weight loss goals into a game? It may sound silly, but but this may be a successful way to achieve healthy eating, exercise and weight control. "Gamification of weight loss is when large groups of people are offered financial as well as other incentives to be involved in a competitive challenge with others. Grouping people together in an effort to encourage healthy habits can foster member camaraderie and commonality, challenge and excitement and furthered learning about getting healthier," says Misti Gueron, M.S., RD. "And in these scenarios, many individuals have gotten healthier, minimized or eradicated health problems and changed the course of their lives."

Read more: 20 Top Trainers' Favorite Motivational Quotes

8. Eat More Mindfully

Eating a healthy diet has everything to do with how you're eating. "Eat meals more mindfully: Remove physical distractions while you eat -- no phone, TV, book or newspaper -- and try to keep your focus on the actual eating experience (how the food tastes and what is going on in your mouth)," says Alyse Levine, M.S., RD. "It's natural that your attention will wander while you eat, but you want to bring it back to the food to check in on whether you're still enjoying the food and whether or not you're still hungry. Being more mindful will allow you to enjoy your food more and enable you to stop eating when you're comfortably -- not when your plate is cleaned."

Read more: 13 Ways to Trick Yourself Full

9. Recruit Support

Who you surround yourself with is a critical component of your ability to reach and maintain your goals. "Without support from our friends and families, we're much less likely to create healthy changes with our health and weight. And reaching new health goals is more achievable within a supportive environment and with individuals of similar values," says Misti Gueron, M.S., RD. Take a look at the people in your life and make an effort to spend quality time with those that support and inspire you.

Read more: 15 Toughest Do-Anywhere Workout Moves

What Do YOU Think?

What are your New Year's resolutions? Do you have any strategies that have helped you keep previous resolutions? Share with us in the comments section below!

Read more: 12 Top Nutritionists' Tips for Getting Back on Track


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