By: Lilli Rozanski, MS, RDN, LDN, Sports and Fitness Dietitian, Thibodaux
Regional Health System
It is a new year, so you know what that means… New Year’s
resolutions! Since most of us consider January a fresh start, I am here
to help you make resolutions that stick instead of ones that could fail
by February. When it comes to creating healthy habits, the most effective
way to do this is to make it work for your unique wants and needs, likes
and dislikes, and life.
Before diving in, it is important to practice some self-discovery to figure
out what it is that you truly want. Tuning into what you need in your
life is more important than following something just because you believe
it is healthy. Think about what changes would make you the happiest and
try picking a theme for the year. That way, even if a particular habit
doesn’t stick, your bigger intention will. Take the theme of reducing
stress, for example. You might try meditating and hate it. Since your
goal wasn’t “meditate 10 minutes a day,” you don’t
have to abandon the resolution completely. Maybe you try yoga next.
For a habit to truly stick, it needs to have immediate rewards. However,
before you treat yourself with food after a great workout, research shows
that the most effective rewards actually come from within and the ones
you feel. Try noticing the energy you have after a great sweat session.
Or the pride you feel from being able to bring your lunch to work for
3 days instead of eating out. Naming the reward you feel helps your brain
build positive associations with the activity. If you cannot find an intrinsic
reward, it might not be the right resolution to choose. Choose the form
of the habit that makes you happy in the moment. If it has an immediate
satisfaction, you are more likely to stick to it.
Our environment is one of the best ways to help stick with new habits.
The less tempted you are, the more likely you are going to continue with
the resolution. If your goal is to watch less television, unplug your
television. If you want to eat to eat more vegetables, stock your fridge
and pantry with more vegetables. It also helps to see daily reminder of
your goals, so set it as your background on your phone or place it on
a few sticky notes around the house.
A big thing to keep in mind is to plan to fail. Despite your best efforts,
chances are you will fail at some point along your journey of building
a new habit. Develop a recovery plan that will help you get through what
do to next after your fail. Write down the barriers you think you will
run into and how you can overcome them. So even if you stumble, be kind
For more information or to schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian,
call Thibodaux Regional Wellness Education Center at 985.493.4765.