Many people make New Year's resolutions, with the most common resolutions being related to health, diet and fitness. How often have you (or someone you know) resolved to lose weight, exercise more or quit smoking on January 1st, only to "fall off the wagon" within a few weeks?
While failing at a resolution is common, it can be harmful to both your self-confidence and your health; yo-yo dieting leads to unhealthy weight fluctuations while fitness failures can leave you defeated and unwilling to make new goals.
The most effective resolutions are ones that involve behavioral changes, such as developing a healthy habit or routine.
Researchers at the University of Scranton conducted a study on the effectiveness of New Year's resolutions related to dieting and weight loss - the success rates among those who resolved to lose weight in the new year were about 19 percent(1).
Scranton researcher Dr. Norcrossn reported that the most significant factor that affected the success of a New Year's resolution among study participants was the use of stimulus control - successful dieters avoided fatty, sugary foods while also having a readily-available supply of healthy meal replacement products like protein bars and shakes.
Moderate Changes Are Most Effective
According to a recent study by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), making moderate lifestyle changes can have a tremendous impact on long-term success when it comes to weight loss2. The study was based on the popular TV reality show "The Biggest Loser" and examined the long-term outcomes and sustainability of the weight loss of the participants. Researchers concluded that drastic dieting and exercise (such as the show portrays) are not required to maintain weight loss; simply adding 20 minutes of daily cardio-based exercise and reducing overall caloric intake by about 20 percent would yield satisfactory results for most adults.
Choosing Your New Year's Resolutions
If you've decided to make your own resolutions this January, think about what your goals are then break those down into small, tangible steps. If one of your goals is to eat healthier, what changes do you need to make to your behavior? Instead of going "cold turkey" off of all the foods you'd like to eliminate from your diet, consider changing your diet one meal at a time. Perhaps your typical breakfast is a double-double coffee from a drive-thru window - replace that morning sugar and caffeine concoction with a energy-boosting Greenergy drink - unlike the temporary buzz you get from coffee and refined sugar, the pure, natural energy from a green drink will last for hours and save you from that dreaded mid-morning crash. And, there is no better way to start the day then with an EnergyFirst protein shake!
This year, focus on making small, realistic changes to your diet and lifestyle that can all add up to big improvements in your health and wellness.
Journal of Nutritional Education and Behavior:
National Institutes of Health:
American Psychological Association: