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3 Health Experts Tell You How to Jump-Start Your New Year’s Resolutions

3 Health Experts Tell You How to Jump-Start Your New Year’s Resolutions

Brace yourself for the holidays and eat your way into a fresh start

3 Health Experts Tell You How to Jump-Start Your New Year’s Resolutions

“The New Year is always a great time to take a look at our lives, pat ourselves on the back for everything we’ve accomplished, and set our sights on what’s ahead,” said Alissa Rumsey, registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “When thinking about improvements we can make to our health, it is important to set measurable and achievable goals that are focused on a lifetime rather than just the next few days or weeks.”

We spoke with four nutritionists about ways to stay healthy during the holidays and jump-start your New Year’s diet resolution.

Avoid The Quick-Fixes

Focus on a lifestyle change, rather than a quick, less permanent change. “This means avoiding fad diets with ill-fated qualities like promises of a quick fix, little or no physical activity, rigid meal plans, odd amounts of food, or special food combinations,” Rumsey says.

Be Aware of Your Nutrition Sources

Consumers must also be very aware of the source of the nutrition guidance they seek, according to Rumsey. “Almost anyone can call themselves a ‘nutritionist’ these days,” Rumsey says. “However, taking nutrition advice from an unqualified person can be, at the least, a waste of time and, at the most, dangerous. Registered dietitian nutritionists have the education, training and experience to provide personalized, safe and science-based nutrition guidance you can trust.”

Break Down Big Goals Into Smaller Goals

“One of the best methods towards a healthy weight and overall healthful lifestyle is, while setting long-term goals, to focus on the short term,” Rumsey says. Rumsey recommends breaking big goals into smaller, more specific bites. “If you want to lose 10 pounds, plan to lose one pound every two weeks. Or if your goal is to eat more fruits and vegetables, start by adding one piece of fruit to breakfast and one vegetable to dinner. Smaller goals are easier to achieve, and the results add up over time.”

Don’t Deprive Yourself

“Depriving one’s self of certain foods often leads to binge eating so if you want something eat it, just eat smaller portions and make the healthiest choice,” says Caroline Cederquist, M.D.

Don’t Fall Into the Fast-Food Trap

“The holiday season can keep you on the go with little time to prepare meals,” Cederquist says. “Fast food may be handy, but often is high in fat and calories. Prepare and freeze quick, healthy meals ahead of time to stay out of the fast-food trap.”

Don’t Stress-Eat

Stress eating happens to the best of us and most of the time, we aren’t even hungry,” Cederquist says. “We just like having something there to snack on whenever we get stressed. Therefore, keep healthy snacks such as granola, nuts, cheese sticks, and fruit available and on the go with you. By doing this, you can eat snacks throughout the day and keep yourself from starving, you won’t crave bad food, and you won’t binge-eat — but you'll also know that the snacks being consumed are not going to cause weight gain.

Drink Water

"Water is key, not only does it remove toxins and flush the system, it also causes one to be full,” Cederquist says. “A lot of times the body misinterprets thirst for hunger and by keeping well hydrated it will prevent over eating as well as allowing a more full sensation.”

Eat Clean

“A clean, low-inflammatory diet that keeps your inflammation low and your immune system strong is the first and most important step you can take to help,” says Frank Lipman, M.D.. “Avoid processed foods, sugar, and gluten and get to know what foods are triggering systems of inflammation in your body.”

Eat Smaller Portions of Food

iStock / Thinkstock

Restaurants and holiday buffets can get us in trouble when it comes to guessing the correct portion size. “This is especially important at a buffet, where you may want to try everything,” Cederquist says. “Choose the items you want to try the most, and eat a small portion of each.”

Enjoy Turkey During the Holidays

iStock / Thinkstock

Turkey contains high amounts of tryptophan which is to blame for that food coma on Thanksgiving,” Cederquist says. “The amino acid, found in protein-containing foods, helps produce serotonin. In a 2006 study published in the Journal of Psychiatry Neuroscience, found that tryptophan significantly decreased quarrelsome behaviors and increased agreeable behaviors and perceptions of agreeableness in both men and women. Furthermore increasing serotonin levels can enhance socially constructive behaviors and improve social perceptions. So this holiday season, don’t shy away from the holiday white meat staple. This will allow for a more serene and happier holiday time!”

Limit the Heavy Drinking

Thinkstock

Alcohol has a lot of calories, as do eggnog, punch, and soft drinks, therefore try to limit these,” Cederquist says. “If you are a soda drinker try to incorporate seltzer and maybe mix it with a little bit of juice. If you must have egg nog try to limit yourself to one and if making it yourself try using non-fat milk.”

Make Sleep a Priority

“Too little sleep triggers the release of too much cortisol,” Lipman says “This stress hormone actually cues your body to hold on to fat! Too little sleep makes us more hungry and also triggers cravings for sugar, carbohydrates, and caffeine.” Losing weight can start with getting enough sleep.

Meal-Prep Healthy Meals

“Cooking in advance can help with reducing stress and better eating,” Cederquist says. “Once or twice a week, cook food in bulk. Select one day a week normally a Sunday works best and set aside one to two hours to cook a few different types of meals then put them in storage containers to keep in the fridge, this will save you a lot of time during the week and money too. By doing this you’ll reduce any worry about cooking and what to eat for lunch or dinner and will allow you to stay healthier by reducing the chance of being grabbing quick less healthy meal options such as fast-food.”

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth the Healthy Way

“If you are someone who loves their holiday pies you are not out of luck, just make smarter choices,” Cederquist says. “Apple pie is probably better than other holiday favorites because it contains fruit and not as much sugar and calories as other rich desserts. Pumpkin pie is also a healthier choice than cookies and cakes. Fruit salad makes a delicious desert too.”

Slow Down When You Eat

“You’ll enjoy your meals better if you eat slowly,” Cederquist says. “Also you will eat less because your stomach and brain will have time to realize it is 'full'.”

Snacks Should Be Healthy Too

Whether you are stocking your pantry or hosting a party, healthy snacks are just as important as healthy meals. "Serve salsa with wholegrain, trans-fat-free chips or pita wedges,” Cederquist says. “Offer guacamole with fresh vegetables.”

Use Healthy Baking Substitutes

“If part of your holiday tradition involves baking cookies, make them with vegetable oil in place of solid fats or shortening,” Cederquist says. “Add some whole grains or wheat germ, raisins, and nuts. Also, make the cookies mini-size. Use a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon for drop cookies and cut bar cookies into bite-size pieces. You can offer more varieties and you won’t have to bake nearly as many.”

Up The Green Leafy Veggies

Green leafy vegetables like romaine lettuce and spinach contain folate, which produces dopamine, a pleasure-inducing brain chemical, helping you keep calm,” Cederquist says. “A 2012 study in the Journal of Affective Disorders of 2,800 middle-aged and elderly people and found those who consumed the most folate had a lower risk of depression symptoms than those who took in the least. Therefore try making a hearty wholesome salad filled with these great high in folate veggies for lunch or as an accompanying side. This will not only cause to fill up faster but also aid in keeping you stress-free.”


Exactly What to Do if Your New Year&rsquos Resolution Is Already Slipping

Feel your resolve getting weak? A behavioral psychologist explains the most common reasons resolutions fail&mdashand how to make yours stick.

With each new year comes a new opportunity to better ourselves. We vow to kick our sugar addictions, call our parents more, and check Facebook less. Yet within weeks, most of us are back to snacking, screening parentalꃊlls, and mindlessly scrolling through our newsfeeds.

But before you become one more person observing਍itch Your New Year’s Resolutions Day (yep, it’s a real thing January 17 is the day most people throw in the towel), know this: There’s still time to revamp a resolution that&aposs losing steamਊnd initiate the lasting change you aimed for back on January 1. “The most important thing is to first figure out the top reasons why resolutions fail, and then use that to get back on track,” says behavioral psychologist Art Markman, PhD.

Markman, the author of Smart Change: Five Tools to Create New and Sustainable Habits in Yourself and Others explains the top five reasons New Year’s resolutions fail𠅊nd the small tweaks to make to fix each mistake.

Your resolution is framed in a negative way

We often make resolutions around what we want to stop doing instead of what we want to start doing, says Markman. “When you have a behavior you’re trying to change, whether it’s eating less or checking your email fewer times a day, you actually have to put another behavior in its place,” he explains. “The key is to focus on a positive action that you’re going to perform in the situation where you were doing the old behavior.”

So instead of vowing to give up a certain behavior or do without something, frame your resolution around the new positive action you will do in place of it. Let&aposs say you want to quit mindlessly scrolling through your phoneਊt night. Instead of pledging to turn off your device by 10 p.m., vow to start getting ready for bed at that time instead. This way, you unplug digitally while rewarding yourself with more sleep𠅊 positive action that can motivate real change.

Your end goal is too vague

Resolving to exercise twice a week sounds like a solid plan, but it isn’t targeted enough, says Markman. “Your goal has to be so specific that the actions you’re going to take [to accomplish it] can make it onto your calendar,” he says. “‘Twice a week’ isn’t on your calendar, but ‘Mondays and Thursdays at 4 p.m.’ is.”

Getting specific doesn’t just help you realize what you need to do in order to see your resolution through it also highlights the things that could get in the way of it (think: your weekly manicure also scheduled at 4 p.m. on Thursdays). Start accounting forਊll possible roadblocks, and add into your planner the steps you’re taking to get them out of the way so you can actually make it to the gym, rather than make excuses.

You don't address the root cause

In order to carry out a resolution, you need to know the who, what, when, where, and why of the behavior you’re trying to change. For example, if want to stop biting your nails, pay attention to the circumstances under which you engage in the habit.

“I encourage people failing at their resolution to keep a habit diary for a week or two,” says Markman. “Not so they can change their behavior, but just to watch it and see what they’re doing.” Once you realize that you always bite your nails while anxiously finishing a work project, you’ll be better equipped to take actions to stop it—like buying desk toys to busy your hands throughout the day or just being more mindful about keeping your fingers on your keyboard as the deadline ticks away.

You think it's all about willpower

Willpower is overrated. According to Markman, people often believe their commitment is enough to prevent them from falling back into their bad habits. Sadly, a pantry full of cheese popcorn isn’t going to magically become less tempting just because you’ve told yourself you’ll stop gobbling it down while you watch Netflix.

𠇊t this point you’re riding the brakes,” says Markman. “Your motivational system is reminding you of the snack in the kitchen and you have to rely on your willpower to keep you from eating it. But just like in a car, if you ride the brakes long enough, they’re going to fail.”

The solution? Rather than relying on willpower, structure your environment so the thing you want or habit you&aposre trying to break is so difficult to get or do that won’t bother attempting it. Because you can’t eat a pint of ice cream you never bought, right?

You&rsquore going at it alone

News flash: If you succeed in carrying out your resolution, no one’s going to say Congratulations, but it&aposs not that big a deal because you had a support system. “If you find yourself ditching your resolution, phone a friend,” suggests Markman. 𠇏ind somebody who’s willing to serve as your backup so that when you’re about to slip, you can call or text them for support instead.” Crushing your goals਍oesn’t count any less if you do it with a little help from your friends.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter


Exactly What to Do if Your New Year&rsquos Resolution Is Already Slipping

Feel your resolve getting weak? A behavioral psychologist explains the most common reasons resolutions fail&mdashand how to make yours stick.

With each new year comes a new opportunity to better ourselves. We vow to kick our sugar addictions, call our parents more, and check Facebook less. Yet within weeks, most of us are back to snacking, screening parentalꃊlls, and mindlessly scrolling through our newsfeeds.

But before you become one more person observing਍itch Your New Year’s Resolutions Day (yep, it’s a real thing January 17 is the day most people throw in the towel), know this: There’s still time to revamp a resolution that&aposs losing steamਊnd initiate the lasting change you aimed for back on January 1. “The most important thing is to first figure out the top reasons why resolutions fail, and then use that to get back on track,” says behavioral psychologist Art Markman, PhD.

Markman, the author of Smart Change: Five Tools to Create New and Sustainable Habits in Yourself and Others explains the top five reasons New Year’s resolutions fail𠅊nd the small tweaks to make to fix each mistake.

Your resolution is framed in a negative way

We often make resolutions around what we want to stop doing instead of what we want to start doing, says Markman. “When you have a behavior you’re trying to change, whether it’s eating less or checking your email fewer times a day, you actually have to put another behavior in its place,” he explains. “The key is to focus on a positive action that you’re going to perform in the situation where you were doing the old behavior.”

So instead of vowing to give up a certain behavior or do without something, frame your resolution around the new positive action you will do in place of it. Let&aposs say you want to quit mindlessly scrolling through your phoneਊt night. Instead of pledging to turn off your device by 10 p.m., vow to start getting ready for bed at that time instead. This way, you unplug digitally while rewarding yourself with more sleep𠅊 positive action that can motivate real change.

Your end goal is too vague

Resolving to exercise twice a week sounds like a solid plan, but it isn’t targeted enough, says Markman. “Your goal has to be so specific that the actions you’re going to take [to accomplish it] can make it onto your calendar,” he says. “‘Twice a week’ isn’t on your calendar, but ‘Mondays and Thursdays at 4 p.m.’ is.”

Getting specific doesn’t just help you realize what you need to do in order to see your resolution through it also highlights the things that could get in the way of it (think: your weekly manicure also scheduled at 4 p.m. on Thursdays). Start accounting forਊll possible roadblocks, and add into your planner the steps you’re taking to get them out of the way so you can actually make it to the gym, rather than make excuses.

You don't address the root cause

In order to carry out a resolution, you need to know the who, what, when, where, and why of the behavior you’re trying to change. For example, if want to stop biting your nails, pay attention to the circumstances under which you engage in the habit.

“I encourage people failing at their resolution to keep a habit diary for a week or two,” says Markman. “Not so they can change their behavior, but just to watch it and see what they’re doing.” Once you realize that you always bite your nails while anxiously finishing a work project, you’ll be better equipped to take actions to stop it—like buying desk toys to busy your hands throughout the day or just being more mindful about keeping your fingers on your keyboard as the deadline ticks away.

You think it's all about willpower

Willpower is overrated. According to Markman, people often believe their commitment is enough to prevent them from falling back into their bad habits. Sadly, a pantry full of cheese popcorn isn’t going to magically become less tempting just because you’ve told yourself you’ll stop gobbling it down while you watch Netflix.

𠇊t this point you’re riding the brakes,” says Markman. “Your motivational system is reminding you of the snack in the kitchen and you have to rely on your willpower to keep you from eating it. But just like in a car, if you ride the brakes long enough, they’re going to fail.”

The solution? Rather than relying on willpower, structure your environment so the thing you want or habit you&aposre trying to break is so difficult to get or do that won’t bother attempting it. Because you can’t eat a pint of ice cream you never bought, right?

You&rsquore going at it alone

News flash: If you succeed in carrying out your resolution, no one’s going to say Congratulations, but it&aposs not that big a deal because you had a support system. “If you find yourself ditching your resolution, phone a friend,” suggests Markman. 𠇏ind somebody who’s willing to serve as your backup so that when you’re about to slip, you can call or text them for support instead.” Crushing your goals਍oesn’t count any less if you do it with a little help from your friends.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter


Exactly What to Do if Your New Year&rsquos Resolution Is Already Slipping

Feel your resolve getting weak? A behavioral psychologist explains the most common reasons resolutions fail&mdashand how to make yours stick.

With each new year comes a new opportunity to better ourselves. We vow to kick our sugar addictions, call our parents more, and check Facebook less. Yet within weeks, most of us are back to snacking, screening parentalꃊlls, and mindlessly scrolling through our newsfeeds.

But before you become one more person observing਍itch Your New Year’s Resolutions Day (yep, it’s a real thing January 17 is the day most people throw in the towel), know this: There’s still time to revamp a resolution that&aposs losing steamਊnd initiate the lasting change you aimed for back on January 1. “The most important thing is to first figure out the top reasons why resolutions fail, and then use that to get back on track,” says behavioral psychologist Art Markman, PhD.

Markman, the author of Smart Change: Five Tools to Create New and Sustainable Habits in Yourself and Others explains the top five reasons New Year’s resolutions fail𠅊nd the small tweaks to make to fix each mistake.

Your resolution is framed in a negative way

We often make resolutions around what we want to stop doing instead of what we want to start doing, says Markman. “When you have a behavior you’re trying to change, whether it’s eating less or checking your email fewer times a day, you actually have to put another behavior in its place,” he explains. “The key is to focus on a positive action that you’re going to perform in the situation where you were doing the old behavior.”

So instead of vowing to give up a certain behavior or do without something, frame your resolution around the new positive action you will do in place of it. Let&aposs say you want to quit mindlessly scrolling through your phoneਊt night. Instead of pledging to turn off your device by 10 p.m., vow to start getting ready for bed at that time instead. This way, you unplug digitally while rewarding yourself with more sleep𠅊 positive action that can motivate real change.

Your end goal is too vague

Resolving to exercise twice a week sounds like a solid plan, but it isn’t targeted enough, says Markman. “Your goal has to be so specific that the actions you’re going to take [to accomplish it] can make it onto your calendar,” he says. “‘Twice a week’ isn’t on your calendar, but ‘Mondays and Thursdays at 4 p.m.’ is.”

Getting specific doesn’t just help you realize what you need to do in order to see your resolution through it also highlights the things that could get in the way of it (think: your weekly manicure also scheduled at 4 p.m. on Thursdays). Start accounting forਊll possible roadblocks, and add into your planner the steps you’re taking to get them out of the way so you can actually make it to the gym, rather than make excuses.

You don't address the root cause

In order to carry out a resolution, you need to know the who, what, when, where, and why of the behavior you’re trying to change. For example, if want to stop biting your nails, pay attention to the circumstances under which you engage in the habit.

“I encourage people failing at their resolution to keep a habit diary for a week or two,” says Markman. “Not so they can change their behavior, but just to watch it and see what they’re doing.” Once you realize that you always bite your nails while anxiously finishing a work project, you’ll be better equipped to take actions to stop it—like buying desk toys to busy your hands throughout the day or just being more mindful about keeping your fingers on your keyboard as the deadline ticks away.

You think it's all about willpower

Willpower is overrated. According to Markman, people often believe their commitment is enough to prevent them from falling back into their bad habits. Sadly, a pantry full of cheese popcorn isn’t going to magically become less tempting just because you’ve told yourself you’ll stop gobbling it down while you watch Netflix.

𠇊t this point you’re riding the brakes,” says Markman. “Your motivational system is reminding you of the snack in the kitchen and you have to rely on your willpower to keep you from eating it. But just like in a car, if you ride the brakes long enough, they’re going to fail.”

The solution? Rather than relying on willpower, structure your environment so the thing you want or habit you&aposre trying to break is so difficult to get or do that won’t bother attempting it. Because you can’t eat a pint of ice cream you never bought, right?

You&rsquore going at it alone

News flash: If you succeed in carrying out your resolution, no one’s going to say Congratulations, but it&aposs not that big a deal because you had a support system. “If you find yourself ditching your resolution, phone a friend,” suggests Markman. 𠇏ind somebody who’s willing to serve as your backup so that when you’re about to slip, you can call or text them for support instead.” Crushing your goals਍oesn’t count any less if you do it with a little help from your friends.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter


Exactly What to Do if Your New Year&rsquos Resolution Is Already Slipping

Feel your resolve getting weak? A behavioral psychologist explains the most common reasons resolutions fail&mdashand how to make yours stick.

With each new year comes a new opportunity to better ourselves. We vow to kick our sugar addictions, call our parents more, and check Facebook less. Yet within weeks, most of us are back to snacking, screening parentalꃊlls, and mindlessly scrolling through our newsfeeds.

But before you become one more person observing਍itch Your New Year’s Resolutions Day (yep, it’s a real thing January 17 is the day most people throw in the towel), know this: There’s still time to revamp a resolution that&aposs losing steamਊnd initiate the lasting change you aimed for back on January 1. “The most important thing is to first figure out the top reasons why resolutions fail, and then use that to get back on track,” says behavioral psychologist Art Markman, PhD.

Markman, the author of Smart Change: Five Tools to Create New and Sustainable Habits in Yourself and Others explains the top five reasons New Year’s resolutions fail𠅊nd the small tweaks to make to fix each mistake.

Your resolution is framed in a negative way

We often make resolutions around what we want to stop doing instead of what we want to start doing, says Markman. “When you have a behavior you’re trying to change, whether it’s eating less or checking your email fewer times a day, you actually have to put another behavior in its place,” he explains. “The key is to focus on a positive action that you’re going to perform in the situation where you were doing the old behavior.”

So instead of vowing to give up a certain behavior or do without something, frame your resolution around the new positive action you will do in place of it. Let&aposs say you want to quit mindlessly scrolling through your phoneਊt night. Instead of pledging to turn off your device by 10 p.m., vow to start getting ready for bed at that time instead. This way, you unplug digitally while rewarding yourself with more sleep𠅊 positive action that can motivate real change.

Your end goal is too vague

Resolving to exercise twice a week sounds like a solid plan, but it isn’t targeted enough, says Markman. “Your goal has to be so specific that the actions you’re going to take [to accomplish it] can make it onto your calendar,” he says. “‘Twice a week’ isn’t on your calendar, but ‘Mondays and Thursdays at 4 p.m.’ is.”

Getting specific doesn’t just help you realize what you need to do in order to see your resolution through it also highlights the things that could get in the way of it (think: your weekly manicure also scheduled at 4 p.m. on Thursdays). Start accounting forਊll possible roadblocks, and add into your planner the steps you’re taking to get them out of the way so you can actually make it to the gym, rather than make excuses.

You don't address the root cause

In order to carry out a resolution, you need to know the who, what, when, where, and why of the behavior you’re trying to change. For example, if want to stop biting your nails, pay attention to the circumstances under which you engage in the habit.

“I encourage people failing at their resolution to keep a habit diary for a week or two,” says Markman. “Not so they can change their behavior, but just to watch it and see what they’re doing.” Once you realize that you always bite your nails while anxiously finishing a work project, you’ll be better equipped to take actions to stop it—like buying desk toys to busy your hands throughout the day or just being more mindful about keeping your fingers on your keyboard as the deadline ticks away.

You think it's all about willpower

Willpower is overrated. According to Markman, people often believe their commitment is enough to prevent them from falling back into their bad habits. Sadly, a pantry full of cheese popcorn isn’t going to magically become less tempting just because you’ve told yourself you’ll stop gobbling it down while you watch Netflix.

𠇊t this point you’re riding the brakes,” says Markman. “Your motivational system is reminding you of the snack in the kitchen and you have to rely on your willpower to keep you from eating it. But just like in a car, if you ride the brakes long enough, they’re going to fail.”

The solution? Rather than relying on willpower, structure your environment so the thing you want or habit you&aposre trying to break is so difficult to get or do that won’t bother attempting it. Because you can’t eat a pint of ice cream you never bought, right?

You&rsquore going at it alone

News flash: If you succeed in carrying out your resolution, no one’s going to say Congratulations, but it&aposs not that big a deal because you had a support system. “If you find yourself ditching your resolution, phone a friend,” suggests Markman. 𠇏ind somebody who’s willing to serve as your backup so that when you’re about to slip, you can call or text them for support instead.” Crushing your goals਍oesn’t count any less if you do it with a little help from your friends.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter


Exactly What to Do if Your New Year&rsquos Resolution Is Already Slipping

Feel your resolve getting weak? A behavioral psychologist explains the most common reasons resolutions fail&mdashand how to make yours stick.

With each new year comes a new opportunity to better ourselves. We vow to kick our sugar addictions, call our parents more, and check Facebook less. Yet within weeks, most of us are back to snacking, screening parentalꃊlls, and mindlessly scrolling through our newsfeeds.

But before you become one more person observing਍itch Your New Year’s Resolutions Day (yep, it’s a real thing January 17 is the day most people throw in the towel), know this: There’s still time to revamp a resolution that&aposs losing steamਊnd initiate the lasting change you aimed for back on January 1. “The most important thing is to first figure out the top reasons why resolutions fail, and then use that to get back on track,” says behavioral psychologist Art Markman, PhD.

Markman, the author of Smart Change: Five Tools to Create New and Sustainable Habits in Yourself and Others explains the top five reasons New Year’s resolutions fail𠅊nd the small tweaks to make to fix each mistake.

Your resolution is framed in a negative way

We often make resolutions around what we want to stop doing instead of what we want to start doing, says Markman. “When you have a behavior you’re trying to change, whether it’s eating less or checking your email fewer times a day, you actually have to put another behavior in its place,” he explains. “The key is to focus on a positive action that you’re going to perform in the situation where you were doing the old behavior.”

So instead of vowing to give up a certain behavior or do without something, frame your resolution around the new positive action you will do in place of it. Let&aposs say you want to quit mindlessly scrolling through your phoneਊt night. Instead of pledging to turn off your device by 10 p.m., vow to start getting ready for bed at that time instead. This way, you unplug digitally while rewarding yourself with more sleep𠅊 positive action that can motivate real change.

Your end goal is too vague

Resolving to exercise twice a week sounds like a solid plan, but it isn’t targeted enough, says Markman. “Your goal has to be so specific that the actions you’re going to take [to accomplish it] can make it onto your calendar,” he says. “‘Twice a week’ isn’t on your calendar, but ‘Mondays and Thursdays at 4 p.m.’ is.”

Getting specific doesn’t just help you realize what you need to do in order to see your resolution through it also highlights the things that could get in the way of it (think: your weekly manicure also scheduled at 4 p.m. on Thursdays). Start accounting forਊll possible roadblocks, and add into your planner the steps you’re taking to get them out of the way so you can actually make it to the gym, rather than make excuses.

You don't address the root cause

In order to carry out a resolution, you need to know the who, what, when, where, and why of the behavior you’re trying to change. For example, if want to stop biting your nails, pay attention to the circumstances under which you engage in the habit.

“I encourage people failing at their resolution to keep a habit diary for a week or two,” says Markman. “Not so they can change their behavior, but just to watch it and see what they’re doing.” Once you realize that you always bite your nails while anxiously finishing a work project, you’ll be better equipped to take actions to stop it—like buying desk toys to busy your hands throughout the day or just being more mindful about keeping your fingers on your keyboard as the deadline ticks away.

You think it's all about willpower

Willpower is overrated. According to Markman, people often believe their commitment is enough to prevent them from falling back into their bad habits. Sadly, a pantry full of cheese popcorn isn’t going to magically become less tempting just because you’ve told yourself you’ll stop gobbling it down while you watch Netflix.

𠇊t this point you’re riding the brakes,” says Markman. “Your motivational system is reminding you of the snack in the kitchen and you have to rely on your willpower to keep you from eating it. But just like in a car, if you ride the brakes long enough, they’re going to fail.”

The solution? Rather than relying on willpower, structure your environment so the thing you want or habit you&aposre trying to break is so difficult to get or do that won’t bother attempting it. Because you can’t eat a pint of ice cream you never bought, right?

You&rsquore going at it alone

News flash: If you succeed in carrying out your resolution, no one’s going to say Congratulations, but it&aposs not that big a deal because you had a support system. “If you find yourself ditching your resolution, phone a friend,” suggests Markman. 𠇏ind somebody who’s willing to serve as your backup so that when you’re about to slip, you can call or text them for support instead.” Crushing your goals਍oesn’t count any less if you do it with a little help from your friends.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter


Exactly What to Do if Your New Year&rsquos Resolution Is Already Slipping

Feel your resolve getting weak? A behavioral psychologist explains the most common reasons resolutions fail&mdashand how to make yours stick.

With each new year comes a new opportunity to better ourselves. We vow to kick our sugar addictions, call our parents more, and check Facebook less. Yet within weeks, most of us are back to snacking, screening parentalꃊlls, and mindlessly scrolling through our newsfeeds.

But before you become one more person observing਍itch Your New Year’s Resolutions Day (yep, it’s a real thing January 17 is the day most people throw in the towel), know this: There’s still time to revamp a resolution that&aposs losing steamਊnd initiate the lasting change you aimed for back on January 1. “The most important thing is to first figure out the top reasons why resolutions fail, and then use that to get back on track,” says behavioral psychologist Art Markman, PhD.

Markman, the author of Smart Change: Five Tools to Create New and Sustainable Habits in Yourself and Others explains the top five reasons New Year’s resolutions fail𠅊nd the small tweaks to make to fix each mistake.

Your resolution is framed in a negative way

We often make resolutions around what we want to stop doing instead of what we want to start doing, says Markman. “When you have a behavior you’re trying to change, whether it’s eating less or checking your email fewer times a day, you actually have to put another behavior in its place,” he explains. “The key is to focus on a positive action that you’re going to perform in the situation where you were doing the old behavior.”

So instead of vowing to give up a certain behavior or do without something, frame your resolution around the new positive action you will do in place of it. Let&aposs say you want to quit mindlessly scrolling through your phoneਊt night. Instead of pledging to turn off your device by 10 p.m., vow to start getting ready for bed at that time instead. This way, you unplug digitally while rewarding yourself with more sleep𠅊 positive action that can motivate real change.

Your end goal is too vague

Resolving to exercise twice a week sounds like a solid plan, but it isn’t targeted enough, says Markman. “Your goal has to be so specific that the actions you’re going to take [to accomplish it] can make it onto your calendar,” he says. “‘Twice a week’ isn’t on your calendar, but ‘Mondays and Thursdays at 4 p.m.’ is.”

Getting specific doesn’t just help you realize what you need to do in order to see your resolution through it also highlights the things that could get in the way of it (think: your weekly manicure also scheduled at 4 p.m. on Thursdays). Start accounting forਊll possible roadblocks, and add into your planner the steps you’re taking to get them out of the way so you can actually make it to the gym, rather than make excuses.

You don't address the root cause

In order to carry out a resolution, you need to know the who, what, when, where, and why of the behavior you’re trying to change. For example, if want to stop biting your nails, pay attention to the circumstances under which you engage in the habit.

“I encourage people failing at their resolution to keep a habit diary for a week or two,” says Markman. “Not so they can change their behavior, but just to watch it and see what they’re doing.” Once you realize that you always bite your nails while anxiously finishing a work project, you’ll be better equipped to take actions to stop it—like buying desk toys to busy your hands throughout the day or just being more mindful about keeping your fingers on your keyboard as the deadline ticks away.

You think it's all about willpower

Willpower is overrated. According to Markman, people often believe their commitment is enough to prevent them from falling back into their bad habits. Sadly, a pantry full of cheese popcorn isn’t going to magically become less tempting just because you’ve told yourself you’ll stop gobbling it down while you watch Netflix.

𠇊t this point you’re riding the brakes,” says Markman. “Your motivational system is reminding you of the snack in the kitchen and you have to rely on your willpower to keep you from eating it. But just like in a car, if you ride the brakes long enough, they’re going to fail.”

The solution? Rather than relying on willpower, structure your environment so the thing you want or habit you&aposre trying to break is so difficult to get or do that won’t bother attempting it. Because you can’t eat a pint of ice cream you never bought, right?

You&rsquore going at it alone

News flash: If you succeed in carrying out your resolution, no one’s going to say Congratulations, but it&aposs not that big a deal because you had a support system. “If you find yourself ditching your resolution, phone a friend,” suggests Markman. 𠇏ind somebody who’s willing to serve as your backup so that when you’re about to slip, you can call or text them for support instead.” Crushing your goals਍oesn’t count any less if you do it with a little help from your friends.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter


Exactly What to Do if Your New Year&rsquos Resolution Is Already Slipping

Feel your resolve getting weak? A behavioral psychologist explains the most common reasons resolutions fail&mdashand how to make yours stick.

With each new year comes a new opportunity to better ourselves. We vow to kick our sugar addictions, call our parents more, and check Facebook less. Yet within weeks, most of us are back to snacking, screening parentalꃊlls, and mindlessly scrolling through our newsfeeds.

But before you become one more person observing਍itch Your New Year’s Resolutions Day (yep, it’s a real thing January 17 is the day most people throw in the towel), know this: There’s still time to revamp a resolution that&aposs losing steamਊnd initiate the lasting change you aimed for back on January 1. “The most important thing is to first figure out the top reasons why resolutions fail, and then use that to get back on track,” says behavioral psychologist Art Markman, PhD.

Markman, the author of Smart Change: Five Tools to Create New and Sustainable Habits in Yourself and Others explains the top five reasons New Year’s resolutions fail𠅊nd the small tweaks to make to fix each mistake.

Your resolution is framed in a negative way

We often make resolutions around what we want to stop doing instead of what we want to start doing, says Markman. “When you have a behavior you’re trying to change, whether it’s eating less or checking your email fewer times a day, you actually have to put another behavior in its place,” he explains. “The key is to focus on a positive action that you’re going to perform in the situation where you were doing the old behavior.”

So instead of vowing to give up a certain behavior or do without something, frame your resolution around the new positive action you will do in place of it. Let&aposs say you want to quit mindlessly scrolling through your phoneਊt night. Instead of pledging to turn off your device by 10 p.m., vow to start getting ready for bed at that time instead. This way, you unplug digitally while rewarding yourself with more sleep𠅊 positive action that can motivate real change.

Your end goal is too vague

Resolving to exercise twice a week sounds like a solid plan, but it isn’t targeted enough, says Markman. “Your goal has to be so specific that the actions you’re going to take [to accomplish it] can make it onto your calendar,” he says. “‘Twice a week’ isn’t on your calendar, but ‘Mondays and Thursdays at 4 p.m.’ is.”

Getting specific doesn’t just help you realize what you need to do in order to see your resolution through it also highlights the things that could get in the way of it (think: your weekly manicure also scheduled at 4 p.m. on Thursdays). Start accounting forਊll possible roadblocks, and add into your planner the steps you’re taking to get them out of the way so you can actually make it to the gym, rather than make excuses.

You don't address the root cause

In order to carry out a resolution, you need to know the who, what, when, where, and why of the behavior you’re trying to change. For example, if want to stop biting your nails, pay attention to the circumstances under which you engage in the habit.

“I encourage people failing at their resolution to keep a habit diary for a week or two,” says Markman. “Not so they can change their behavior, but just to watch it and see what they’re doing.” Once you realize that you always bite your nails while anxiously finishing a work project, you’ll be better equipped to take actions to stop it—like buying desk toys to busy your hands throughout the day or just being more mindful about keeping your fingers on your keyboard as the deadline ticks away.

You think it's all about willpower

Willpower is overrated. According to Markman, people often believe their commitment is enough to prevent them from falling back into their bad habits. Sadly, a pantry full of cheese popcorn isn’t going to magically become less tempting just because you’ve told yourself you’ll stop gobbling it down while you watch Netflix.

𠇊t this point you’re riding the brakes,” says Markman. “Your motivational system is reminding you of the snack in the kitchen and you have to rely on your willpower to keep you from eating it. But just like in a car, if you ride the brakes long enough, they’re going to fail.”

The solution? Rather than relying on willpower, structure your environment so the thing you want or habit you&aposre trying to break is so difficult to get or do that won’t bother attempting it. Because you can’t eat a pint of ice cream you never bought, right?

You&rsquore going at it alone

News flash: If you succeed in carrying out your resolution, no one’s going to say Congratulations, but it&aposs not that big a deal because you had a support system. “If you find yourself ditching your resolution, phone a friend,” suggests Markman. 𠇏ind somebody who’s willing to serve as your backup so that when you’re about to slip, you can call or text them for support instead.” Crushing your goals਍oesn’t count any less if you do it with a little help from your friends.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter


Exactly What to Do if Your New Year&rsquos Resolution Is Already Slipping

Feel your resolve getting weak? A behavioral psychologist explains the most common reasons resolutions fail&mdashand how to make yours stick.

With each new year comes a new opportunity to better ourselves. We vow to kick our sugar addictions, call our parents more, and check Facebook less. Yet within weeks, most of us are back to snacking, screening parentalꃊlls, and mindlessly scrolling through our newsfeeds.

But before you become one more person observing਍itch Your New Year’s Resolutions Day (yep, it’s a real thing January 17 is the day most people throw in the towel), know this: There’s still time to revamp a resolution that&aposs losing steamਊnd initiate the lasting change you aimed for back on January 1. “The most important thing is to first figure out the top reasons why resolutions fail, and then use that to get back on track,” says behavioral psychologist Art Markman, PhD.

Markman, the author of Smart Change: Five Tools to Create New and Sustainable Habits in Yourself and Others explains the top five reasons New Year’s resolutions fail𠅊nd the small tweaks to make to fix each mistake.

Your resolution is framed in a negative way

We often make resolutions around what we want to stop doing instead of what we want to start doing, says Markman. “When you have a behavior you’re trying to change, whether it’s eating less or checking your email fewer times a day, you actually have to put another behavior in its place,” he explains. “The key is to focus on a positive action that you’re going to perform in the situation where you were doing the old behavior.”

So instead of vowing to give up a certain behavior or do without something, frame your resolution around the new positive action you will do in place of it. Let&aposs say you want to quit mindlessly scrolling through your phoneਊt night. Instead of pledging to turn off your device by 10 p.m., vow to start getting ready for bed at that time instead. This way, you unplug digitally while rewarding yourself with more sleep𠅊 positive action that can motivate real change.

Your end goal is too vague

Resolving to exercise twice a week sounds like a solid plan, but it isn’t targeted enough, says Markman. “Your goal has to be so specific that the actions you’re going to take [to accomplish it] can make it onto your calendar,” he says. “‘Twice a week’ isn’t on your calendar, but ‘Mondays and Thursdays at 4 p.m.’ is.”

Getting specific doesn’t just help you realize what you need to do in order to see your resolution through it also highlights the things that could get in the way of it (think: your weekly manicure also scheduled at 4 p.m. on Thursdays). Start accounting forਊll possible roadblocks, and add into your planner the steps you’re taking to get them out of the way so you can actually make it to the gym, rather than make excuses.

You don't address the root cause

In order to carry out a resolution, you need to know the who, what, when, where, and why of the behavior you’re trying to change. For example, if want to stop biting your nails, pay attention to the circumstances under which you engage in the habit.

“I encourage people failing at their resolution to keep a habit diary for a week or two,” says Markman. “Not so they can change their behavior, but just to watch it and see what they’re doing.” Once you realize that you always bite your nails while anxiously finishing a work project, you’ll be better equipped to take actions to stop it—like buying desk toys to busy your hands throughout the day or just being more mindful about keeping your fingers on your keyboard as the deadline ticks away.

You think it's all about willpower

Willpower is overrated. According to Markman, people often believe their commitment is enough to prevent them from falling back into their bad habits. Sadly, a pantry full of cheese popcorn isn’t going to magically become less tempting just because you’ve told yourself you’ll stop gobbling it down while you watch Netflix.

𠇊t this point you’re riding the brakes,” says Markman. “Your motivational system is reminding you of the snack in the kitchen and you have to rely on your willpower to keep you from eating it. But just like in a car, if you ride the brakes long enough, they’re going to fail.”

The solution? Rather than relying on willpower, structure your environment so the thing you want or habit you&aposre trying to break is so difficult to get or do that won’t bother attempting it. Because you can’t eat a pint of ice cream you never bought, right?

You&rsquore going at it alone

News flash: If you succeed in carrying out your resolution, no one’s going to say Congratulations, but it&aposs not that big a deal because you had a support system. “If you find yourself ditching your resolution, phone a friend,” suggests Markman. 𠇏ind somebody who’s willing to serve as your backup so that when you’re about to slip, you can call or text them for support instead.” Crushing your goals਍oesn’t count any less if you do it with a little help from your friends.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter


Exactly What to Do if Your New Year&rsquos Resolution Is Already Slipping

Feel your resolve getting weak? A behavioral psychologist explains the most common reasons resolutions fail&mdashand how to make yours stick.

With each new year comes a new opportunity to better ourselves. We vow to kick our sugar addictions, call our parents more, and check Facebook less. Yet within weeks, most of us are back to snacking, screening parentalꃊlls, and mindlessly scrolling through our newsfeeds.

But before you become one more person observing਍itch Your New Year’s Resolutions Day (yep, it’s a real thing January 17 is the day most people throw in the towel), know this: There’s still time to revamp a resolution that&aposs losing steamਊnd initiate the lasting change you aimed for back on January 1. “The most important thing is to first figure out the top reasons why resolutions fail, and then use that to get back on track,” says behavioral psychologist Art Markman, PhD.

Markman, the author of Smart Change: Five Tools to Create New and Sustainable Habits in Yourself and Others explains the top five reasons New Year’s resolutions fail𠅊nd the small tweaks to make to fix each mistake.

Your resolution is framed in a negative way

We often make resolutions around what we want to stop doing instead of what we want to start doing, says Markman. “When you have a behavior you’re trying to change, whether it’s eating less or checking your email fewer times a day, you actually have to put another behavior in its place,” he explains. “The key is to focus on a positive action that you’re going to perform in the situation where you were doing the old behavior.”

So instead of vowing to give up a certain behavior or do without something, frame your resolution around the new positive action you will do in place of it. Let&aposs say you want to quit mindlessly scrolling through your phoneਊt night. Instead of pledging to turn off your device by 10 p.m., vow to start getting ready for bed at that time instead. This way, you unplug digitally while rewarding yourself with more sleep𠅊 positive action that can motivate real change.

Your end goal is too vague

Resolving to exercise twice a week sounds like a solid plan, but it isn’t targeted enough, says Markman. “Your goal has to be so specific that the actions you’re going to take [to accomplish it] can make it onto your calendar,” he says. “‘Twice a week’ isn’t on your calendar, but ‘Mondays and Thursdays at 4 p.m.’ is.”

Getting specific doesn’t just help you realize what you need to do in order to see your resolution through it also highlights the things that could get in the way of it (think: your weekly manicure also scheduled at 4 p.m. on Thursdays). Start accounting forਊll possible roadblocks, and add into your planner the steps you’re taking to get them out of the way so you can actually make it to the gym, rather than make excuses.

You don't address the root cause

In order to carry out a resolution, you need to know the who, what, when, where, and why of the behavior you’re trying to change. For example, if want to stop biting your nails, pay attention to the circumstances under which you engage in the habit.

“I encourage people failing at their resolution to keep a habit diary for a week or two,” says Markman. “Not so they can change their behavior, but just to watch it and see what they’re doing.” Once you realize that you always bite your nails while anxiously finishing a work project, you’ll be better equipped to take actions to stop it—like buying desk toys to busy your hands throughout the day or just being more mindful about keeping your fingers on your keyboard as the deadline ticks away.

You think it's all about willpower

Willpower is overrated. According to Markman, people often believe their commitment is enough to prevent them from falling back into their bad habits. Sadly, a pantry full of cheese popcorn isn’t going to magically become less tempting just because you’ve told yourself you’ll stop gobbling it down while you watch Netflix.

𠇊t this point you’re riding the brakes,” says Markman. “Your motivational system is reminding you of the snack in the kitchen and you have to rely on your willpower to keep you from eating it. But just like in a car, if you ride the brakes long enough, they’re going to fail.”

The solution? Rather than relying on willpower, structure your environment so the thing you want or habit you&aposre trying to break is so difficult to get or do that won’t bother attempting it. Because you can’t eat a pint of ice cream you never bought, right?

You&rsquore going at it alone

News flash: If you succeed in carrying out your resolution, no one’s going to say Congratulations, but it&aposs not that big a deal because you had a support system. “If you find yourself ditching your resolution, phone a friend,” suggests Markman. 𠇏ind somebody who’s willing to serve as your backup so that when you’re about to slip, you can call or text them for support instead.” Crushing your goals਍oesn’t count any less if you do it with a little help from your friends.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter


Exactly What to Do if Your New Year&rsquos Resolution Is Already Slipping

Feel your resolve getting weak? A behavioral psychologist explains the most common reasons resolutions fail&mdashand how to make yours stick.

With each new year comes a new opportunity to better ourselves. We vow to kick our sugar addictions, call our parents more, and check Facebook less. Yet within weeks, most of us are back to snacking, screening parentalꃊlls, and mindlessly scrolling through our newsfeeds.

But before you become one more person observing਍itch Your New Year’s Resolutions Day (yep, it’s a real thing January 17 is the day most people throw in the towel), know this: There’s still time to revamp a resolution that&aposs losing steamਊnd initiate the lasting change you aimed for back on January 1. “The most important thing is to first figure out the top reasons why resolutions fail, and then use that to get back on track,” says behavioral psychologist Art Markman, PhD.

Markman, the author of Smart Change: Five Tools to Create New and Sustainable Habits in Yourself and Others explains the top five reasons New Year’s resolutions fail𠅊nd the small tweaks to make to fix each mistake.

Your resolution is framed in a negative way

We often make resolutions around what we want to stop doing instead of what we want to start doing, says Markman. “When you have a behavior you’re trying to change, whether it’s eating less or checking your email fewer times a day, you actually have to put another behavior in its place,” he explains. “The key is to focus on a positive action that you’re going to perform in the situation where you were doing the old behavior.”

So instead of vowing to give up a certain behavior or do without something, frame your resolution around the new positive action you will do in place of it. Let&aposs say you want to quit mindlessly scrolling through your phoneਊt night. Instead of pledging to turn off your device by 10 p.m., vow to start getting ready for bed at that time instead. This way, you unplug digitally while rewarding yourself with more sleep𠅊 positive action that can motivate real change.

Your end goal is too vague

Resolving to exercise twice a week sounds like a solid plan, but it isn’t targeted enough, says Markman. “Your goal has to be so specific that the actions you’re going to take [to accomplish it] can make it onto your calendar,” he says. “‘Twice a week’ isn’t on your calendar, but ‘Mondays and Thursdays at 4 p.m.’ is.”

Getting specific doesn’t just help you realize what you need to do in order to see your resolution through it also highlights the things that could get in the way of it (think: your weekly manicure also scheduled at 4 p.m. on Thursdays). Start accounting forਊll possible roadblocks, and add into your planner the steps you’re taking to get them out of the way so you can actually make it to the gym, rather than make excuses.

You don't address the root cause

In order to carry out a resolution, you need to know the who, what, when, where, and why of the behavior you’re trying to change. For example, if want to stop biting your nails, pay attention to the circumstances under which you engage in the habit.

“I encourage people failing at their resolution to keep a habit diary for a week or two,” says Markman. “Not so they can change their behavior, but just to watch it and see what they’re doing.” Once you realize that you always bite your nails while anxiously finishing a work project, you’ll be better equipped to take actions to stop it—like buying desk toys to busy your hands throughout the day or just being more mindful about keeping your fingers on your keyboard as the deadline ticks away.

You think it's all about willpower

Willpower is overrated. According to Markman, people often believe their commitment is enough to prevent them from falling back into their bad habits. Sadly, a pantry full of cheese popcorn isn’t going to magically become less tempting just because you’ve told yourself you’ll stop gobbling it down while you watch Netflix.

𠇊t this point you’re riding the brakes,” says Markman. “Your motivational system is reminding you of the snack in the kitchen and you have to rely on your willpower to keep you from eating it. But just like in a car, if you ride the brakes long enough, they’re going to fail.”

The solution? Rather than relying on willpower, structure your environment so the thing you want or habit you&aposre trying to break is so difficult to get or do that won’t bother attempting it. Because you can’t eat a pint of ice cream you never bought, right?

You&rsquore going at it alone

News flash: If you succeed in carrying out your resolution, no one’s going to say Congratulations, but it&aposs not that big a deal because you had a support system. “If you find yourself ditching your resolution, phone a friend,” suggests Markman. 𠇏ind somebody who’s willing to serve as your backup so that when you’re about to slip, you can call or text them for support instead.” Crushing your goals਍oesn’t count any less if you do it with a little help from your friends.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter