Three out of four people who make New Year’s resolutions, stay true to them through the first week. Six months later down the road, nearly half have abandoned their goals. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The top resolutions for 2012 include: Quitting smoking, getting into the habit of being fit, and losing weight.
Tim Reeder of Omaha, said, “I make resolutions every year. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I fail.”
This year is no exception. “Getting finances in order, paying off those credit cards,” he said. But the biggest thing, he said, “to lose weight, finally."
He added, "I have an action plan and day-to-day activities to make it happen."
That’s smart, said Martha Nepper, a registered dietitian for the 51st and Center St. Hy-Vee store. She advises beginning by making a shopping list that includes more fruit, vegetables and whole grains, as well as switching to low-fat milk.
Meal planning, she said, is key. "Decide what you're going to eat as a family meal, together as a family. Because research has found that families that eat together eat more nutritiously and have better overall health,” Nepper said.
The exercise part can be daunting, especially for beginners, which is why Exercise Physiologist Kristina Volkmer, with the Nebraska Medical Center Diabetes Center, recommends taking baby steps. "If you're starting a fitness plan, do you have your shoes, gym membership, clothes, time to exercise?"
She joked, “If you got a Wii for Christmas, the first step would be taking it out of the box.
Volkmer said we don’t need a gym membership. We just need to start walking, and this mild winter weather gives us a great opportunity. "So maybe start out with 10-minutes a day for a month. And then, maybe in February, start 20-minutes of exercise." Ideally, she said, we’d all get a good 30-minutes of physical activity in every day.
Fitness isn't the issue for Rene Pratt of Omaha. "I don't make resolutions. I make goals. And I’ve got some lofty ones for this year," she said. Those goals include leaving a career in elementary education and becoming a personal trainer, with an emphasis in children’s fitness.
Her strategy for success? "Just being true to yourself,” she said. “I have a lot of support from friends and they hold me accountable, and they believe in me."
Volkmer said having people hold you accountable is helpful, and working out with friends can be fun. She also recommends rewarding yourself each time you achieve a goal, perhaps by buying a new pair of shoes or having a manicure.
Nepper added that it’s important to be realistic. “Instead of achieving a really large goal, like I’m going to lose 50 pounds this year, maybe try and make it smaller, like I’m going to lose five pounds by this summer. But today in order to get me to that goal, I’m going to walk for a few minutes outside if I haven’t been walking at all.”