British Columbia

How to follow through on your New Year's resolutions

The vast majority of New Year's resolutions fall flat, according to experts, but there are some specific tricks to keep yourself on track.

Big goals can be tough to meet, while vague resolutions are hard to track, say lifestyle experts

LIfestyle expert Gary LeBlanc says most New Year's resolutions get left behind before the end of January. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The holiday hangover is upon us, and what better way to wipe the slate clean than to rid ourselves of all our bad habits through some perfectly achieveable New Year's resolutions?

Unfortunately, the grand bulk of resolutions get left behind after the first few weeks of the year. According to lifestyle expert and author Gary LeBlanc, the patterns are nearly universal.

"The most common resolutions typically revolve around your classic nutrition and weight loss," LeBlanc told host Gloria Macarenko on CBC's BC Almanac. "It's often a symptom of people having let it go the year before and going through the Christmas holiday."

LeBlanc says in most cases, those who embark on these annual goals tend to let them fizzle near the end of January — the same month that gym memberships tend to spike.

"I think we bite off more than we can chew."

Keeping it simple

But there are ways of hanging on to your goals — and the key is to keep them simple.

According to food and nutrition expert Patricia Chuey, one of the first times people falter is when they make their goals to begin with.

"Nearly 80 per cent of people who make resolutions state that their goal is simply to live a healthier lifestyle," she said. "That's fantastic, but not nearly specific enough — it's quite an overwhelming thing to look at, turning your entire life around."

Chuey says setting small, specific and measurable goals will make it easier to follow through on them. She offered three easy new habits for the health savvy goal-maker.

  • Go for a 20 minute walk daily.
  • Fill half of your plate with vegetables for every meal.
  • Consult with a doctor to add a vitamin that you might be lacking to your diet.

Chuey also says be sure to track what you're eating and how much exercise you're getting daily.

Food and nutrition expert Patricia Chuey says people should make specific, achievable behavioural changes — such as filling half your plate with vegetables for every meal. (Getty Images)

The 80/20 rule

Chuey says if you're going to dive head first into a new diet, don't be too hard on yourself, because it can lead to stress and ultimately relapse.

"If we're not aiming to be 100 per cent perfect, then we're never really falling off the wagon," she said.

Chuey says it's more reasonable to commit to making healthy choices 80 per cent of the time, which will leave you room to indulge — and keep your sanity.

"Ask yourself, 'What have I eaten today?' If 80 per cent of it was good, you're moving in a positive direction."

With files from CBC's BC Almanac

To listen to the full interview, click on the audio labelled: How to follow through on your New Year's resolutions