How to plan properly in 2017

We have determined our new year’s resolutions and we are ready and set for the year 2017. According to the number one New Year’s resolution for 2017 is weight loss and / or healthier eating, coming in at 21.4%. The second most common resolution is life- / self-improvement at 12.3%. It is hard to improve your life or self without improving your eating patterns and overall health. This means that 1/3rd of all participants want to improve themselves, their life and directly or indirectly their overall health.

According to Forbes only 8% of people actually achieve their goals at the end of the year. That means that a staggering 92% give up during the year. What makes it so difficult to keep a New Year’s resolution? Well it might be because we do either of the following.

Our goals are too unrealistic:

We set up a bucket list of things that we want to achieve, with no plan of how to ever achieve them.

We dream big, instead of breaking the goals up into manageable parts that are achievable. Instead we get frustrated and demotivated and quit, rather than trying again.

What can we do about this:

Keep the goals simple and tangible. A great way to start is to set SMART goals: choose something that is Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. If we set a goal in a too short period of time, we are setting ourselves up for failure. If we are unrealistic about our expectations of ourselves we will also be part of the 92% that quit.

Today we focus on the number one New Year’s resolution for 2017: weight loss and healthier eating! Let’s break it down into easier, specific and realistic parts:

  • Planning for mealtimes
    • Plan your meals ahead – set one day a week out where you will plan all your main meals for the following week.
    • Make a list – see what ingredients you have available in your cupboards and make a list of what other ingredients you need. This way you only have to do shopping once a week and you are less likely to order take-aways or choose convenient meals.
    • Never do shopping on an empty stomach – if it is close to a meal time buy a proper snack (fruit salad with yoghurt, sandwich, nuts and biltong) while on your way to the shops. Better yet – ensure one of your snack packs is always nearby (in your hand bag, desk drawer at work or in the car).
  • Eat regular meals
    • Prepare ahead – if you like to have fruit salad and yoghurt for breakfast, but you tend to skip breakfast because of the time constraint, you can use this tip. On the same day you do shopping you can prepare your fruit and vegetables, portion your snacks into small ziplock bags or portion your meat. This way you can just grab a snack pack on the go.
    • Prepare lunch for the next day before you go to bed, this way there will ALWAYS be a lunchbox to take with to work – even on those days where everyone is late for school or work.
    • Cook in bulk – if you know that you will be busy for a couple days (due to work / deadlines / meetings) cook an extra big pot of food and store in the fridge to just heat up. Or you can freeze the leftover food and just pop in the microwave later in the week / month.
  • Consume enough fluids
    • We often confuse our hunger and thirst cues. If you just had lunch and you still feel peckish afterwards you are probably thirsty.
    • Water can be bland – to motivate you to drink more water you can infuse the water with fruit / vegetables or herbs or even use sparkling water instead of still.

A goal like healthy eating can be simple – but we still need to break it down into smaller steps, identify our problem areas and find solutions for these. Should you require any help, guidance or motivation – make an appointment with your nearest dietitian. Do not be part of the 92% that give up during the year – this year you can do it!