It’s Time to Get Real(istic) about your New Year’s Resolutions

| Posted On Jan 03, 2012 | By:

If you are one of the millions of Americans who have made a New Year’s resolution to somehow improve your health, good for you!  The top three health-related resolutions are to quit smoking, to lose weight, and to exercise more, and research suggests that 60% of those who make New Year’s resolutions keep them for at least part of the year.   The bad news is, the other 40% of us find it too hard to keep our resolutions.  In fact, at least 25% of those who resolve to make a change won’t even make it past the first week.

The biggest reasons most New Year’s resolutions aren’t kept are because they are usually too ambitious and there is no specific plan of attack.   Change takes time, and habits (especially those which we’ve spent a lifetime developing) are hard to break.  Diet and weight loss changes are some of the most difficult to tackle because our eating habits often come with lots of excess baggage.  Most of us eat the way we do not because we’re thinking about our health, but for comfort, or because we’re stressed, or out of habit, or family tradition.

So, as we start a new year, I would like to encourage you to be more realistic about your resolutions. Psychologists know that individuals who set small, tangible, one-day-at-a-time goals tend to be more successful.  Rather than resolving to “lose weight” or “eat healthier,” work on making small, manageable changes in your diet, which, over time, will result in weight loss or better health.  If you are a perpetual “resolution breaker,” focus on making only one of the following changes at a time.  Work at it until it becomes a new healthy habit, and then build on your success and add another change.

Finally, remember that big changes always take more time to master, while smaller changes like these can happen quickly and still have a positive impact on your health.  Anyone who resolves to change their habits will have successes as well as setbacks throughout the year, but if it’s important to you, don’t give up!   Keep a journal and document your progress as well as your failures.  Reassess your strategy periodically, if necessary.  Surround yourself with others who have common goals: friends, family, co-workers, healthcare professionals, or even an online group to get extra support and encouragement when you need it. Good luck!

White Bean Dip

Next time you are cooking something in the oven, roast an entire head of garlic (with skin on) at 350°F for an hour, or until soft.

1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 sprig fresh rosemary, or ½ tsp dry
1 head of garlic, roasted, cooled – squeeze out cloves and discard skin
2 Tbs olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processer and blend well.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Feta Yogurt Dip

1 cup plain Greek yogurt (fat free)
3 oz feta cheese, crumbled
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
2 Tbs chopped scallion
1 Tbs  fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt, pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend well.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Chill until serving.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About Anne Danahy, MS, RD, LDN

Anne Danahy, MS, RD, LDN has been a Nutritionist with Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates for the past 15 years, and she currently works as the “Virtual Nutritionist." Her professional interests include weight management, heart disease, and women’s nutritional issues. When she isn’t working, you can usually find her in the kitchen testing recipes that are healthy AND delicious.


  1. Very helpful article. Thank you for posting.

    Comment by Eileen on February 3, 2012 at 6:58 am

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *