New Year’s resolutions are stupid. Having specific goals for the New Year is smart. Where so many people go wrong with their goals is that they make them too subjective. There is no true measure of success or failure. I believe this is why so many people are back to their same old ways within a couple weeks of deciding to “change their lives.”
If you want to be successful at something you have to be motivated to do it. I know, that isn’t very ground breaking, but it is the truth. The motivation you have on day one of the process will likely waiver as time progresses, that is human nature. To combat this, and ensure your motivation stays high throughout the process, you need to set specific goals you can drive for over the short and long-term.
Once those goals have been outlined and put into place, it’s time to execute. This is what I am here to write about today: creating habits that will ensure success on your New Year’s nutrition plan!
Creating good habits is pivotal to any goal but I have chosen to apply it to nutrition because so many people start January 1st saying, “my goal is to get control of my diet and lose this weight!” Let’s see how we can create some habits to ensure this is the year that the extra 20 pounds ends up disappearing into the great unknown instead of colonizing on your cottage cheese ass.
Have a List of Acceptable Foods
Knowing exactly what you CAN eat is important to ensure your success. This becomes especially relevant for the college students who rely on the school’s dining hall for a majority of their meals. The dining hall has a continual rotation of all types of six-pack killing dishes. Knowing what is available on a daily basis that will aid you in meeting your nutrition goals is key.
Even evaluating the little things is important. As an example, to flavor your foods you may be able to utilize mustard, ketchup, fat free mayonnaise, but not the sugar laden barbecue sauce. Small things like this can swing one meal’s sugar content 20+ grams.
Know When You Are Going to Eat
You should wake up every morning knowing exactly when you are going to eat all your meals. Planning your meals just as you plan your class schedule or group meetings will help you stay the healthy course.
What happens if you don’t create a habit of eating your meals at a certain time? Maybe you miss a meal, have to sit through a two-hour class, and now haven’t eaten for five hours. Now you’re starving, your blood sugar levels are out of whack, and you’re more susceptible to binge eat to overcompensate.
We as humans can justify anything in our heads. When you become “hangy” (hungry and angry) it is very easy to justify throwing the diet out the door to be happy and full again. “Fuck this diet, I want that pizza more than oxygen right now!”
Prepare Your Daily Meals the Night Before
Monday morning, your alarm clock starts buzzing and you’re stuck between a world of dreamy relaxation and reality. In an unconscious haze of a mind set, you hit the snooze button. Thirty minutes later you jolt from the bed onto your feet. “Fuck, I overslept!”
You have to rush out the door to make that mid-term review session with zero time available to prepare your daily meals. Now what? You have two options: (1) rely on vending machines and a small café for a sandwich, or (2) go without food all day until you get home at night. Obviously both options suck.
This is why preparing your meals the night before is so important. Getting in this habit ensures no matter what life throws at you the next morning or throughout the day, you have done your work and can take it in stride without straying from your goal’s path.
Plan Your Cheat Meals
If your diet allows for cheat meals, be specific as to when you will indulge. If you are not specific and go by the thought process of, “I’ll have my cheat meal when I ‘NEED’ one,” you will find yourself cheating too soon and too often.
Once again this comes back to what we can justify in our heads. You could be walking to class and pass someone eating a cannoli; suddenly it is your cheat day. Two days into a new diet and you have already scarfed a dozen pastries.
I personally have gotten into the habit of having my cheat meals on Sunday nights. It’s easy, convenient, and helps ease the pain of knowing the weekend is over. Do what works for your unique facts and circumstances.
Track Your Metrics
“Dear Journal, today I felt like shit on low carbs.” -Little Girl
Make a habit of tracking your metrics/statistics. A few metrics you can track are your weight, your body fat percentage, your body’s measurements, your mood, and anything else you can think of. Do not just track these mentally. Put them down on paper! This will give you something to look over to ensure you are making progress and motivate you to stick to your plans.
Now Turn Those Goals into Achievements
There you go. I have outlined five nutritional habits that will help you stay the course and finally fulfill your diet goals. Think these are bullshit? Apply them religiously for one month straight and you’ll be blown away.
The proof is in the pudding; except habit #1 doesn’t allow you pudding so forget that analogy.