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Healthy Living: Set some health goals you can stick to for 2020

By Rachel Driscoll

January 21, 2020

Every year millions around the world see the New Year as a fresh start and an opportunity to accomplish big goals in the upcoming year. Many of us have started previous years with the resolve to lose 20 pounds, run a 5K, meditate more or eat less sugar, only to be exhausted and frustrated by February. So how do we create a plan for 2020 (and beyond) that we can actually stick to?

First, it’s important to clearly define your goal and what is motivating you to change. Why do you want to lose weight or eat better? Be specific with exactly what you want to achieve. In setting goals, remember to think SMART; goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound are more likely to be achieved. Instead of saying “I want to get in shape”, an example of a SMART goal would be “I want to walk one mile every other day” or “I want to drink eight glasses of water every day”.

Small changes are easiest to achieve and will make a big difference as you move towards a healthier lifestyle. Achieving a small goal instills confidence and helps you to stay on track. Avoid having an “all or nothing” attitude. Aiming to eliminate all carbohydrates or go to the gym for an hour every day may be unrealistic and can set you up for disappointment. It may be tempting to opt for a quick fix diet with the goal to lose 5 to 10 pounds rapidly, however these diets often aren’t maintainable for long periods and can lead to disordered eating. The “all or nothing” approach offers little balance or flexibility, which are essential for long term success.

Instead of focusing on what you want to take out of your diet, think about what you can add to promote a healthier routine in 2020. For example, perhaps you can try to add a vegetable with lunch and dinner or walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator at least once during your workday.

While some view Jan. 1 as a fresh slate and a perfect time to press the reset button, it’s important to make changes when you feel ready regardless of the calendar day. Take the time to develop a plan, finding strategies to hold yourself accountable and keep track of your progress. Creating a support system in friends, family members, coworkers or even a gym buddy with whom you can share your challenges and successes can give you a boost of confidence and help you stay on track.

Looking to stay warm with a soup on these cold January nights? Try the Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla soup that utilizes a low sodium chicken broth as its base. While the canned version of this soup may have upwards of 700 to 800 mg of sodium (almost one-third of your daily limit), this easy homemade soup only has 350 mg of sodium per serving. For the full recipe and nutrition facts visit https://recipes.heart.org/en/recipes/chicken-tortilla-soup--delicious-decisions

The Bristol Health Outpatient Nutrition Office offers nutrition counseling to patients hoping to manage medical conditions or improve their diet and overall health. Our registered dietitian can provide a personalized approach in helping you to meet your nutrition and health goals. Contact our office at 860-940-6741 for more information about how to make an appointment with our registered dietitian.