Can you believe it’s time for another New Year’s Resolution?

I’m pass along my tips for making a successful, health-full New Year’s Resolution again. I’ve posted these tips for the last 2 years and this year I am adding two more.

You may be wondering if it’s worth it to make a resolution at all. I mean really does anyone ever keep them? Well, not everyone does. But a lot do.
In fact, the statistics show that it’s worth a try.

According to the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology, 40-46% of people who make a resolution keep them after 6 months. That’s a little less than half.

Not bad.

And it certainly beats the meager 0-4% of people who are able to make similar changes but did not make a resolution.

Your chances of success are 10x greater if you make a resolution.

The difference is… those that make a resolution DECIDE it is time and they SHARE their decision with friends and/or family. Deciding and being held accountable – these are very powerful.

Another very important component comes even before you make the decision.  I’ll admit this one was heavily influenced by my recent trip on the Polar Express so you can guess what it is. It’s to BELIEVE.

So without further ado, here are my 7 Tips for a Healthier, Happier YOU.

1.  Believe.  Believe that you were not meant to live your life feeling drained, uncomfortable or sad. And imagine how feeling healthy and strong will positively impact all aspects of your life. Believe the change is possible and that YOU are capable of making it. Push aside self-defeating thoughts that it’s too hard or you don’t have time.  Believe that tiny consistent steps will make the difference in your life.  Look for examples of people who have overcome health obstacles as inspiration.

2.  First things first. Address any food allergies or intolerances first. Any attempt to ‘be healthy’ will be trumped by your body’s defense mechanisms that deal with these food allergies/intolerances and you’re unlikely to feel any better. Take these seriously and take the extra step to ask for gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free or whatever-free options. More and more people and restaurants are becoming aware of these issues and usually have some alternative to offer. Believe you are important enough to make that special request.

3.  Be SMART. Make sure you resolution or goal is Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time specific. A realistic achievable goal will do much more for your health and your psyche. Losing 1- to 2- pounds a week is realistic and achievable. Losing 20 lbs in a month is not. The same applies if you are trying to give up certain foods. Going cold turkey on sugar, coffee or even gluten may prove to be a bit too much.  So, take baby steps and reduce your amounts gradually over a specific time frame.

4.  Get support. It’s more fun and easier to be held accountable to someone. That way you can share the victories and get the much needed support when you stumble. Plus, allowing yourself to receive support will do wonders for decreasing stress levels. Choosing a friend or spouse is great but sometimes seeking professional help and the advice that goes with it can be extremely beneficial.

5.  Get in the Kitchen. Who’s kidding who? If your resolution has anything to do with health, then YOU HAVE TO GET IN YOUR KITCHEN. Invest in (simple) cookbooks or cooking classes. Watch the Food Channel.  Experiment and have fun with it. Tips 6 & 7 will be meaningless if you are not willing to make some of your own meals.

6.  Eat well-balanced meals. Those cravings or extreme moods are not just in your head or your weak willpower. Those cravings are your body’s way of letting you know it did not get what it needed and needs more. It’s best to give your body the nutrients it needs in order to curb back those cravings. Remember it’s the quality not quantity that matters.

7.  Plan ahead. This is key because sometimes it becomes a question of survival not willpower. If you don’t have anything ‘good’ (i.e. healthy) to eat in your kitchen, then your chances of success are slim. You’ll grab the first thing or most convenient food you can because you’re hungry and in a hurry. Plan your meals and snacks for the week, make a shopping list and buy only what’s on your list. Stocking your pantry and fridge with healthful foods and getting rid of the junk food will increase your success rate immensely. Your environment is everything.

In the spirit of Health-full New Year’s Resolutions and getting in your kitchen, I will be teaching Cooking Classes at TASTE Kitchen & Table here in Fairfax, CA.

We’ve got a great line up of classes in January, February and March. These classes will teach you the habits and skills you need to make your resolution for a Healthy New Year that much easier.

To learn more about the classes and what’s on the menu, click here.  I hope to see you in the kitchen.

Wishing you the happiest and healthiest New Year,