Turn your resolutions into real solutions

By: By Sydney Johnson - Contributing columnist

Have you been working hard this week towards your New Year’s resolution? During the holidays, I hear a lot of people say “I’m going to make major changes starting January 1st” or “I’m really going to eat healthier after New Year’s” but a few weeks or months go by and those goals have been thrown out the window. It is too often that our resolutions are unrealistic and we expect immediate perfection. We get ourselves ready to eat healthy and exercise, depriving ourselves completely of the foods we most enjoy and spending every day in the gym. After a few weeks we are burnt out. Instead, try starting with small steps and celebrating milestones along the way. These small steps are shown to be more helpful strategies in keeping resolutions.

A great resource to help turn those resolutions into real solutions is USDA’s MyPlate, My Wins. Myplate, My Wins helps you find healthy solutions by focusing on all five MyPlate food groups including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. MyPlate tips and tools helps can help you make small, practical changes that can provide big results over time. With a customized healthy eating checklist, tip sheets from meal planning to a healthier daily coffee, and the Super Tracker, a free online food and activity tracker, you are sure to have all the resources you need to make big wins in 2017. MyPlate Super Tracker is hosting a 5-week MyPlate New Year’s Challenge. The focus of the Challenge is on the 5 MyPlate food groups and incorporating healthier eating style into your life. The Challenge began on January 2nd, but you are still able to sign up online.

There is also a new video series available with MyPlate, My Wins. New videos will be launched every week for the next 5 weeks. These videos give examples of simple changes you can make to your typical meals to decrease sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars. These videos provide solutions that can actually fit in to your busy life, such as quick breakfast ideas and healthier take out options.

To sign up for the Challenge, visit https://supertracker.usda.gov. You can also visit https://choosemyplate.gov/myplate-mywins for resources to make healthier changes in 2017.

Follow these five tips from choosemyplate.gov to help your resolutions become real solutions:

1. Star with small changes – Instead of a diet overhaul, make small changes to what you eat and drink that will work for you now and in the future.

2. Take one day at a time – Sometimes things don’t go as planned, even with the best of intentions. If you miss one day or one milestone for your goal, don’t give up.

3. Be active your way – Pick activities you enjoy! If you focus on having fun or learning a new skill that interests you, you will be more likely to stick with it.

4. Team up – Find a friend with similar goals. Swap healthy recipes and be active together. Staying on track is easier with support and a cheerleader.

5. Celebrate successes – Think of each change as a “win” as you build positive habits and find ways to reach your goals. Reward yourself, you’ve earned it!

By Sydney Johnson

Contributing columnist

Sydney Johnson is an Area Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.

Sydney Johnson is an Area Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.