At time of year, there’s  a lot of debate as to whether or not to make New Year’s Resolutions. Everyone seems to have an opinion; and those who are anti-resolution believe there will be a  lack of follow through once the novelty of the resolutions wears off.  Thus, they feel it’s setting you up for failure.

What is a resolution? A resolution is a firm decision to do or not do something. Hmmm, what’s so bad about that? I’m all for making New Year’s resolutions, but I also think making resolutions toward improving one’s health could be made at any time during the year. The majority of people don’t necessarily follow through with New Year’s resolutions, but there are a bunch that do. If the new year inspires you to to be proactive, that’s a good thing.

I’d like to offer some ways to help put you on the road to success. It’s always a good idea to take charge of your health and commit to a healthier eating plan and physical activity goals, but, in a realistic fashion. Going cold turkey and thinking things are going to magically change overnight aren’t realistic, and that would be likely setting yourself up for failure. It is important to be thoughtful and mindful to set yourself up for success and everlasting changes that support your health endeavors.

A Good Place To Start Is To Use The Acronym SMART 

These are goals to help you outline a plan. They’re real, specific and include accountability, a key component.

SMART stands for:

Specific – Make a strong, clear statement of what you want to achieve. 

Measurable – Make sure you have quantifiable elements.

Attainable – Be sure your resolution is achievable.

Relevant – Make sure resolutions coincide with your needs.

Time-Bound – Set a realistic time frame to achieve your goals. 

Setting specific goals can help outline the plan. For example, just saying “I want to lose weight” is vague and doesn’t touch on the specific components needed. Within the umbrella term “weight loss” are other specific health improvement aspects, such as eat more fruits and vegetables, gain more energy, increase body strength, etc.

I also think that other “little things,” in conjunction your SMART goals, can help you stay in control of your health.

Here are my tips:

  • Take baby steps! Starting small can help lead you towards the path of success.
  • Have a plan! Whether it involves exercise or meal planning, having a plan is key. 
  • Track your progress! Whether technology or a good old-fashioned notebook is your thing, monitoring your progress can help keep you on track.
  • Make yourself accountable! Whether it’s with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, an online group, an in-person support group or a supportive friend, stating your goals out loud will help you stick with them and serve as a huge
  • Be creative! Choose fun ways to help achieve your goals such as taking a fitness or cooking class, buying a cookbook or a new pot, etc. (Also note, when your goals becomes habits, changing things up helps keep the momentum going.)
  • Give yourself a jumpstart! Treat yourself to something new to inspire your health journey, perhaps meal-planning containers, new workout clothes or a new pretty notebook to monitor your progress.
  • Be your own cheerleader! It’s totally okay to bask in your own progress, especially after your resolutions become second nature and become part of your everyday life. Why not, you earned it!

So back to my earlier question, are resolutions good? I think so – do you? What are some of your resolutions for 2019?

Wendy Kaplan, MS, RDN, CSO, CDCES, CDN is a registered nutritionist specializing in oncology and weight management in Long Island and in the New York City area. Connect with Wendy on FacebookInstagram and Twitter and read more of her blog posts and download recipes at Food4HealthRD.comof her blog posts and download recipes at


  1. Eileen

    Great advice!!

    • Wendy Kaplan, MS, RDN, CDN

      Thank you! I.m glad you found it helpful!

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