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How to Set the Best New Year’s Resolution

January 2, 2017 by Ginger Hultin MS RDN

Have you ever noticed that many New Year’s Resolutions are all about quitting, stopping, decreasing, or other generally negative goals? The New Year is a beautiful, fresh start and I wanted to offer an alternative to the usual goals of “lose weight”, “quit smoking”, “drink less alcohol”, “spend less money”, “eat less junk food”. The tricky thing with traditional goals like these is that they focus on things to avoid or reduce instead of highlighting the positive things you want more of in the New Year. Instead of setting a goal around avoiding and reducing, why not work on setting a balanced New Year’s Resolution that focuses on cultivating positive change in your life? In honor of a healthy, happy New Year, I’ve got everything you need to know about How to Set the Best New Year’s Resolution.

There is no need to punish yourself going into a new year – this is the start of new  beginnings and opportunities to focus on bringing in more of the things that make you happy and healthy. Whether you pick a more traditional New Year’s resolution (like the ones listed above) or a resolution that focuses on adding more positivity to your life, make sure your goals are specific, actionable, and lighthearted. Bring balance to these goals by keeping them fun and realistic to make sure you can be successful with your goals and will have a blast achieving them!

 And remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. What are you looking forward to in this wonderful New Year full of opportunity?

How to Set the Best New Year's Resolution

Setting a Balanced New Year’s Resolution

One thing that I strongly  suggest when thinking about starting your new year off right is reflecting on how you spent your December and how you’ll spend your New Year’s Eve. I refuse to start the New Year hungover or super tired from being out late. I do love a good party but I try to aim for something low-key and I really do focus on my health. It can be really fun to plan something active for the 1st – a hike outdoors or even a 5k or a walk with friends. If you’re coming off the holidays (here’s my post about controlling stress over the holidays!), then you may need to schedule in some down-time in the New Year.

Here are my 5 favorite ideas for How to Set the Best New Year’s Resolution:


  • Travel more


Be specific here – where do you desire to go this year? Start planning now or better yet, buy a plane ticket! A lot of people have travel goals but few actually take the steps to make them happen. I do like to plan trips well ahead of time. If you’re on your own, consider a tour or group that is somewhat planned for you. If you have a friend or relative that has ever mentioned they want to travel with you, ring them up and get it set. Look at fight deals and either book your ticket and lodging or put a savings plan into place so you can hit your goal of travel this year. If international isn’t in the cards, there are so may incredible places to go in the US. A couple of my personal favorites? New York City, the Oregon coast on the Pacific Ocean, camping in Wisconsin on a river, Fort Myers, Florida, Kansas City, Missouri, Washington DC, or Park City, Utah. So many options! What are some of your favorites?


  • Start a monthly dinner club


Want to go out more? Want to socialize with friends more or connect in a different way? Maybe experiment with more home-cooked recipes? Make some reservations for your dinner club. My previous group, the Unsettled Dinner Club, choosed to try new, trendy places in the city. We got to all the new hotspots by setting reservations in advance and committing to going out together once a month. An older dinner club I was in chose International cuisine that was BYOB for easier check splitting and more affordable pricing. We still got to try all the unique places in our neighborhoods. Now I’m in a wine club that’s ALSO a dinner club and each person rotates hosting by cooking food at home for everyone else. If you need to or want to stay in but still love to socialize then just get a monthly potluck on the calendar – try choosing different themes that match each month of the year or span across your favorite international cuisines. 


  • Commit to community service


You know you should ‘give back’ so let’s get going! Try a site like Volunteer Match, check out your local Craiglist (Volunteer tab under “Community”), or ask a local school, church or food bank if they need help. Pick a volunteer opportunity that resonates with your interests or values. If you love to cook, volunteer at a soup kitchen; if you love to knit, make blankets for people with Alzheimer’s in care homes; if you are passionate about the environment, plan a local roadside or beach cleanup day. Commit to one year’s worth of time – once a week, once a month, more or less depending on your schedule. Getting it into your schedule is key for  sticking with this long-term. 


  • Get more and better sleep


Sleep hygiene is a term that encompasses practices and habits that lead to sleeping better on a regular basis. Invest in those black-out curtains or sound machine. Pick a realistic nightly bedtime goal and stick with it all through January. If you have real troubles with sleeping, perhaps it is time to schedule a sleep study or meet with a therapist to learn more about how to manage late-night anxiety and finally sleep better. 


  • Start a movement group


Research shows much better compliance with an activity if there is social support or a partner. Ask a friend, a neighbor or co-worker (or better yet, a group of folks!) to join you on a chosen day in the week, rain or shine, to get in some movement of your choice. Whether walking, running, rock climbing, dancing, boxing, or ultimate frisbee, pick whatever type of movement most appeals to you and get moving! If investing more time in pursuing fitness, building a new hobby, or meeting new friends are goals for you in the New Year, consider starting a healthy and active group in your community. And just know that if you can get this started in the dark of winter, you’ll be having a blast together as you head towards spring! 

Have a Happy and Balanced fresh start in your New Year. Enjoy!

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Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO

An award-winning, nationally recognized nutrition expert and media spokesperson.

Thanks for visiting! If you’re like me: obsessed with eating, wine, going out and traveling, you’re in the right place. Champagne Nutrition® LLC is a Registered Dietitian-run concierge virtual practice helping clients look and feel better. On this blog, you’ll find cocktails, mocktails, and plant-based recipes that are easy to make quickly at home and pack for leftovers on your adventures.

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