How do I make New Year’s resolutions I can keep?

How do I make New Year’s resolutions I can keep?

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With a new year comes an old story: New Year’s resolutions. They come in all flavors, from unlearning bad habits to learning new skills, from working harder to working less, from losing weight to eating healthier.

But as fast as you can say the words, that’s how fast you hear the classic echo about how they always get broken. New exercising picks up in January, then falls off. Healthier eating and breaking all sorts of habits pick in January, then fall off.

How do we change this pattern and actually get what we want from changing everyday behaviors, which are the stuff of most resolutions?

Successful changes don’t start with feelings of sacrifice.

Across the spectrum of resolutions, the ones that don’t come true often start with a feeling of sacrifice, of giving up what you want.

The journey starts with the goal.

But successful resolutions don’t start with sacrifice—what you don’t want. They begin with what you do want, what you’re going to add to your life. You want to feel better, have more energy, do better. In a word: you want more joy in life. It’s a good goal.

The stumbling block comes with thinking the path to get there is joyless sacrifice, giving up fun, pleasure, comfort.

So the first part of making it happen is focusing on the goal. But that’s not quite enough by itself; there’s a secret ingredient.

The secret ingredient: taking joy along the way.

If you, like many of our Zing fans, are already living your resolutions, you know the secret: finding joy in the path, not just the goal. If you didn’t know that secret, now you do.

Want to start exercising? Start small. Start fun. Don’t reach for it all at once. Exercise with a friend (even virtually). Break it into small steps, enjoy the steps and the feeling you get along the way. Remind yourself that it’s about adding to what you have each day each step along the way. Find a little victory, a little piece of the joy you seek and it will add up to big gains.

It’s really comes down to sustainability. In the case of nutrition resolutions and goals, as our friend Casey Seiden, MS, RD, CDN, CDE said back in March, “My best advice is the only thing you ‘should’ be doing is what is most sustainable and wellbeing-promoting for yourself.”

The path to your goal needn’t be—shouldn’t be—a sacrifice. The path is, in so many ways, the goal.

What does any of this have to do with Zing Bars?

Oddly enough, this is precisely how we got started making Zing Bars back in the beginning, trying to help people achieve their resolutions. In our case, that meant helping our clients choose healthy snacks to control their blood sugar, boost their energy and improve their cognition.

As Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, we saw clearly how resolutions about food, weight and related issues were derailed when they felt like sacrifices.

Healthy snacks once or twice a day is actually a cornerstone of what we recommend to nearly all our clients. Knowing that do-it-yourself options like hummus and carrots or an apple with almonds are difficult to prepare every day and discovering that none of the prepared choices met our requirements, we designed our own, which is where Zing began.

And from the beginning, taste was as important as nutrition for Zing to “work” in people’s everyday lives, because of this basic idea that joy along the path makes bigger goals achievable. Part of the reason Zing fans wound up liking the taste so much is that their bodies actually recognized they were getting the nutrients they needed to thrive and were sending that signal to the brain. Rachael Hartley, RD, said it well, “Food is so much more than fuel. It’s how we celebrate our culture, connect with other people, experience pleasure, and take care of our bodies.”

So, build joy into your path, and you’ll reach the goal in all your resolutions!