Chisel down New Year's resolutions to something manageable

| 31 Dec 2013 | 01:04

New Year's resolutions can be positive, but they can also be unrealistic and even down right ridiculous. Can you really give up chocolate totally and completely — 100 percent — honestly? Can you actually quit smoking cold turkey? Can you lose the weight and get Superman buff by the end of January?

Grandiose resolutions that require huge leaps are, by and large, a set up for failure. Instead of pie-in-the-sky promises to yourself, there are some more realistic resolutions and approaches to them.

Shed the pounds
A popular resolution is to lose weight, and to do so, folks often bite off more than they chew and sign up for a year's gym membership. Instead of committing to a year at a particular place, how about doing a sampler. Get a gift certificate for a week at a gym, a few sessions with a personal trainer someplace else, a few kick boxing classes and maybe a tennis lesson. This way you can check out different exercise options to see what you like best and what works with your schedule before committing to something you won't end up using.

"Slow and steady wins the race," Trainer Charlene Beebe, who works at a club in Sparta, said. "People need to learn habits that are healthy and that they can maintain them for a lifetime not just the month of January."

A 15 year veteran of the fitness industry, Beebe said, "Goals need to be smart, specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely."

For a sedentary person, it's paramount to consult a physician before starting an exercise program then "take it slow and get some guidance from a fitness professional. One day at a time starting off with just walking and assessing how you feel every step of the way. Journal your exercise. Keep track of frequency, intensity and time. Add on slowly and track your progress."

Lowering body weight can lower blood pressure, reverse or prevent diabetes, lower cholesterol, and triglyceride level and improve sleep problems.

Going on a diet is another popular New Year's resolution, but trying a fad or crash diet is generally a set up for failure. Sure these diets can promote short-term weight loss, but they usually don't result in long-term weight maintenance.

Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, LDN, CPT owns Vernon Nutrition Center and promotes nutrition and wellness as an author, media spokesperson, motivational speaker, and corporate consultant. Palinski-Wade is a big proponent of reading food labels and teaching kids to do so at a young age.

"If they [kids] take a look at what they're putting into their bodies it can make a huge difference," she said.

She also suggests keeping a food log to be honest with yourself. Choosing whole foods and avoiding processed foods, white flour and white sugars is key as well as trying to eat food in its most natural state. A good nutrition plan consists of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, low fat dairy and healthy fats.

"Shop the perimeter of the supermarket," said Beebe. "Making small changes will make a big differance in the long run. Try to eat smaller meals and have protein at each meal to keep to satisfied for a longer period if time. Eat to live ... don't live to eat."

Doctors and fitness gurus alike suggest the resolution of making sleep a priority for a month. Getting close to eight hours every night can make a world of difference in how you feel, look, operate at work and as a parent and spouse.

Looking better is a big one when it comes to resolutions. There are countless beauty creams out there and then there's the next step in getting botox, fillers or a brand new under eye, wrinkle removing procedure offered by plastic surgeons like Dr. Mokhtar Asaadi who has offices in New York, Short Hills and Sparta.

"There's a new procedure using a filler and a special needle that now allows us to get rid of the wrinkles under the eyes," he said.

These procedures cost more than creams but can last for about a year.

Good will
Another popular resolution is helping others. It's extremely noble, but often, time becomes a deterrent. An alternative way to both help others and get organized is to go through your house and donate clothing and household items you don't use.

Locally, organizations such as Dasi, a non-profit that provides domestic abuse and sexual assault intervention services, Project Self Sufficiency, The United Way and a number of others are always looking for such items. They also need volunteers.

Organizing your house has been proven to help keep you on track in all facets of your life. Sometimes things just get messy, unorganized and even out of control. A popular resolution is to "get my life organized." Again, doing it all at once can lead to complete frustration.

Wendy Finnerty, who owns Sussex and Warren county based Professional Organizing & Home Staging, said, "Most people are overwhelmed when they get to that point. To make it seem less overwhelming, people need to look at it as taking one small thing — like a closet or bathroom — and tackling that situation. Set yourself a goal of cleaning out that desk drawer or the junk drawer in the kitchen. This way it's attainable and they can knock it out in a couple of hours." She also suggests finding an area in the garage to put items of worth that you want to get rid of for a future garage sale or to sell on e-bay.

There are countless New Year's resolutions out there and it's easy to make a big one you might not be able to keep. Chiseling it down to something manageable can help you reach the goal.