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New Year’s Resolutions

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New Year’s Resolutions

By Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD

Staci Gulbin is a registered dietitian with Staci is also a freelance writer, health editor, the founder of, and the author of The High-Protein Bariatric Cookbook. 

Staci has graduate degrees in Biology, Human Nutrition, and Nutrition Education from New York University and Columbia University. She has treated thousands of patients across many wellness areas such as weight management, fitness, long-term care, rehab, and bariatric nutrition. 

As the holidays approach, you may start to hear others talk about what New Year’s resolutions they are looking to make. In my experience, health and nutrition goals seem to top the list of things people want to accomplish in the new year. Whether changing our eating habits, quitting an unhealthy lifestyle habit, or moving more, many of us hope to be healthier in the new year. Read below to learn more about some nutrition-related habits you can adopt in the new year to help improve your overall health.

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How to Make New Year’s Resolutions

Just like with any goal, you should write your New Year’s resolution in a way that makes it easy to track your progress. This method of setting goals is known as S.M.A.R.T.:

Specific: What actions will you need to take to accomplish your goal?

Measurable: What data can you measure to track your progress in achieving this goal?

Achievable: Is this a practical goal for you to achieve, and do you have the necessary resources and skills to accomplish this goal?

Relevant: Is this goal going to help you achieve your long-term goals?

Time-Bound: What time frame have you set for accomplishing this goal?

An example of a health-related S.M.A.R.T. goal would be:

“I will walk at least 5000 steps each day for the next four weeks, which will help me increase my overall physical activity and heart health over time.”

Making New Nutrition Habits in the New Year

If you want to change your nutrition habits in the new year, it’s essential to identify the reason behind your desire to make such changes. For example, if you want to eat more vegetables, is it because you want to improve your gut health by eating more fiber? Do you want to consume more vitamins and nutrients from such foods to help you prevent nutrient deficiencies or support immune health? Or do you want to eat more plant-based foods versus animal-based foods in your daily routine?

Once you determine why you want to accomplish a nutrition-related goal, you can better compose your long-term resolution and the short-term goals that will help you accomplish that resolution.

Common Reasons to Make Nutrition Habits your New Year’s Resolution

There are many reasons why you may want to make nutrition habits your New Year’s resolution, which may include:

  • Managing your body weight
  • Wanting to improve your health numbers such as blood pressure, blood glucose levels, cholesterol or blood fat levels, or levels of nutrients like vitamin D, iron, or calcium
  • Managing a chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease, or kidney disease
  • Preventing or treating vitamin or mineral deficiencies

Aside from the above reasons, you may want to make a nutrition-related goal to reduce the number of processed foods you eat or to save money by eating fewer convenience foods and dining out less, for example.

Types of Nutrition-Related New Year’s Resolutions

Once you know why you want to make a change in your nutrition habits for the new year, then you can start creating your new year’s goals, both long-term and short-term. Examples of some nutrition-long-term goals may include statements such as “I want to…:”

  • Improve my gut health by reducing the frequency of symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea/constipation from XX weekly to XX weekly.
  • Lower my blood pressure from XX/XX to a goal of XX/XX.
  • Reduce my blood glucose levels to a healthier range between XXX-XXX.
  • Cut back on my diabetes or heart disease medications by XX daily/weekly.
  • Improve my quality of life by increasing my iron levels by XX, which will help increase my energy.
  • Have the ability to engage in more physical activity by improving bone health by improving my bone density by XX.
  • Improve my quality of life by reducing the frequency of heartburn episodes by XX weekly/monthly.

Once you have named the long-term resolution you wish to accomplish in the new year, then you can better create short-term goals to help you move towards making it come true. It’s best to make one long-term goal at a time to make it more manageable and practical to achieve. This is because each nutrition-related long-term goal will take a lot of time, energy, resources, and dedication to achieve.

How to Make Short-Term Goals to Help Achieve Your New Year’s Resolution

Your short-term goals should help you slowly make changes that will lead to accomplishing your long-term resolution. These short-term goals will be your steppingstones in a way and will make accomplishing your ultimate goal more manageable and less overwhelming.

For example, if your long-term goal is to “Lower my blood pressure from 150/95 to a goal of 120/80, “then some short-term goals to help you accomplish this may be:

  • I will stop adding salt to my food for the next four weeks.
  • Instead of salt, I will start using one new herb, spice, or sodium-free seasoning mix to flavor my meals over the next six weeks.
  • Cut back on my processed meat intake to one three-ounce serving per week for the next eight weeks.
  • I will start meditating for at least five minutes a day for the next two weeks before I go to bed each night to reduce my stress levels.
  • I will increase my physical activity by 2000 more steps per day for the next two weeks.

The list of possible short-term goals could also include compliance with medication, visiting the doctor regularly, or reducing processed salty snacks, convenience meals, or soup intake weekly.

How Do I Know Which Nutrition Habit I Should Make as My New Year’s Resolution?

The nutrition habit you choose to make as the focus of your New Year’s resolution should have a long-lasting positive benefit on your health. It shouldn’t be because you want to fit into a piece of clothing or impress someone in your life. Instead, your resolution should be something you do for yourself to improve your quality of life. May this new year bring you much strength to help make your resolution come true.


How to write SMART Goals (

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