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New Year’s Resolutions

January 14, 2016
Kelly Corfman , MOV Parent

The New Year is a great opportunity to incorporate healthy changes into our lives. Too often, though, New Year's resolutions fail early in the year. Making and keeping resolutions can show children how to develop lifelong healthy eating and physical activity habits.

Children imitate the adults they trust, so it is important to model healthy habits for them!

A great way to develop resolutions that will create lifelong change is to make SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Let's take a resolution and make it SMART: Eat a healthier diet.

Specific- Pick something specific about the diet that you want to improve. For example, eating a diet filled with fruits and vegetables has great health benefits to help kids grow well and to keep adults full and healthy. An example of a more specific resolution is: Eat more fruits and vegetables.

Measurable- Having concrete numbers to aim for in your resolutions will help you be firm with what you want to achieve. It can also help get the kids on board. Use charts and stickers to measure your family's progress. Congratulate kids for reaching goals. A great guideline for fruits and vegetables is to eat 5-7 servings per day, so a measurable resolution might say: Eat 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Achievable- Don't set your family up for failure. Set goals that are a challenge, but that are still reachable. A daily amount of fruits and vegetables may be too much to keep track of, so start small. Involve kids in picking which fruits and vegetables they want to eat for breakfast or take to school for lunch. A more achievable resolution might be: Eat at least 1 fruit or vegetable at every meal.

Realistic- Benchmark where your family is currently, and base your goal off that. If your family currently eats 1 serving of a fruit or vegetable per day, eating 3 or more servings each day may be too much to achieve right away. Small improvements are still improvements, and you can always increase your goals as the year goes by. Try setting a realistic resolution like: Increase your weekly fruit and vegetable intake by 1 serving each week.

Time-Bound- You can choose any time frame that works best for you and your family. A time-bound resolution might say: Increase fruit and vegetable intake by 1 serving per day by next week. If your family continues increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, by January 1st of next year your family could achieve eating 5-7 servings per day! Start with small SMART goals and adjust them as your family succeeds.

Most importantly, be patient. There will be days where goals aren't met, and that's ok. Just remind your family of the goals you've set together and encourage them to get back on track to make your New Year's resolutions count!

Kelly Corfman is a graduate student in the Medical Dietetics program at the Ohio State University and a Dietetic Intern at Children's Hunger Alliance.



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