Here’s a New Year’s resolution anyone can keep: resolve not to make any more New Year’s resolutions.

That might feel good in the moment, but, if you’re trying to find a mate, shed some weight, or save money this year, simply abandoning resolutions isn’t going to help. Advisors tell us that by setting realistic goals where changes are small, you are more likely to form habits that will stay with you throughout the year.

Amanda Burton, a registered dietitian at Recipe for Health, says, “The problem with most New Year’s resolutions is that they focus on taking something away from someone and tend to accentuate the negative rather than the positive. By focusing on how you can live positively, you are more likely to achieve success.”

In her role as a professional dietitian, Burton most often sees clients who come to her seeking help with the goal of losing weight. She suggests starting with these simple steps:

Think positively: According to the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, researchers have found that practicing positive thinking can increase your chances of weight loss success.Go slow: Any diet change is easier if you take it slowly. Why not promise to add a new piece of fruit to your brown bag lunch each week or an extra serving of vegetables at dinner versus doing a big diet overhaul?

Think small: Don’t restrict yourself from the foods and drinks you love. Instead, have small amounts of your favourites. If you like soda pop for example, Burton suggests those Coke mini cans which offer a smaller portion size. Love burgers? Consider keeping calories in check by having a slider loaded with your favourite vegetable toppings, like lettuce, onions and tomato.

Buddy up: Find someone with similar goals to help you through the year. Be sure to share your ideas, plans, and successes regularly. By simply stating your intentions to someone else, you are more likely to achieve long-term success.

By following these simple tips, you can avoid making New Year’s resolutions forever and simply enjoy new habits for years to come.

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