As the New Year approaches I am grateful for the spirit of renewal, re-birth and restoration. But most of all I am grateful for the ability to lie to myself again about how much I’ll work out, eat right, pray like a saint and spend time writing poems like I did the year before. And the year before that. It’s become sort of a game with my cashing in just a few days shy of the end of January and spending the next few months feeling despicable about the fate of my fitness routine.

Is anyone riding in the same boat that I am?

Perhaps it’s time to ban the New Year weight loss resolution cliché and focus instead on measurable goals, accountability and healthy opportunities make progressive lifestyle changes. If we spent the past year struggling with losing weight and sticking to a fitness routine, let’s start there first instead of declaring war on a series of bad habits that won’t change just because the numbers on the calendar do.

Skip the New Year’s weight loss resolution and focus on a few key solutions that will help you get the job done:

Change your eating habits … slowly

Eating clean isn’t for the faint of heart nor something that happens over night. By slowly switching out the bad for the good, you can effectively change your routine and train your body to acclimate to healthier options.

For example, start small by trading fatty salad dressings for olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Or remove potato chips from the pantry and snack on baked sweet potato chips, veggie chips or salt-free blue corn chips.

Seltzer over soda

Soda is packed with tons of sugar and colorings that have been linked to certain cancers. Get the fizz without the damage and stock up on seltzer water you can flavor with fresh fruits.

Note: Don’t do diet soda in an effort to enjoy the taste without the calories. Studies have shown that diet soda can actually increase weight gain.

Ditch fast food and slow down

Meals on-the-go are practical, convenient and important for anyone with a hectic day-to-day lifestyle. Stay away from retreating to the dollar menu in a frenzy by planning ahead.

Prepare or purchase fresh soups you can freeze for future take-a-long meals. Create your own healthy wraps made with whole grains, fresh veggies and hormone-free meats before heading out the door. You’ll feel better, fuller and you’ll maintain more energy throughout the day with food ingredients found in nature… not a factory.

Pick up the pace and walk on purpose

Take the stairs when you can, park further away from the entrance of your destination (unless it’s late, dark and you’re alone) and plan regular walks as often as possible throughout the day. If you have 30 minutes for lunch, split your time between re-fueling and walking around your building (or neighborhood if you work from home).

Find ways to increase your physical activity outside of your daily workout routine.

What are New Year’s resolutions are you ditching and which lifestyle habits are you adopting?

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