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How-to: Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

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Each year, about half of the U.S. population decides to make New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, even the most well-intentioned of us, by a vast majority, abandon our goals before the first calendar month nears its end. Common resolutions include wellness-related goals (eating healthier, exercising more, quitting smoking, drinking less alcohol, etc.). As part of Canteen’s ongoing commitment to wellness, we’ve pulled from expert advice and put together a list of tips to help you keep your resolutions this year.

1. Be specific.

Focus on realistic goals with measurable results. If you don’t have specific ways of tracking your progress or measuring success, it’s easy to let resolutions slide. For example, rather than resolving to “exercise more,” instead resolve to “go to the gym three times per week for one hour after work, and take a yoga class twice a month.” It’s fine to set high expectations for yourself, but make sure you break any large goals down into steps you can realistically accomplish.

Canteen’s Avenue C micro-markets offer a wide variety of healthful meal options, and in partnership with MyFitnessPal, can help you be successful in sticking to any nutrition-related goals. Avenue C and MyFitnessPal provide access to accurate and reliable nutrition information, and offer real-time nutrition tracking with iOS, Android, Blackberry, Kindle, and Microsoft operating apps or via web access. Want to stick to a certain calorie count per meal? Avenue C and MyFitnessPal make it easy.

2. Put it in writing.

Experts in social behavior say that writing down goals is a key success factor in achieving them. Putting your goals in writing at the start of the New Year can both serve as a reminder and help you hold yourself accountable. In addition to writing down your goals (and posting them somewhere that you’ll see them regularly, like your refrigerator), you should journal your progress, including any reasons you may have broken a resolution on a particular day or week. If you broke a diet plan because you forgot your lunch and consequently overate when you got home, writing it down can help you avoid the same mistake in the future. You can also use technology to your advantage, by adding resolution reminders to your phone or computer calendar. We love this online resolution tracker.

3. Set up a support system.

Because many resolutions have to do with a few main themes, it’s likely that you have a friend, family member, or coworker with goals similar to your own. Agree to keep each other on track and be available for support. If you can’t find a person with similar resolutions, it’s still a great idea to share your resolutions with a few friends. A support system will boost your chances of success. Along the same lines, you should try to avoid situations that might make it hard for you to keep your resolutions.

4. Stick with it!

Everyone is different, but studies show it takes anywhere from about 20 days to a few months for most people to form a new habit of thought or behavior (the average habit-forming time span in the most comprehensive study to date was 66 days). Try to be routine with your behavior for at least the first month or two, and then you can allow yourself a little more flexibility. Most importantly, if you miss a short-term goal or have an off-week, don’t be discouraged. It’s better to realign your tactics or adjust your goals, rather than abandon your resolutions altogether.

If your resolutions include health and nutrition-related goals, Canteen’s Choice Plus program can provide ongoing support. In the United States today, routine, rather than occasion, determines much of our food and beverage consumption habits, and snacking makes up 48% of all eating. Choice Plus, available with any of Canteen’s vending programs, provides better-for-you snack options, which can help you make healthy snacking a lasting habit.

5. Learn lessons.

If you didn’t accomplish last year’s resolution, try to understand why. If you decide to make the same resolution this year, you should alter your goals or develop different tactics for achieving them, rather than just resolving to “try harder.” Experts agree that relying too much on willpower without considering any of the above steps is what leaves many resolutions long-gone by mid-year.

Canteen is a leading provider of office coffee services and vending services, and your partner for promoting wellness within your workplace. Contact us with any questions about our product or service offerings.

Happy New Year to all of our employees, affiliates, and customers!

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