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How to Keep Your New Year's Health Resolutions

by Qula Madkin, MSU Extension Service

Video by Michaela Parker and Ellen Graves


The new year often signals a new start or reboot, which is a great thing. For many, this means setting health and wellness goals like losing weight, eating healthier, and being more physically active.


Unfortunately, many of us set goals or resolutions that are not attainable, and we find ourselves setting the same goals year after year with no success. To be able to achieve your goals and make your resolutions a reality, your goals need to be realistic. These goals also need to be measurable so you can see your small wins as you make your way to your overall goal.


Try breaking big goals into smaller ones. And be specific and realistic about what you are trying to accomplish. For example, if your resolution is to eat healthier, you could set a goal to add three servings of fruit to your diet each week of January. Or you could swap one soda per day with water. These small steps can help you feel accomplished and willing to set more goals.


Here a few tips to help you set goals and keep your resolutions:

  • Find an approach that works for you. Nutrition and health goals should be individualized, but this is hard to do when you don’t have much information about your health profile.

  • Know your basic health numbers like blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, waist circumference, and weight. A few other questions to ask yourself: how much sleep do you get, how much physical activity do you get each day, how many fruits and vegetables do you eat, how much water do you drink, what is your stress level, etc.

  • Think about what you can add to your plate, such as more vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and lean meat, rather than focusing on cutting out whole food groups. Think about moderation.

  • Remember, everyone is different. What may work for one person may not work for another but providing your body with nourishing foods will be a health benefit.

Your health is more than a number on a scale. Keep track of your progress, focus on consistency, and remain patient. Success doesn’t happen overnight.


Check out our Extension resources to help you achieve your resolutions this year:


Extension publication 3517, “Eat Less and Cut Calories!”


Extension information sheet 1999, “Self-Care Health Message”


Extension information sheet 1677, “Reasons to Get Moving”


To learn more about health numbers and what they mean for people with diabetes, visit the American Heart Association website.


For more information about healthy eating, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture My Plate website and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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