Have you broken any resolutions yet?

How about making some resolutions with a difference? How about you forget the New Year, New You get-skinny-quick diet plan and commit to making tiny little changes that don’t take commitment, hard work or effort, but that all add up to make you feel better. 

I have been working in the world of wellbeing and nutrition for a very long time, and if there is one thing I have learned is that most big diet plans are set to fail.

With all that we know about diet, nutrition and well-being for years of research and trial and error, it is not well understood that the one thing that works for good health is making changes in bite-size chunks. 

Imagine if you could make one simple change each week throughout 2021 and commit to that goal for 7 days. Isn’t that more achievable than eating weird diet food, restricting calories or exercising until you crash and burn?

By making micro steps towards your end goal, you are more likely to achieve what you want, and enjoy the steps that help you get there. 

Before you work out your micro steps, you will need to have a goal in mind Think about how you want to feel at the end of January – remember that is just 4 short weeks, so be realistic.

If weight loss is your goal, think about losing between one and two pounds a week – somewhere between 4 and 8 pounds (approximately 2-4kg) by the end of January. 

Here are 10 actionable micro steps that could be easy to apply to your life to help you thrive throughout January. Chose the one that appeals most to you, or that you think sounds the easiest. Do it for 7 days and then try another little change. Imagine how you would look and feel by the end of 2021 if you could commit to just one micro change every week for 52 weeks of the year. 

  1. Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning every day for a week. 
  2. Get outside at lunchtime (come rain, hail or shine). 
  3. Sit at a table to eat all your meals (that includes snacks – so no snacking in front of Gogglebox in the evenings!). 
  4. Eat 3 meals a day without snacks and see how it feels. 
  5. Eat within a 12 hour window. 
  6. Eat two portions of dark green leafy vegetables every day (broccoli, kale, rocket, spinach, watercress, cabbage, leeks…)
  7. Eat a handful of nuts or seeds every day (unsalted and un-roasted of course!)
  8. Have a palm size portion of protein with every meal and snack. Choose from eggs, meat, fish, chicken, nuts or seeds, pulses, houmous, yogurt, cottage/goats/feta cheese.
  9. Swap margarine to butter. 
  10. Ditch the low fat foods. 

Some people find that it helps to keep a food diary, so that you can chart how these micro changes make you feel.

You might find it useful to team up with a buddy who wants to make similar changes to you so that you can keep each other accountable, It is much easier if you have someone by your side to encourage and motivate you. 

If something resonate with you and you notice a positive difference, then keep that change in your daily routine. 

Little by little these changes that you make will have a bigger impact on how you look and feel than any fad diet or January detox. 

Happy New Year!  

This blog post first appeared as my column in The Irish News on Saturday 2 January 2021.