Editor’s note: This is a guest blog by Kaiser Permanente Colorado.
Soon it will be a new year. Every year, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions. Almost all of them fail. Why? Many times the goals are too ambitious. For example: "I’ll go to the gym every day." Sounds simple enough, right?
Unfortunately, the first week you don’t make it to the gym every day, and that is probably the first week, you feel like you’ve failed. Most of us give up as soon as we feel we’ve failed.
Another reason resolutions fail is because we don’t plan for a support system. One of the best support systems is your family. Very often if you are not living your healthiest life, neither are your children. Setting a family health goal is a great way to model well-being for your children, and, most adults might be surprised to know that their children want them to take care of themselves.
Here are some simple ideas for transforming your family’s new year’s resolution into actionable items. Start small and try just one.
1. Family Fitness Challenge
Hold a 30 minute fitness challenge after dinner. Have a hula hoop or jump rope competition, or if the weather isn’t great, have a dance contest. If you have a Wii, have a virtual family sports contest.
2. Dine Together
Studies show that families who eat together, and at the dinner table, have less risk of obesity. If you typically eat in front of the television, record your shows. You can eat dinner, maybe go for a walk together, and watch your shows sans commercials.
3. Try Something New
Try a new fruit or vegetable every week. By expanding your fruit and veggie horizons, you’ll be more likely to get adequate nutrition from the foods you eat. Add grated zucchini to your lasagna, grill veggie kabobs, try a new variety of apple or pear, or make smoothies for dessert.
4. Pizza Night
Instead of a greasy pizza for dinner on Friday, buy all the ingredients for the family to make personal, whole-wheat pizzas. Try fresh basil, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms – just about anything tastes good on a pizza.
5. Cook together, play together, work together
These days we are all going in so many different directions. Take a day to do something as a family like working in the garden, cooking together or perform a community service project. The benefits you’ll reap from working together on a shared goal will be worth the time spent, personally satisfying and an important lesson for your children.
Remember: Slow and steady wins the race to make healthier choices. Make changes gradually and one at a time to manage weight, reduce heart disease and diabetes risk, and live healthfully.
Have a happy, healthy New Year!
Andrea Groth is a Senior Wellness Consultant for Kaiser Permanente Colorado with 18 years of experience in her field.