How to Make SMART New Year’s Resolutions

How to Make Smart, Realistic New Year's Resolutions

There’s good news and bad news related to New Year’s resolutions…

The bad news: A Journal of Clinical Psychology study reported that 54% of people give up on their resolutions within 6 months, and only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolution by the end of the year.

The good news (if you’re still reading…): Another study published in the same journal stated that people who-despite the statistics-make resolutions are 10 times more likely to change their behavior than those who don’t make resolutions at all.

It seems many people have a love-hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions, and in my professional opinion, I can see how certain types of resolutions can backfire…especially those centered around strict rules and all-or-nothing thinking.

On the bright side, New Year’s resolutions can be made in a “SMART” way, so based on the research…I’ll go out on a limb and say:  Don’t stop making New Year’s resolutions!

Author Terry Felber sums up a common problem associated with New Year’s resolutions in one sentence:

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re not going to like where you end up.”

The absence of a clear plan for how to follow through with New Year’s resolutions ultimately leads to a feeling of failure days, weeks, or months after the new year. Although many people have an end result (the resolution itself), in mind, they don’t have a plan for how to get there, so…

How do you make a resolution that leads you toward your desired destination and defies the statistics?

  • Avoid diet resolutions and those that focus on a number on the scale. Since 95% of dieters regain their lost weight within 1-5 years, choose to shift your focus to resolutions that lead to long-term health instead.
  • First, decide where you want to end up. For example, many of my clients want to learn to “Eat healthier.” Notice how vague this is? From here, begin formulating a plan. I’ll help you with this…just keep reading…
  • Since eating healthier encompasses numerous actions, choose ONE behavior you’d like to change. If one behavior doesn’t seem like enough, remember this:

“Little by little, a little becomes a lot.” -Tanzanian Proverb

  • Consider the following as you plan a “SMART” resolution:

SPECIFIC (Who, What, Where, When, Why?): Get specific about which behavior you’ll work on changing first. For example, “I will eat more balanced, home-cooked dinners each week to support my goal of eating healthier.”

MEASURABLE (How will you know you’ve accomplished your resolution?): Decide the number of dinners you’d like to eat at home per week. For example, “I will eat dinner at home 4 nights per week.”

ATTAINABLE (What are the steps to reaching your goal?): What will it take to serve a home-cooked dinner 4 nights per week? You’ll likely need to schedule time to plan meals, repurpose leftovers, make regular grocery store trips, and cook dinner. Having a plan is key!

REALISTIC (How motivated are you? What are the obstacles and how will you overcome them to stay on the path to reaching your goal?): Do you hate planning meals? Sign up for an online service like YourSupperSolution.com to get weekly nutritious dinner menus and recipes delivered to your inbox.

TANGIBLE (How will you experience your resolution or know you’ve reached your goal?): You will be cooking and eating dinner at home more often.

With any resolution, no matter how “SMART” it may be, it is normal to experience obstacles. Rather than giving up or criticizing yourself, remember that habits develop over time and will take time to change. It is unreasonable and unrealistic to expect a behavior to disappear or change just because the clock strikes midnight and a new year begins. Use each obstacle as a learning experience and an opportunity to re-evaluate and perhaps modify your plan. It may not be realistic to get 4 home-cooked dinner meals on the table 52 weeks out of the year, and THAT’S OK! Don’t let discouragement related to statistics or previous failures rob you of achieving your resolution to care for yourself in a healthy way this year.

Oh…and don’t forget: You can make a resolution any time of year, not just January 1st!


I’d love to hear about your SMART resolutions for the year…send me an e-mail or share in the comments below. If you know someone who may need some encouragement or guidance in goal-setting, share this post or this clip from http://eplayer.clipsyndicate.com/embed/iframe?pf_id=1&show_title=0&va_id=6154181&windows=1“>ABC 24’s Local Memphis Live with them!

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Teal Pumpkin Project: A Safe and Fun Halloween for Everyone

Halloween Blog Post on The Teal Pumpkin Project by Blair Mize, RD

Growing up, none of my family members or friends had food allergies that I can remember. My memories of trick-or-treating are filled with excitement, fun costumes, and excessive amounts of candy. Honestly, thoughts of food allergies rarely crossed my mind as a child. Over the years, food allergies have been on the rise. Today, 1 in 13 children has a food allergy.

When Halloween is too scary…

In the past, numerous parents have reported having to “cancel” Halloween for their children with food allergies. For some, Halloween equaled a life or death situation. Seriously. If families still chose to celebrate Halloween, parents were nervous wrecks as they watched their children like hawks to ensure their hands didn’t end up on the wrong treat.

Until 2014, food allergies and Halloween did not mix. 

Last year, the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) organization launched a national campaign called The Teal Pumpkin Project™ to raise awareness of food allergies and promote inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season. In the first year of this campaign, individuals in 50 states and 7 countries took the pledge to support the Teal Pumpkin Project. FARE predicts the campaign will grow to include over 100,000 households in 2015.

Our household took the pledge.

Our household couldn’t NOT take the pledge! If you have fun memories of Halloween like I did, wouldn’t you hate to see a child miss out on the experience of dressing up or be excluded from trick-or-treating? If you are the family member or friend of a little one, can you imagine not walking the neighborhood with them or having them stop by your house as they trick-or-treat? I know our family, friends, and neighbors loved seeing my brother and me all dressed up in our Halloween costumes…

My Childhood Halloween Memories  Halloween Memories  Halloween Memories from childhood

As the mother of a little boy with severe allergies to peanuts, almonds, and eggs, I am beyond grateful for the widespread adoption of The Teal Pumpkin Project in such a short period of time. I now understand from a personal AND professional standpoint the concerns and considerations of individuals and families with food allergies.

Perhaps you are fortunate enough to be allergy-free in your home…

Use the Teal Pumpkin Project as an opportunity to educate your children and teach them to be sensitive, understanding, and empathetic toward those who have allergies. Help them understand the importance of taking allergies seriously.

How does my family participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project?

1. Go online and pledge to participate in FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project™!

Shopping for Pumpkins at Sprouts on a Rainy Day

Rainy days mean pumpkin shopping at Sprouts…in his “Hallow-weiner dog” shirt!

2. Grab a pumpkin, teal-colored paint, and a paintbrush. 

Get the whole family involved in the Teal Pumpkin Project. Paint pumpkins together!

Get the whole family involved! While you’re painting your pumpkins, talk about why being respectful and inclusive of children with food allergies is so important.

3. Place your pumpkin outside your front door to signify your participation in the Teal Pumpkin Project.

 

4. Print a free downloadable sign to hang in your window stating “Non-food treats available here.”

Free Downloadable Teal Pumpkin Project Sign

The Teal Pumpkin Project is all about inclusion, so your household may decide to print the free downloadable sign that states “We have candy and non-food treats” (in separate buckets, of course).

5. Go shopping for your non-food treats.

Non-Food Halloween Treats for The Teal Pumpkin Project

We found ours at Target…they had a great selection! Concerned non-food Halloween treats may get too expensive? Consider this: a large bag of assorted candy costs $9.00-$19.00! The most expensive non-food treat I purchased (the 12 puzzle value pack) was $10.00…everything else was $1.00-$3.00.

Here are more examples of non-food treats: finger puppets, stencils, spider rings, playing cards, whistles, vampire fangs, notepads, crazy straws, comic books, kazoos, pinwheels…what am I missing?

6. Finally, don’t forget to SHARE information about and encourage friends to get involved in The Teal Pumpkin Project by using #tealpumpkinproject on social media.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!


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Top 5 Tricks to Help Your Kids Manage Halloween Treats

Registered Dietitian Blair Mize's Top 5 Tricks for Helping Kids Manage Halloween Candy and Treats

Do you find the gobs of goodies that accumulate at Halloween a bit scary? You’re not alone! Check out my Top 5 Tricks for helping your kids manage their Halloween treats below:

Trick #1

One instance when it’s good for kids to be picky…

Don't be scared when your kids bring home piles of Halloween candy. Have them pick their favorites, and repurpose the leftovers.


Trick #2:

Halloween Tip by Blair Mize, RD: Eat a balanced dinner before trick-or-treating. Plan a potluck with neighbors or friends.


Trick #3:

Helping your kids enjoy Halloween treats starts today with having a conversation and modeling a healthy, non-diet approach to food for your kids.

Halloween Tip by Blair Mize, RD: Teach your children how to manage candy and sweets. Sweets can be enjoyed and planned into meals.


Trick #4:

Don’t be scared of this one…

Halloween Tip by Blair Mize, RD: Deprivation often leads to overeating. Here's a strategy to prevent feelings of deprivation.

Check out Ellyn Satter’s Book, Your Child’s Weight: Helping Without Harming for more information about raising your children to have a healthy relationship with food.


Trick #5:

If this sounds crazy, take a look at this website for a more detailed explanation:

Halloween Tip by Blair Mize, RD: Have a plan to help your kids manage their candy.

Happy Halloween! 

I’d love to hear how you manage Halloween treats at your house in the comments below!


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Football Fans (or not): It’s time to talk tailgating…

Football season is here, and I’ve got the tailgating tips that will help you score the winning touchdown when it comes to fueling well on game day… Football season is here, and I’ve got the tailgating tips that will help you score the winning touchdown when it comes to fueling well on game day…I posted these each Saturday on Facebook last year but thought compiling them in a blog post could be helpful, too.

So…I have one question to ask: ARE YOU READY? [insert Hotty Toddy chant here :)]


Would you expect a football player to wait until right before kickoff to fuel up with a pre-game meal? Should your children “save up” by not eating leading up to a party later in the day? Hopefully, your answer is “NO!”

So why do we do this to ourselves sometimes?

Rather than skipping or skimping on meals leading up to your game day get-together, fuel up with a balanced breakfast (and lunch if kickoff is later) to prevent eating more than your body needs when game-time finally arrives.


Football teams and their fans wear their signature colors on game day, but sometimes our tailgate spreads are neutral colors only…or varying shades of brown. Be the one to bring the color…Asian slaw, succotash salad, or a veggie dish that won’t get soggy over time. Fruit kabobs with a yogurt dip could be a tasty addition, too! Your fellow fans will thank you for adding a festive pop of color to their plates!


A memorable day of tailgating is about much more than the food. Take time to socialize, play corn hole, or watch the Walk of Champions (if you’re an Ole Miss fan like me!). What’s your favorite non-food tailgating activity?


During ‪football games, time-outs are called at strategically important moments. As you’re eating meals, take a “time-out” to check in with yourself…are you still hungry, comfortably satisfied, or stuffed? Use your time-out to reevaluate your “strategy” and to prevent eating more than your body needs. Continue eating if you’re still feeling hungry or not quite satisfied, or move on to more socializing and cheering for your team if you’ve had enough.


Each football player’s position demands different skills and sizes. A running back who needs speed and endurance shouldn’t be compared to an offensive lineman who needs size and strength to perform well in the game. No one position is better than the other!

In the same way, no one body shape or size is better than another….so why do we compare and judge ourselves against others? Focus instead on fueling with foods you enjoy when you’re physically hungry and stopping when you feel satisfied (rather than relying on what someone else may think). Don’t let comparisons to others interfere with your tailgating (or any) fun!


Your plate is your playbook!

Winning ‪football teams study visual representations of all their plays. Serving yourself a plate (rather than grazing) provides a visual representation of the amount you’re eating and could help you ‪eat more mindfully amidst gameday distractions.

Remember: A plate (playbook) + honoring natural ‪hunger and satisfaction cues (skill) = A ‪winning strategy!


During a ‪football game, it is each team’s job to keep members of the opposing team out of the endzone. At your ‪tailgate, it’s your job to keep foods out of the Temperature Danger Zone (40-140 degrees F) where bacteria thrive or “score.” The strategy: Keep cold foods cold & on ice. Eat hot foods within 2 hours or keep hot in chafing dishes. Making sure the ‪food you serve to friends is safe is key to a winning tailgate.


Hosting a tailgate with ‪friends? Keep your fellow fans energized by sending them to the ‪game with a to-go bag of trail mix (‪nuts, dried ‪fruit, and a little dark ‪chocolate). This party favor will come in handy when hunger strikes during the big game (not to mention they won’t miss any important plays while standing in the concession stand line)!


Happy Tailgating!