Are you committing to a new you in the New Year? The holidays are in the rearview mirror, which means chances are you’re coming off a tasty binge of scrumptious food – especially those delectable desserts. And if starting a diet was your New Year’s Resolution, your dessert consumption will likely be significantly curtailed in the coming months.

Setting a New Year’s Resolution is the easy part – in fact it’s a little too easy. One of the biggest challenges in maintaining a New Year’s Resolution is people often set unrealistic goals. Dieting is a great choice as a goal, but it’s also a very broad one. Radically changing your diet with a flip of a switch in the New Year isn’t practical. Begin your focus on a couple of small, meaningful changes that you can stick with and use as momentum as the year trudges onward – and be specific. Small changes can add up and generate major results. For example, not using half and half in your coffee over the course of a year saves thousands and thousands of calories.

Some strong diet resolutions to set include eating at least two servings of vegetables before dinnertime each day, eating fish once a week, bringing your lunch to work at least twice a week, and making the TV room a no food zone – which could significantly cut down on snacking.

In ensuring these diet resolutions are maintained, don’t overlook the value of keeping a log. When you’re attempting to change habitual patterns, it’s helpful to record your daily eating intake. For example, if you want to cut down on sugar, actually log how much you intake a day. Put pen to paper and track it! Doing so can further encourage you to keep going and it’s always fun tracking your progress toward a goal. 

But don’t become too focused on progress. A smart way to maintain your goal is placing your attention on actions rather than progress. Yale University researchers have previously revealed that focusing on your commitment to an action, rather than results or progress, makes sticking to a resolution easier. Setting a diet-based resolution and then meticulously tracking your weight can become discouraging. Be excited about taking action, and the results will come.  

At the end of the day, one of the easiest ways to maintain that diet resolution of yours is a commitment to eat out less. Find the joy in making your food. You’ll have better control of your intake and as a bonus you’ll save money. It’s like having a bonus resolution of spending less. 

Enjoy 2017 – here’s to healthy eating!