It can be tempting to follow all the weight loss ads and jump right into a restrictive diet come January 1st. There's pressure to lose weight this time of the year; however, coming into the new year with lofty expectations and goals can actually make achieving that goal more difficult. While the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s seems to all mesh together with the pie, cookies, alcohol, and extravagant meals, there is little benefit to starting out the year on a restrictive diet. 

While weight loss remains one of the most common New Year’s resolutions, it is typically not the most successful. In 2021, 42% of people made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight.1 Unfortunately, many people don’t determine their why behind this weight loss goal or how they are going to reach that goal. And because of this, they end up disappointed and falling short of fulfilling their resolution.

How to Set and Achieve Healthy New Year's Resolutions

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Step 1: Establish Your "Why"

When we align our goals with something that has a greater purpose, we are more likely to be successful. By exploring your true reason for setting this goal, you may uncover a greater purpose that can help you stay motivated. For example, maybe you desire to have more energy during the day for your job or want to be an active parent and stay healthy for your children. Whatever it is, finding a purpose or a why can help you build a goal that is more meaningful and, therefore, successful. 

Simply losing weight does not always bring about the desired results that we think it will. Additionally, it takes much more effort and patience than we expect. Appearance alone tends not to be a strong enough motivating factor for long-term success and can often disrupt the individual’s relationship with food, movement, and their body. 

If it is truly weight loss that is a meaningful goal for you, determine why your past efforts have not been successful. What barriers did you encounter that made your goal difficult? Was your goal too lofty? Were you lacking the support you needed? 

Again, if you do choose to set your New Year’s resolution to lose weight, make sure you understand your motivation and purpose behind the goal. Will changing the number on the scale change something in your life or is there something else that would have a greater impact? 

Successful nutrition and health-related goals typically focus on overall health and longevity. We often set goals that we think we should be making based on misconceptions of health. Say you set a resolution to eat healthy this year, and you tell yourself that you are going to cut out all sugar to achieve this goal. Is this goal going to lead to restrictive eating patterns? Will your mental health suffer significantly by cutting out all sugary foods?

Rather than restricting foods, try to see what you can add to your life instead! This has been shown to be more successful for people. For example, consider reframing your goals to what you can add to your lifestyle, such as adding more vegetables, as a step to eating healthier this year. This helps you to focus on your nutritional health without as much restriction. A healthy diet does not need to be a perfect diet. If you make mistakes in working toward your goal, recognize your setback so that you can be ready to continue moving forward rather than completely giving up.

Step 2: Determine "How" You're Going to Get There

Instead of simply committing to losing weight, it’s important to first start with the how. The first line of defense is often to cut out complete food groups when aiming to lose weight in the new year. However, this often leaves people feeling deprived and ends up not being sustainable. Try making smaller, more sustainable goals that align with your larger goal.

When making small goals to help you achieve your larger goal, try using the S.M.A.R.T. acronym. The SMART Goals method is often used for goal setting, and it just might help you design and stick to your goals! It stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. To ensure greater success, make an outline of your New Year’s resolution using the “SMART'' methodology. 

For example, what actionable steps can you take that will aid in your weight loss? Could you make a goal to add at least one vegetable or fruit to each of your meals? Maybe you want to incorporate more movement into your life, but you currently aren’t doing any. Instead of making your goal to go to the gym every day, try two times a week for 30 minutes to start. You can always adjust your goals along the way! By making an action plan, you can see a clearer picture of what it will take to reach your goal. 

There is nothing wrong with setting a goal of weight loss; however, many people don’t have a why behind it and don’t set the smaller goals it takes to get there. By thinking more about your goals and giving them a purpose, you are more likely to be successful!

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Step 3: Set Yourself Up for Success

Now that you have determined your why behind your goal and how you are going to accomplish it, it's time to figure out how you can set yourself up for success.

In order to accomplish your goal, what will you need to make yourself successful? Do you need equipment or a membership to make it happen? Maybe you need additional support or accountability. In this example, you could tell a friend or family member about your goal to help them hold you accountable. If you need more personalized support, you might benefit from partnering with a professional that can work alongside you. 

Ideas for Achievable New Year's Weight Loss Resolutions

  • Try two new healthy, homemade recipes per month
  • Add one new vegetable to at least one meal per day
  • Meditate for five minutes twice per week
  • Take 15-minute morning walks, three times per week
  • Eliminate screen time at least 30 minutes before bed
  • Increase water intake by 16 ounces per day 

What’s Next?

GenoPalate’s at-home nutrition DNA test is just like the one you’d take to research your ancestry. Once you’ve submitted your DNA test kit or existing data test results to us, your DNA is analyzed. You'll receive a full-blown nutrition analysis that'll break down how your body processes carbohydrates, fat, and protein, along with the other micronutrients you’ll need for optimal health. You'll also learn about potential sensitivities to gluten, lactose, alcohol, and caffeine, as well as eating and stress predispositions.


The key is to follow a nutrition plan and make long-term lifestyle changes that will help you feel good and keep you healthy this New Year. It’s time to ditch the extreme diet of the day and eat for your genes. And if you need extra support or accountability, our in-house team of registered dietitians offers online nutrition programs to help you finally achieve the health goals you've been longing to reach.


Nearly Two in Five Americans Have a New Year’s ... - Ipsos.