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3 Simple Ways to Achieve Every Healthy New Year's Resolution

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    Resolution: Give Up Late-Night Sweets

    1. Pick a day. "Completely depriving yourself of the foods that you love is not a sustainable solution and will only set you up to fail in the long run," says Millis. Choose one day a week that you can indulge in your favorite dessert.

    2. Just a nibble. If you feel like you can't make it through the day without a little something sweet, allow yourself a small square of dark chocolate. (If taking a piece of a whole bar is too tempting, opt for individually wrapped chocolates instead.)

    3. Make healthy alternatives. Whether you need a little bit of chocolate or crave some fruity sweetness, there are plenty of healthy dessert options you can make to trick yourself into thinking you just had something super indulgent. (For instance, these Clean Eating Dessert Recipes.)

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    Resolution: Switch Up Your Workout Routine

    1. Try a class. One you've never tried before. Go to a group-cycling class. Try circuit training, small group training, or even splurge on a personal training session. If there's anything you're terrified to try, now's the perfect time. Even if you didn't love it or wouldn't do it again, you can get great ideas for DIY workouts.

    2. Get progressive. Sign up for a session of classes where each builds on the next, so you feel obligated to go each week and continue to feel challenged. Plus, after a few weeks in class together, you'll probably have some new workout friends.

    3. Play with the numbers. It's okay if you love weight lifting or cycling intervals, but you shouldn't stick to the same old plan. You don't need to do "3 sets of 8 to 12 reps" on repeat for the rest of your life.

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    Resolution: Lose 5 Pounds

    1. Don't rely on "eyeing" portion sizes. "You would be surprised how many servings you are actually consuming when you don't premeasure your food," says Millis. Bust out the measuring cups, spoons, and even a food scale. It'll take an extra few minutes, but you'll see it's well worth it when the pounds come off.

    2. Do your math. Remember that 3,500 calories = one pound. To lose 1 pound a week, you need to create a caloric deficit by burning 500 more calories than you are consuming per day. Cutting out little extra calorie bombs (sodas, lattes, prepackaged snacks) can help you reach that goal each day.

    3. Commit to 2%. Thirty minutes of activity is just 2 percent of your entire day. That can be anything from pacing while on the phone to walking to your lunch date instead of driving—or banging out a quick 30-minute workout.

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    Resolution: Tackle a Marathon/Triathlon/Obstacle Course

    1. Make a training schedule. Find a training plan that works for your skill level and event, and schedule your workout into the day. Block out a specific time, and put it on the calendar you use for appointments, meetings, and everything else. Think of your training as a personal meeting with yourself—one that you totally can't ditch.

    2. Find training friends. Find a group of people who are also training for the same event or who've trained for similar events in the past. They'll be able to give you invaluable advice—like the best way to stop chafing, or why you should never wear fleece.

    3. Don't cut your calories. If you're tackling the event as an incentive to lose weight, don't cut too many carbs in the name of weight loss. If you're tackling a longer race (like a half marathon or triathlon), you don't want to eat more than 500 calories fewer than your daily energy output, because you'll be putting yourself at risk for hitting the wall or putting your body into survival mode (which forces it to cling to fat, so you'll shed less).

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    Resolution: Eat Healthy

    1. Have a well-drafted grocery list. Make a list of all the healthy foods you need before you hit the aisles, and don't allow yourself to get anything that isn't on the list. Find healthy recipes you like, and plan ahead by getting everything you need. Don't wait until you're starving after work to realize you don't have ingredients to make a healthy dinner.

    2. NEVER go to the store hungry. Snack before you shop to avoid buying everything in sight (including junk food). If you don't think you can resist, stick to the perimeter of the store, where foods with the most nutrition can be found.

    3. Pick a food prep day. Designate one day a week as your shopping and food preparation day. "By developing this ritual, you become more organized and disciplined," Millis says.

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    Resolution: Make Exercise a Habit

    1. Schedule it in. Determine how much time you can realistically dedicate to hitting the gym each week, and be specific in scheduling your workouts. Aim to train three to four days a week if you're a beginner, and work your way up to four to five days a week.

    2. Download some new tunes. Music is what fuels a workout. Try making time to download new music weekly so you have a new set of tracks for the gym. Or use Spotify, Pandora, or 8tracks apps for an unlimited number of playlists.

    3. Find another incentive. Try an app like Pact, which lets you earn cash for staying active. You make a weekly pact with other members (say, eating healthy or going to the gym four times a week), and pledge a certain amount of money that you have to pay up if you don't stay true to your promise. Not into the tech? Make a bet with a family member or friend.


Lauren Mazzo

Lauren Mazzo is a digital assistant editor for Shape and Fitness. She's an Ithaca College alumna, a Rochester, NY, native and an NYC transplant.  More →

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