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The best New Year’s resolution? Don’t make one!

In 2014, the most popular New Year’s resolutions included losing weight and getting in shape, according to a study by the University of Scranton. If your health resolutions from last year have fallen by the wayside, you’re not alone. Don’t let last year repeat itself. Instead of setting large goals, focus on staying physically active and making healthier choices year round.

Healthy New Year“This year, abandon making a resolution in exchange for small, sustainable steps to get you on the road to a healthy lifestyle,” says Jessica Fishman Levinson, an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, as well as a consultant for food and beverage companies, including The Coca-Cola Company. “I encourage my clients to focus on making small changes, such as adding one workout a week to their schedule and enjoying their favorite food or beverage every so often. Long-term changes will happen when you make specific goals that are small enough to achieve without getting off course.”

Levinson shares some ideas to help you incorporate small changes into your lifestyle that can make a big difference over the years:

* Stay on the move: Are there weeks in which you get plenty of exercise and others in which you struggle to find even a few spare minutes to move? The solution: Find creative ways to stay active that can fit into your busy routine. Take the stairs instead of an elevator, spend a few minutes raking leaves off your front lawn or simply park the car farther from the store and walk whenever possible. Exercise helps relieve stress and burn off extra calories, so make sure to get in your daily dose of physical activity.

* Smaller serving sizes for a smaller waistline: A balanced diet is the key to managing your weight loss. Eliminating your favorite foods and beverages can backfire. Remember you can enjoy the foods and beverages you love, just enjoy them on occasion or better yet look for smaller portion sizes. If you’re a soda lover, try the 7.5-ounce Coca-Cola mini can, which comes in a variety of flavors including Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero.

* Smart snacking on-the-go: If you’re constantly on-the-go, it can be tough to choose healthy foods and beverages. Plan ahead and consider packing portion-controlled “to-go” snacks or a serving of fruit before heading out the door. You’ll be happy to have those more nutritious snacks when faced with the temptation of high-calorie foods and beverages. Small snacks throughout the day can also keep your metabolism up and prevent you from overeating at mealtime.

* Feel great with eight: Sleep is essential to the body for maintaining energy. Maintaining a regular sleep-wake cycle (circadian rhythm) as well as passing through the various stages of sleep is important. You should plan on getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night. A good night’s rest will make it easier for you to stay active and eat well.

* Track your success: Need an encouraging way to maintain a healthy lifestyle and be motivated to work harder? Writing down your daily food and beverage intake and physical activity is an effective tool because you’ll be able to keep track of your progress. All kinds of technologies are available to help you do so. Look for apps or fitness trackers to help you stay honest.

In 2015, skip the resolution and avoid the guilt that comes with missing your goal. With these simple tips, you will be able to increase your success and have many healthy years ahead.

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