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The new year is fast approaching, and many people are motivated to form new habits and make positive life changes. When it comes to nutrition goals, success comes from finding habits that will serve you both mentally and physically. That may mean trying something new, but it could also mean getting rid of thoughts and actions that are no longer serving you.

One habit to “make” is to start setting attainable goals. Many people implement goals with an “all or nothing” mentality. Instead of making it a goal to never eat sugar again, try eliminating sugar from your diet for three days each week. This goal is much more attainable and is also measurable since you can actually see if the goal was met. It may not be the final step of your journey, but being able to achieve and celebrate the small victories along the way will only help you reach the ultimate goal.

A nutrition habit to “break” is the blame game, especially when it comes to blaming all of your nutritional woes on a lack of time. Planning and preparation are some of the biggest keys to nutritional success. Taking a few minutes each week to think about the meals and snacks you might want will make eating healthy much easier.

You may also have to let go of a few old habits to make room for the new ones. Go to bed a little earlier so you can wake up for an early morning workout, or take the 15 minutes you might spend watching a favorite television show and chop fresh vegetables to use for quick and easy snacks throughout the week.

Make it a habit to try new things! It doesn’t mean you have to eat it at every meal or even every single day, but decide to try one new and nutritious food each week. Things like quinoa, kale and hummus are delicious foods with great health benefits.

Finally, break the habit of negative self-talk. For many, any thought of weight, exercise or nutrition is a negative one. Instead of focusing on the things that aren’t how you want them, think about the things that your body can do and the ways which food fills you up and gives you energy. By becoming more mindful of the way we think about our personal relationship with food and health, we can help foster an environment where self-love is more commonplace than body shaming and yo-yo dieting.

Taryn Palmer is a registered dietitian for the Magic Valley YMCA.

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