If you’re looking for an excellent occasion to get in shape and commit to a New Year diet, there’s no better time than now. The New Year provides one of the best opportunities to set goals and keep them.
On the calendar, the first day of the New Year stands as a line in the sand. By stepping over it, we can look back at 2020’s shortcomings and ahead to 2021’s better version of ourselves.
Your New Year Diet and the Fresh Start Effect
If choosing and sticking with a New Year diet and exercise regimen is among your goals, you’re not alone.
Researchers from The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School found the Google search term “diet” increased during “temporal landmarks.” Due to what the researchers called “The Fresh Start Effect.”
The Effect applied to a new week, month, semester, or year and around a birthday or federal holiday.
Relative to the study’s baseline, for example, the Effect increased interest in dieting by varying percentages:
- The beginning of a new week (by 14.4%)
- At the beginning of a new month (by 3.7%),
- Around a federal holiday (by 10.2%).
- The beginning of a new year (by 82.1%)
Better yet, brand-new research reports the success rate for people following through with their New Year Diet may be higher than previously thought.
This month, licensed psychologist Martin Oscarsson and a team of researchers published a large-scale study on New Year’s Resolutions (NYR). For more than a year, they followed over 1000 people chosen from the general public.
Their goal was to determine how successfully the participants followed through on their New Year commitments – and what factors most influenced their success.
At the one-year follow-up, an impressive 55 percent of the participants considered they were successful.
Such an unusually high percentage (compared to similar studies’ findings) may be partially due to participants choosing to join.
People who willingly sign up for a study about resolutions may be more likely to complete it. Further, just knowing the researchers were monitoring their progress may urge them to keep going.
My conclusion? We don’t need much encouragement to follow through on our New Year diet commitments. Desire and a little accountability go a LONG way.
My New Year Diet History
When it comes to NYRs, my story is one of success!
In my 20s and 30s, my lack of follow-through was often frustrating. I’d see others running every day or being super faithful at the gym.
And I’d always ask myself, “Where do they get their self -control?” My new workouts or other goals usually lasted a few weeks before stuttering to an inglorious stop!
I falsely believed I had a problem. I was “just one of those people” who struggle to set goals, but I didn’t give up.
By my mid-30’s, I made small strides such as journaling daily for a couple of years. Journaling helped me tackle my lack of self-confidence – especially my significant insecurity about changing my diet.
My teenaged attempt at going plant-based had ended with the typical Try – Fail – Try Again – Fail dieter’s cycle. Even after starting a plant-based restaurant in 2012, I avoided fully embracing plant-based eating.
In part because I wasn’t confident I could succeed. By the end of 2017, however, I was ready to try again. My 2018 New Year Diet Resolution was to go completely vegetarian. I kept it for five months.
But instead of relapsing, I leaped forward. On May 6, 2018, my 40th birthday, I went fully vegan and haven’t faltered since!
Changing my diet clarified my mindset and strengthened my self-belief. Both are reflected in my recent post describing even more 2020 goals I achieved:
- daily exercise
- adequate hydration,
- reading over 100 books
How did I do it?
- I used “Fresh Start” dates, such as January 1 and my birthday, as opportunities to commit to a change.
- I chose goals I sincerely wanted to add to my life.
- I shared my plans with others, so I didn’t have to go it alone.
My objectives were also SMART. For example:
- Specific: Read books on the plant-based / vegan subject
- Measurable: Read 100 books in 100 days.
- Assignable: Read, write, and send my book review to my editor every day.
- Realistic: Cookbooks and children’s books were allowed on days that I didn’t have as much time.
- Time-related: January 1, 2020, through April 10, 2020.
My favorite NYR from this year? I’ve written the Plantbased.com blog every day, focusing on inspiring others to embrace a plant-based diet.
Yes, You Can!
If you can’t imagine giving up cheese, I get it. That’s why I first went vegetarian with my original 2018 New Year Diet Resolution.
Yet, going entirely plant-based today is much easier than it was just three years ago. The grocery stores are continually adding more plant-based options, such as nut-based milk and cheeses or veggie-burgers.
Our culture has never been more accepting of veganism. But if you really can’t see yourself starting at 100 percent, aim lower. Many vegans were vegetarians first.
Whether your plant-based journey begins with a small or giant step, the time to start it is now. Celebrate the beginning of 2021 by choosing a plant-based New Year diet.
And know that I’m cheering you on every step of the way!