Resolutions for a healthier and more prosperous 2014

December 23, 2013 

Millions of Americans resolve to lose weight and commit to healthful eating at the beginning of each year, but many resolutions are notoriously broken. Why? Many registered dietitian nutritionists say that fad diets are partly to blame.

"It's tempting to focus on losing weight fast, which can lead many to turn to dangerous fads and crash diets," says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson, Jessica Crandall. "However, research shows that slow, healthy weight loss is more likely to last than dramatic weight changes."

Crandall says that forgetting fad diets and getting back to the basics of moving more and eating smarter are your best bets for success in the New Year.

Be realistic, be specific.

"Planning to hit the gym for four hours every day or stick to a super restrictive fad diet is overwhelming for your body and mind," says Crandall. "Instead, choose smaller, healthy changes you can stick to over the long term."

One large goal can seem overwhelming. Instead, build a plan that works for your unique nutritional needs and lifestyle. Here are some challenging, reachable resolutions to consider:

Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.

Make at least half of the grains you eat whole grains.

Get active — fit in physical activity where you can in your day, whether taking a family walk after dinner or hitting the gym.

Serve regular, balanced meals and snacks with a variety of nutrient-rich foods.

Also, make sure the goals you set are measurable, so that you can easily review and track your progress, as well as reward yourself. Allow time to achieve each smaller goal so you are not discouraged if you haven't met them.

Build a support network

Enlist family and friends to try new healthy recipes with you or to be your workout buddy. Having a support network can help you overcome midnight snacking urges and encourage you to hit the gym in even the coldest of months.

"It's important to be sure to track your progress towards your health goals, and give yourself encouragement and solutions along the way," says Crandall.

This New Year, don't be disappointed. With a smart plan in place, you can make fitness and nutrition resolutions that are easier to keep.

For more tips on setting effective New Year's resolutions and to learn more about healthy weight loss, visit eatright.org/healthyweight.

Business resolutions

It's not just individuals who can benefit from New Year's resolutions. Businesses can also use the new year as an opportunity to reflect on how to improve in the year to come.

With that in mind, here is a resolution checklist for small business owners:

Get your books in order: Make sure to update balance sheets, compile income statements and assemble cash flow statements.

Evaluate goals: Did you meet your goals this year? What helped you achieve success? How can you improve during 2014?

Clearly documenting your goals and making them accessible to your staff will keep them top-of-mind. This can be anything, from bringing on a certain number of new employees to hitting a sales goal or expanding product offerings. Once you've set your goals, devise a plan that will get you there, with monthly or quarterly checkpoints, so you can ensure you're on track.

Protect data: Small businesses say that data is their most valuable asset. Are you adequately protecting it? Many small businesses only back up files once or twice a month, which can result in a tremendous loss. Cloud backup is the best way to ensure you get all your files back easily in the event of a disaster.

Save yourself a headache and protect your files automatically. A secure and affordable service, such as Carbonite for example, will continually create copies of all your files and store them in the cloud. Once the files are backed up, you can remotely access them from nearly any Internet-connected device — which can help keep you connected in an emergency or when you're traveling.

Make sure data protection is a key component of your end-of-year planning — it will help set up your business for success in the new year. More information about small business back-up can be found at carbonite.com.

Mitigate your current tax burden: Understand your tax deductions and book all deductions before the end of the year. Implement new tax strategies to mitigate your 2014 tax burden. Remember, all business models are different. Consider consulting an expert tax analyst to find out what's best for your business.

There's no time like the new year to reassess what's working for your company and what isn't. Take the opportunity to set your company up for a successful 2014.

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