New Year’s Resolution Success With Mairlyn Smith


‘I don’t believe in diets,’ Mairlyn Smith confided, ‘I believe in lifestyle changes.’ As a professional home economist, cookbook author and Cityline celebrity, she knows a thing or two about healthy living. Mairlyn shared her suggestions for setting yourself up for success with your New Years resolution to eat healthier and become more active.

  1. Make your goals attainable. Break them into easy, achievable steps. This will help you create momentum and allow you to build on your success.
  2. Be specific. ‘Get fit’ and ‘eat better’ are lofty goals. Setting specific goals helps you know when you have reached them.
  3. Set a reasonable time frame. Instead of trying to lose fifty pounds in a month, try losing it over a year. Losing a large amount of weight quickly makes regaining the weight more likely down the road.
  4. Pick things you enjoy. If your planned dietary change includes foods you don’t like to eat, you probably won’t stick to it.
  5. If it’s not on your plan, don’t buy it and don’t keep it in the house. This isn’t about willpower. It’s about setting yourself up for success.
  6. An apple a day…is a great first step to getting more fruit in your diet. Apples are inexpensive, healthy, and portable snacks. It’s an easy way to fit 1-2 servings of fruit.
  7. Make substitutions. Swap out foods you are trying to cut out of your diet and replace with healthier options.
  8. Eat more intentionally. Sit down at a table. Celebrate each meal and have respect for it. Take the time to look at it and enjoy it.
  9. Size matters…when it comes to your plate. Try serving your food on smaller plates to help with portion control.
  10. Get a buddy. This builds in accountability and can make changes a lot more fun with good company. You don’t have to go it alone. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help.
  11. Let go of perfectionism. Nobody’s perfect, just get up more times than you fall down. Don’t give up just because you’ve had a slip up. Don’t give in to all or nothing thinking.
  12. Exercise self-compassion. Treat yourself like you would a friend to help silence the negative voice in your head. Be nicer to yourself.
  13. Maintain perspective. Wellness is a journey, not a destination. The process can even be fun when it becomes part of your lifestyle.
  14. Focus on building habits. It takes 2-6 weeks to build a new habit. The key to lifestyle change is developing lifelong habits. Don’t stop at two weeks, keep going and it will become part of your life.
  15. Practice moderation. On special occasions, put flavour first. When you deprive yourself, you crave ‘forbidden foods’ and think about them all the time.
  16. Talk about it. Tell supportive people in your life about the changes you are making. Say it out loud! When you are struggling, give them a call for moral support.
  17. Prepare. Pre-pack your gym bag or pre-portion out your snacks. Planning ahead makes for fewer excuses or barriers to reaching your goal.
  18. Show up. If you don’t feel motivated to go for a walk, start small. Just go for a walk around the block and if you find you’re really tired, go home and take a nap. If you feel better (and you probably will), keep going.

Mid-January generally marks the turning point for those setting New Years resolutions. Taking a longer view and focusing on healthy, long-term habits can help you achieve the goals you set to improve your health, fitness and overall wellness.

If you’re among the 88% of Canadian women resolving to increase physical activity or the 87% who want to eat healthier, these ideas might be just what you need to avoid joining the 55% who give up in less than a year. You don’t necessarily need a ‘new diet’ with the New Year, but you can achieve a positive lifestyle change.

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