How To Keep Your 2013 New Year's Resolution

This article originally appeared in Honolulu Magazine in December 2012
How To Keep Your 2013 New Year's Resolution (Honolulu Magazine) - December 2012

By Sabrina Bauer

Making a New Year’s resolution is easier than actually keeping one. But, with some help from these four local experts, you may be able to cross this year’s resolution off your list for good.

If your New Year’s resolution is to… eat healthier

    Stay balanced. Don’t deprive your body of a major food group, says Danielle McCauley, registered dietitian in Kailua who also designs and prepares well-balanced meals for My Chef Hawaii.
  1. Go back to basics by listening to your hunger and satiety cues—the ones that tell you to stop eating. Rate your hunger and fullness on a scale from 0 (very full) to 10 (very hungry) and keep in mind that people who stay between a range of 4 to 7 tend to be closer to their ideal body weight.
  2. Don’t think eating healthy is an “on” or “off” behavior. Too many people blame themselves for falling off the wagon, but don’t be so hard on yourself and just go back on.
  3. Avoid extreme diets. Slow and steady will lead to more permanent results.
  4. Limit high-fat meat like SPAM, bacon, sausage and fried meats, as well as high-calorie beverages. Eat a well-rounded meal—preferably from a plate that’s no bigger than 10 inches—that includes at least one vegetable and one fruit option.

If your New Year’s resolution is to… quit smoking

    The bad news first: Smokers are not only craving nicotine, they are also addicted to the behavioral and social-cultural aspects of smoking, which makes it extra hard to quit. But, according to Pedro Haro, spokesman of the Hawaii Tobacco Quitline, “just like anything else, it can be made easier if you have a plan.”
  1. Prepare for your Quit Day by throwing away all of your cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays and everything else that reminds you of smoking.
  2. List why you want to quit and visualize what you gain—and also what you lose if you don’t.
  3. Tell everybody you quit so they can support you and help you stay on track.
  4. Take advantage of the free professional help programs (such as the ones at and use patches and gum to help your body with the nicotine withdrawal.

If your New Year’s resolution is to… save money

    “Admit it, saving is not glamorous. And psychology tells us that our nature works against us when it comes to saving money,” says Rosita Chang, executive committee member of the Financial Literacy Program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Chang explains that it is mainly our impatience and the desire for instant gratification that makes it so hard to put aside extra dollars
  1. Have an amount automatically deducted from your paycheck to a savings account. “Money you don’t see is money you won’t miss,” says Chang.
  2. Let friends, family and colleagues know about your plans. Find like-minded people and support each other.
  3. Change your mind-set by telling yourself that saving money is not just money for an indefinable “something” in the future, but instead a payment to yourself.
  4. Take advantage of your biggest ally: Time. Set up a retirement plan as soon as possible. The earlier you start, the more compounding time lies ahead.

If your New Year’s resolution is to… get in shape

Personal trainer Eric Yamashita of E. Yamashita Personal Training says the major reason that people don’t stick to this New Year’s resolution is that they tend to set goals that are way too big.
  1. If you don’t do anything active right now, take small steps and start with walking once a week. Once you see and feel a little success, go further.
  2. Visualize your goal by pinning a picture of that dress you want to fit in on your wall, or by writing positive affirmations on notepads.
  3. Find one person you can trust to support you, and a yoga or jogging partner who will help you stick to your new routine.
  4. A quick trick: Drink a big glass of water before eating. And, if you are invited to a feast, eat something small in advance to help yourself avoid overeating.