From festive indulgence to fitness and health:
The ‘No Resolution’ approach to New Year’s Resolutions – inspired by California Raisins

By Rick Miller, Clinical and Sports Dietitian, Harley Street, London

Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution? The chances are you have.

For 2019, it may well be a reduction in sugar in-take which could prove to be the sweetest plan for the year. The BBC reported on 1st January the worrying fact that Children in the UK exceed the maximum recommended sugar intake for an 18-year-old by the time they are 10.

According to a previous poll by Opinium Research over half of Brits (that’s 26.5 million people) will make a New Years’ resolution and 1 in 5 of us make those resolutions around health and fitness.

Sadly, if you’re one of the many who are tying up their brand new running shoes on the 1st of January, the statistics are just not in your favour in terms of keeping them.

As a result, the vast majority of people fail – some citing as few as 8% of people actually managing to keep their resolutions.

So what’s the problem with making resolutions?

After speaking to hundreds of patients my conclusion is that people just don’t set incremental and realistic goals for themselves, especially when it comes to health or getting into shape. Here’s a common one, the vast majority of people don’t eat anywhere near enough the recommended intake of fibre, so rather than swapping that low-fibre biscuit dunked into a mid-afternoon cup of tea for a health inspired portion of California Raisins, they go full throttle on the ‘juice cleanse’.

This is an example of not taking the ‘small steps’ approach to changing a current lifestyle. Crash dieting or crazy workout routines always seem more appealing, but there are no surprises that by the end of January, many have given up and become demotivated.

So here’s my ‘No Resolution’ approach to your health and fitness in 2019:

  • Work backwards from your goal and break it down

It’s as simple as that, it is much easier to attack a big problem in small stages. For instance, rather than just saying ‘by summer I’d like to be in shape’, instead break down your goal and work backwards to where you are today. That might be weeks or months but at least you now have an objective target to work to each week.

  • Have other people help keep you accountable

As the old saying goes, ‘a problem shared, is a problem halved’. An honest friend, partner or your clinician can really help keep you on track. Just make sure that you’re honest with them too, otherwise it doesn’t work! Agree to look for constructive ways to build on any slip-ups and forgive yourself or to make things even better if you’re cruising along in terms of progress.

  • Reward yourself regularly

Staying motivated requires frequent rewards. Our brains are hard-wired for compensation for our efforts and that’s why we never truly grow out of the prospect of a ‘gold star’ after our piece of work at school. So use your brain chemistry to your advantage! At each stage along the way, give yourself some rewards for your hard efforts. It could be as simple as a new piece of clothing, a short break or even a trip to the theatre.

  • Use my rule of ‘just change one thing’

This can be really effective if your major change is nutrition. Being honest, write everything down in a food diary for one week (including the weekend). At the end of the week (you might need the help of a Dietitian or Nutritionist for this) make a checklist of the top things that you could change and just change one thing for a whole week. If you succeed, then repeat the process. You’ll be surprised at how checklists are highly motivating if done correctly – but the key is to keep the goal small.

  • Commit to forgiveness and flexibility… not failure

One of the biggest detractors from motivation is perceiving a slip-up as a failure and ‘throwing in the towel’ the moment something doesn’t go quite to plan. The most successful people in most areas of life, never do this. Instead, they forgive themselves, review what went wrong and build in some flexibility to their plans for next time. If you can do this, no matter how big your goal may be, you will make it.

New Year’s resolutions for many are an obligatory part of their health and fitness goals for the coming year. Yet the truth is that for many they simply are a huge waste of time and just sap motivation.

Instead of joining the failing masses, why not try my ‘No Resolution’ approach to improving your health in 2019, take small steps like incorporating a healthy snack, such as California Raisins, into your routine and see a ‘New Year – New You’ this time.

Could a serving of California raisins be a solution? By Rick Miller, Clinical and Sports Dietitian, Harley Street, London

Good luck and best wishes for 2019

For further details please email

About the Author: 

Rick Miller is a registered Clinical and Sports Dietitian based in Harley Street, London.

You can find out more about Rick at