It’s Back to School: The Family New Year

It’s Labor Day.  Summer break is officially over.  Tomorrow is the first day of school for our kids and we’re getting ready for a new routine.

I’m glad to see our school make a few changes.  For instance, now snacks can only be fresh fruits or vegetables.  They shared a note with the parents and provided all sorts of ideas for different fruits and vegetables to pack for snack time.  I liked that.

6023339428_78be6c42fc_bBack-to-school marks a new beginning.  Think of it as the Family New Year.  It’s an opportunity for everyone to get into a new routine and make some healthy changes.  But keep in mind, for changes to become habits you need to make small steps.

I wrote about the power of small steps in my latest post for Cooking Light’s 12 Healthy Habits program, along with some tips to help make your habits stick.  Check out the original article on The Twelve blog:  Small Steps to Change Your Life.

A few of the tips:

  • Change your environment. Make sure your fridge and pantry help support your healthy habits. Get rid of tempting foods, snacks, and drinks that trigger regretted behavior. Keep fresh fruit in bowls on the counter, and wash and cut fresh veggies ahead of time and keep at eye-level in the fridge for easy snacking. Make the healthy choice the convenient choice.
  • See for yourself. Create your action plan and visualize yourself carrying it out. Researchers have found that visualization techniques—or mentally rehearsing buying, preparing, and eating healthy food—helps people actually change their eating habits.
  • Get inspired. Find someone who succeeded in making the positive changes you want to mirror. Use these successful role models to keep you motivated.
  • Celebrate victories. Pat yourself on the back for making some new, positive changes—no matter how small. When you begin to succeed, you gain self-confidence, which leads to greater success. As behavioral experts say, “nothing succeeds like success.”
  • Give it time. Don’t get impatient. It takes time to establish a new habit. One recent study found that it takes an average of 66 days before a new habit becomes automatic. So commit to 30 days, then the next month will be much easier to sustain.

Happy Labor Day!  Are you making a fresh start this time of year?  If you’re following the 12 Healthy Habits program and you’ve had success making positive changes, tell me your story.  Send me an email at

[photo credit: madlyinlovewithlife on flickr]

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