In January, many will embark on a mission of “new year, new me.” That means millions of Americans will begin fad diets in hopes of dropping the weight they gained during the holiday season (a trend that is over-exaggerated by the diet industry) and get on a road to better health.

But we know that fad diets don’t work, so let’s shift those goals to work on healthy behaviors that can actually help you feel better in 2022.

I tell my clients to focus on intentions. What are your intentions for 2022? Goals feel so definite and finite. Intentions allow you to be flexible and feel more achievable.

The key to finding good health during any time of the year, not just January, is to focus on actions that are in our control. Here are some common goals I hear from clients and how to turn them into intentions instead:

Goal: Eat better. No need to cut carbs, go gluten free or paleo. Let’s work on adding nutrients to your day that give you energy and make you feel good. I like to think of each meal as a new beginning. Didn’t eat veggies at breakfast? No biggie. I can add fruits and vegetables to my lunch, instead. The same for dinner or a snack.

And again, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t eat that many nutritious foods that day. Because guess what? The next day provides you with a whole new set of opportunities to work in more fruits and vegetables. If you view it this way, fruits and vegetables don’t become a chore and you will start noticing that you will eat more of them.

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Goal: Exercise more. We all want to move more and it’s great for our physical and mental health. But instead of focusing on calories burned, let focus on how it makes you feel. You can begin by asking yourself, throughout the day, what movement feels good now? Can I go for a walk? Do I want to go to the gym and try a class? You have the ability to add movement at any point during your day, and it’s OK if you are just not feeling it. When we let go of the rigid rules, movement becomes fun. Think of what movement makes you happy and add more of that to your day. And you can also split it up throughout the day.

Goal: Sleep better. Sleep can help us feel better but it can be difficult for many adults. It’s important to understand that sleep needs vary from person to person. And finding the amount that works for you and a routine to help you is important. This is a great intention to have and can aid in your health goals.

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Goal: Reduce stress. Life is crazy now and focusing on ways to de-stress is more important than ever. Make a list of things that bring you joy. Keep it on your phone or by your desk and when you are feeling stressed, pick something from that list to help you. Practice it once a day or more, if needed. Reducing stress will help you feel better overall, which might make eating healthy and exercising feel easier.

Remember that the intended meaning behind “new year, new you” is a fresh start or new beginning. I want you to be a happier, nourished version of yourself and this happens when you let go of the rigid rules and take it one day at a time.

Dalina Soto is a registered dietitian and founder of Nutritiously Yours, a Philadelphia-based bilingual nutrition counseling service offering virtual consultations. Find her on Instagram at @your.latina.nutritionist.