For a lot of people, the start of a new year means the start of many other “new” things. Millions of people make New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of each new year. Anything from quitting smoking, saving money, being more positive and losing weight are among the most popular ones. Walk into any gym the start of the new year and it will be packed. However, come February, the crowds will start to dissipate and the gym will be back to normal. Most people do not make it through the entire year pursing their resolutions. Some only make it a few months, some only a few weeks and only a third make it to the end of January. What are the keys to making a successful New Year’s Resolution?
Make goals that will stick:
Just like starting a weight loss plan at any other time of the year, constructing goals are always important. These goals need to be specific, realistic, attainable and time oriented. If you make a goal to lose 50 pounds by April, there is a good chance that you won’t reach your goal by that time making you frustrated and ready to throw in the towel. Keeping it more realistic by saying you will lose 10 pounds by April is a more achievable goal and when you reach it you will be more likely to set your next goal and continue your journey. When creating a goal based on pounds to be lost, stick to ½-2 pounds per week. Depending on age, gender, activity level and how much fat mass your body has to spare, this is a safe and attainable amount to lose. So, if your goal is to lose weight by April, you can realistically lose anywhere between 6-24 pounds. Anything more than this is unrealistic and you will be disappointed and ready to quit come April. Once you have reached this goal, it’s time to build on what you have done and make another goal. Always set a deadline for all your goals. This will make it more of a priority in your mind.
Make your new year’s resolution about health not vanity:
A lot of our health goals are driven by vanity. We all want to look a certain way. Everyone’s bodies are different and so striving to look like that fashion or fitness model may not be achievable for your specific body type. This year instead of striving to look like that cover model, make a resolution to be the best, healthiest version of you. Make your goals aimed toward health and your body will thank you from the inside out. This will not be a crash diet, so you may not see your body transforming in the matter of days, but over the long run you will find you feel better, you have more energy, your happier and although you may have not thought it possible, your body is following suit. Some examples of goals you can make to start your healthy lifestyle are to aim for 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, making it to the gym 4 times a week, quitting smoking, eating a diet filled with whole foods and removing processed foods.
Identify your obstacles:
Most likely this isn’t the first time you have tried to lose weight and get healthy. So, look back at your last attempts and identify what was the obstacle that stood in your way? How will you overcome this obstacle this time around? Figuring out before starting what your obstacles are and how you will overcome them this time, will set you up for success.
Write down your plan:
You have decided what your goals are going to be, now it’s time to figure out how you are going to get there. Having a plan will help you stay on track. Studies show that when your goals are written down and a plan is put into place, you are more likely to stick to it. So, once you have your goals figured out, make sure to put it in ink along with a plan on how you are going to achieve these goals.
Setbacks do not mean your resolution has come to an end:
We have set backs in many areas of our lives. Whether it be at home, work or in our personal lives. Say you make a mistake at work, does that mean you quit? No, you continue trekking on and learn from your mistake. Same thing goes for your diet, you make a mistake, the next meal or snack you get right back on that horse. One mistake does not define who you are.
The buddy system:
Find someone that will help you stick to your plan. This could be anyone from a friend, spouse, family member, personal trainer, or your registered dietitian. Anyone who will keep you accountable for what you do. If you know you are going to have to meet someone at the gym you are less likely to back out. In addition, when you are working out with someone else it can really help your time go faster. If someone is overcoming a drug or alcohol addiction, they have a sponsor. Someone who when they are about to have a drink, they can call to talk them off the ledge. Food addiction is no different. Find someone who will be that person for you. Are you a competitive person? Another idea is to find someone or a group of people who have similar goals and start a weight loss competition with them. Need help starting a competition and/or someone to be the moderator. Contact me to set up a weight loss party!
Keep track of your success:
Finding a way to track your success and your steps towards your goals can help you visualize all the hard work you have done and keep you on track. I like to use a calendar to help me tack my progress. When I have met my goals for the day, I put a red check mark on that day in my calendar. When I was training for the marathon I did, I would write in the number of miles I ran that day. Seeing my journey on paper made me proud of the hard work I was doing.