It’s time to gear up for 2018! The new year brings the feeling of a fresh start, which is why so many people make New Year’s resolutions. Weight loss is the most common resolution, but only 8 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually stick to them. Don’t be discouraged by the statistic, and learn how to make a resolution that will stick year round.
Be specific. “I want to lose weight.” You hear the phrase spoken repeatedly as Jan. 1 draws near. The problem: It’s not specific enough. How much weight do you want to lose? How do you plan on getting there? What changes are you going to make to your current lifestyle? To be successful, you need a plan. A good example of a specific goal is, “I want to lose 25 pounds in six months by exercising for 20 minutes at least five days a week, cooking at home six days per week, and reducing my total calorie intake by 500 calories per day.”
Write it down. One your goal is planned out, write it down, and put it in a place you can always see it. The reminder will keep you motivated. In addition to your big-picture goal, write down smaller daily goals to keep you on track. For example, “Today, I’m going to drink water with lunch instead of soda.” You have to take small steps to get your big goal. Celebrating these small accomplishments will help you stay positive throughout your weight loss journey.
Keep a food journal. To get where you are going, you need to know where you are. Write down everything you eat (yes, samples at the grocery store included). This will tell you where the majority of your calories are coming from, so you will know where you need to cut back. Plus, a food journal will help you be more mindful while eating. If you know you have to write it down, you’ll think twice before digging into second and third helpings of a meal.
Be positive, but don’t fantasize. Studies show having a positive attitude toward your weight loss expectations will help you lose weight, but fantasizing about a slimmer figure can actually put a damper on your weight loss efforts. Why? Weight loss takes hard work. Fantasizing about your physical appearance alone won’t help you achieve your goal. Instead, visualize yourself making positive choices, like overcoming a food craving or taking a walk after work.
Get support. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Tell your partner, friends, family, and primary care provider. Studies show those who have support from their partner were more successful at losing weight and keeping it off than those who didn’t have a strong support system.