Did you make a New Year’s Resolution? Lots of Americans do but very few follow through and stick with their goals for more than a month or two. We want to help you see your resolutions through this year so we’re offering tips for common resolutions all week long. Yesterday we talked about sticking to a budget and today we’re talking health and weight loss.
Millions of Americans resolve every year to start a new diet, to lose weight or just get fit. While setting a big goal can be inspiring, it can also be difficult to achieve without the right amount of thought and preparation.
Here are some ideas to help you get started.
Get a support system – If you intend to make a major life change, it’s important to have help from your family and friends. They don’t have to embrace your healthy living choices but it’s helpful if they at least respect them. Surround yourself with loved ones who will encourage you and help keep you on track.
Buddy up – As part of that support system, find someone to be your partner in crime. This should be a person who will ask you the tough questions about what you ate, who will cheer your positive choices and who will expect you to show up for your evening walk or who counts on you as much as you count on them for support.
Start small – The best way to get big results is to start small. Identify small swaps and changes you can make to help you along the way. Instead of giving up all junk food, start by phasing out things like sugary drinks or by ditching the snacks. These small steps won’t seem too difficult but will help you achieve results.
Control what you can – If you know that you want to stop eating sweets, don’t bring Oreos and ice cream into your home. If you know that food court pretzels are your greatest temptation, steer clear of the food court. Prepare meals at home so you know what’s going into your food and carry healthy snacks to work and in the car so you aren’t tempted to hit a drive thru.
Make a game plan – Give yourself attainable goals for each day, week or month. If you have one or two goals to focus on at one time, it’s much easier to understand what’s really important. Actually write down those goals and check them off each time you accomplish what you set out to do. For example, today’s goals may be to drink 64 ounces of water, to work out for 30 minutes and to skip dessert. Be sure that your plan supports your lifestyle. If you have young children, going to the gym every night of the week will likely be impossible. Exercising at home with a walk-at-home dvd or using some hand weights may be a more attainable goal.
Tough love – Stop making excuses. Identify your weak spots and get to work making those challenges disappear. Tough love. It’s hard to embrace at first but once you start banishing those excuses, other excuses start to sound weaker.
Find your motivation – Learn what motivates you and motivate yourself every day. Maybe it’s a picture of your slender self when you were young. Maybe it’s a desire to be around to dance at your granddaughter’s wedding. Whatever it is, think of what motivates you every time you’re facing a decision.
Be Kind To Yourself – No one is perfect. There likely will be slip-ups along the way but that’s not cause to be unkind to yourself. Consider why you slipped and how you can do better next time. Then move on! This means that you can’t shame yourself for bad choices or deprive yourself of things that you really want. You are worth the time and the caring it takes to recover from a bad choice and to do better tomorrow.
Listen to your body – Are you tired, thirsty or frustrated? You could be confusing thirst with hunger or sadness and anger for a burning desire to eat cake. Stop and think about what your body really needs. If you’re hungry, give it fuel. If you’re tired, give it rest. Your body knows what it needs, you just have to listen!
Celebrate the small victories – Look for the good and for the reasons to celebrate. Did you stick to your eating plan today? Have you lost a pant size? Did you say no to seconds? These are reasons to celebrate! Do a little dance or buy yourself a little treat.
Are you ready to meet your health and weight loss goals this year? Tell us about it in the comments section!