According to a University of Scraton survey, nearly 45% of Americans set a New Year’s resolution but only a measly 8% achieved their goal last year. The most popular New Year’s resolution involved weight loss. You made your resolutions a month ago and you may already feel very challenged or discouraged.
The main reason people don’t achieve their resolutions is because they create a huge goal without taking the necessary steps in breaking it down into mini-goals. They also fail to develop the right habits to guide them to dropping that extra 10/20/30/etc lbs or eating less junk food.
Essentially, if you want to achieve your New Year’s weight loss resolutions you need to examine your life and start developing healthy new habits. Here are 6 habits you can adopt to help you become one of those faithful few who achieve their weight loss related New Year’s goals.
- Portion Control
Rather than making a goal to just stop eating junk food or highly processed foods cold turkey, change your eating habits by cracking down with portion control. Portion control is in a way more important than what types of foods you are eating. If you overeat, even on healthy but calorie rich foods, you aren’t going to lose weight. Period. It can be much easier to move from eating junk in moderation to cutting them out than suddenly going cold turkey (although there is nothing wrong with going cold turkey and eating completely clean from the start if you can).
The flaw with just trying to avoid junk altogether is that the deprivation is very likely going to cause you to suddenly binge on whatever you’re craving which leads to guilt. Cut back you portions overall and if you do have a craving for some ice cream, have only one serving. Smaller portions or limited portions are a great start.
- Not Making Excuses for Eating Bad Foods
Being completely honest with yourself is a hard skill to learn. One habit of some weight loss resolutioners is that they make some type of excuse for themselves when they slip up with their diet/new lifestyle. Not only are you fooling yourself but you’re actually convincing yourself that it is ok to give into pressure and bad habits.
A common excuse is to cave in and eat a quart of Ben and Jerry’s and then tell yourself “Oh, I’ll just run an extra mile tomorrow” or “I just won’t eat anything tomorrow”. Maybe you even blame your friends when they want fast food and you cave in. Instead, be honest. Take responsibility when you slip up but don’t beat yourself up about it. If it continues to be a problem then take a look at the lifestyle you’re trying to live and see what the problem is. You have to dig deep and face the issue that is contribute to your bad eating habits. Deal with things like binging, emotional eating, eating to deal with stress, etc by dealing with the non-food issues in your life. Food addiction is also a very real thing and you may need to reach out to Weight Watchers or Overeaters Anonymous for help.
- Being Accountable to Another Person/Group
This habit might be difficult for people who tend to treat their goals and health very privately. However, sharing yours goals and asking people to keep you accountable is a really strong tool in completing your weight loss goals. Having people in your daily life keep you accountable is the most effective way but there is an alternative.
You can also ask a fitness group, like your local zumba class or bootcamp group, to keep you accountable at your gym. If you don’t go to a gym you can also join online health forums, Facebook pages like ours and health/weight loss tracking websites (My Fitness Pal, SparkPeople and FitBit are great examples). We even host DietBet contests online where you can join in and commit to weight loss goals in a weight loss pool for money. These online communities often have entire section dedicated to finding people accountability partners or groups.
- Weekly Photo Diary of Progress
Often people only measure their weight loss by seeing how much they are losing on the scale. This can be misleading if you’ve taken on a fitness regimen and putting on muscle. It will seem like you aren’t losing weight very quickly when in fact you’re losing weight and replacing it with muscle.
Instead of focusing solely on the scale’s numbers, take pictures every week of your progress. Aside from health reasons, many people want to lose weight because they feel like they will look better. Being able to compare pictures will show you just how much change you are making and can be super motivating compared to looking at numbers. Once you reach your goal weight, you can share your before and after photos to inspire others.
- Reward Yourself
Adults really aren’t much different than children in the sense that rewards are a great incentive and motivator. Adopt the habit of rewarding yourself when you’ve achieve your goal milestones. These rewards could be anything that you enjoy and look forward to but they shouldn’t be something common in your everyday life.
Some examples could be a weekend vacation to the beach, a spa day, a shopping spree for new clothes, a makeover or whatever else you might be craving.
- Write Down Your Goals
Last but not least, always make a habit of writing down your goal and each mini-goal/milestone. Keeping a journal, either online or offline, which tracks your progress towards your goal is a super powerful tool. Simply keeping your goal in your head not only prevents you from tracking it properly but also greatly increases your chances of not completing it. In this day and age, you can also use online tracking tools like the FitBit.
The saying “out of sight, out of mind” applies very much to weight loss resolutions. Keep your goal lists and tracking charts in plain view so it’s always something you’re aware of. Review your goals on a regular basis, but don’t go overboard to the land of obsession.
Reaching your New Year’s resolution isn’t impossible. With the right mindset, tools and a smart goal you’ll be able to greet the next year as a whole new person.
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