You, along with millions of Americans, may set a New Year’s Resolution in a couple of weeks. According to Forbes magazine, about 40% of the population resolves to lose weight in the coming year. In theory, the epidemic of obesity that has plagued us for decades will be over by the end of 2017 if everyone sticks to their resolution. The reality is, only about 10% of people actually meet their intended goals. If you are one of the other 90%, it’s time to figure out what’s going wrong. Here are the 4 most common problems we see.
You’re not doing it for the right reasons.
Everybody’s reasons to lose weight will be a little different and that’s okay. What’s similar though, is the variety of reasons given usually aren’t compelling enough to boost motivation, at least not for very long. Common answers like, “I want to look good in a bathing suit” or “I want to make my classmates jealous at our reunion” don’t drive the motivation train very far.
If you want to take that train cross country, meeting and exceeding your goals, you will need better fuel for motivation. Dig deep and find out the underlying motivation for change. Do you want to be healthier? More active with family and friends? Feel better? When you frame your goals this way, it is more meaningful and long lasting. Usually the idea behind the goal is the perception that you will be living a better life if you achieve your goal. What does the picture of that goal look like?
It’s not enough to think of your goals, you have to write them down. Write a list and keep it somewhere within arms reach so you can pick it up, look it over and keep going, just when you feel like quitting. Some find putting copies of it on the refrigerator or snack cabinet is a nice deterrent for when a snack craving is likely to get out of control.
Your goal is too vague.
Saying you are going to lose weight this year is a good start. However, there should really be a second part of that sentence. “I will lose weight by doing….xyz”. The XYZ can be just about anything, but it must be a reasonable, measurable goal.
Replace goals like, “I will lose 20 pounds” with goals like “I will start going for a 30-minute walk every day”. That’s something you can tangibly do every single day, and will eventually lead to your bigger goal. You can measure your success on a daily basis, and that immediate reward gives us the instant gratification we want and thrive on. You cannot measure your overall success of a 20 pound goal on a daily basis, and if you do, you’re likely doing this for the wrong reasons. Go back to reason 1!
Pursue your goals in a step-wise fashion. Pick something small, like not eating sweets, and commit to that for 4-6 weeks. After that becomes a good habit, pick something else to add and built upon your success. If you feel like cutting sugar was too much, keep at it a little longer or modify the goal to become something more manageable. It’s fine to modify a goal as long as you are moving in the right direction. Remember, lasting success is about improving upon your lifestyle, not creating a new one that is out of line with your life.
Write your mini-goals in your calendar. Plan for the entire year.There are always improvements to be made. Don’t forget to carve out time for evaluation and refining your goals. Do this about once a month. Figure out what’s working, what’s not and the plan of action, just as you should do running a business.
You’re not prepared.
Take the time to set yourself up for success. If you want to add 30-minutes of activity to your daily routine, figure out the logistics.
What are you going to do? Is there a standby exercise, like walking that you wouldn’t mind doing? Are you bored of the same old thing? Plan to experiment with some new exercise videos at home or classes at the gym to figure out what you really like. Also consider what extra equipment, if any, you would need to get going. Don’t invest in too much if you’re not sure you will like the activity you have chosen.
When will you will do it? Look at your routine and find a reasonably easy time to add something. Most people find that getting exercise out of the way before their day really begins is their key to success. Others simply aren’t morning people, and do just fine hitting the gym after work. Either way, experiment and figure out what works best for you, even if that time varies on your day to day schedule. Just make it a priority to fit it in somewhere.
Most people, me included, don’t have the willpower to remain accountable only to ourselves. Internalizing your goals really just gives you permission to slack off when things get hard. You didn’t tell anybody about your plans, therefore, nobody can be disappointed (but you still will be).
Externalize those goals. Tell your spouse, your best friend, or all of Facebook your goal, and you will instantly feel the good pressure to keep on and meet your goals. Although your friends and family likely won’t be disappointed by your shortcomings, you are a man or woman of your word, and that means a lot.
Take the accountability one step further and have your support system become part of the plan. Maybe everyone in the family could stand to make some changes. Do it together, get a little friendly competition going. There’s a reason work and family weight loss challenges work. We are inherently drawn to the positive pressure of a win or lose situations.
Where do I start?
Having someone help you set your goals, make plan, and be there for accountability can be the key to your success. The professionals at Bordeaux Nutrition help patients with goal setting and accountability every day. Let us help you too! The good news is, most commercial insurance policies cover nutrition counseling for little to no cost, even with high-deductible plans.
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