Now that it’s January, like most people, you may have made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. However, research suggests that most resolutions end up in the New Year’s resolution graveyard within the first month or two. Getting and especially staying on track is difficult, but thankfully it is not impossible. To optimize your chances of reaching your goal, you have to set yourself up for success. Below are five simple ways to start your weight loss journey today!
Begin by Setting One Goal Using the S.M.A.R.T Format
For a goal to be effective, it needs to be a specific accomplishment or milestone that you’d like to reach. Your goal should answer questions like:
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Why is this goal relevant?
- What needs to be accomplished?
- Who’s responsible for it?
- What steps need to be taken to achieve it?
Non-Specific Goal: “This year I will start exercising.”
Specific Goal: “This week I will walk at least two times for 30 minutes each time.”
Make your goal measurable, by asking yourself: How much? How many? State your goal in terms of units that can be measured, minutes exercised, number of days you write down what you eat, amount of water drank, steps taken, etc. Having a measurable goal is key to tracking progress, keeping you focused, and meeting your deadlines.
Set a goal that is just a little bit more challenging than the previous one, but still within reach. But don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone.
Example: “This week I will walk 5 minutes longer per session than last week.”
Pick a goal that is realistic. This is extremely important because you do not want to set yourself up for failure. Use the reality check strategy and ask yourself, “Would I expect a friend or family member to achieve the goal I set for myself?” If the answer is yes, you most likely set a realistic goal. If the answer is no, your goal is unrealistic – brainstorm and revise it until you feel it is realistic.
Without a deadline, there is no sense of urgency. Thus, time limits motivate people to get the job done. If you want to lose 10 lbs., by when do you want to lose it? Stating “This year” will not work. However, if you create a time frame, i.e., “by February 1st”, then you have set your mind into motion to begin working on the goal.
The S.M.A.R.T. formula will help you create goals which are set-up in a way to help you succeed. By asking yourself questions such as how you know when you’ve achieved your goal and what kind of obstacles you may face and how you can successfully overcome them, and with what non-food items you can reward yourself with, you’re setting yourself up for success.
Tell Supportive People About Your Plans
People who are trying to lose weight often get better results if they have sources of support to help them deal with any issues that come up. Identify any people you think will be able to offer you support during the weight loss program and ask for their support and encouragement.
Make a List of the Pros & Cons of Changing
Ask yourself: What will change if I do nothing? What will I (or others) gain from doing this? What are the pros of changing/cons of not changing? Reinforce your goals by reminding yourself of the positives in the situation.
Create a Positive and Encouraging Daily Mantra
Use positive and encouraging self-talk – be your own cheer leader! Whether it’s “I can do this,” “I am capable of losing weight,” or “I choose to exercise,” choose something which will help you get through your journey. Whatever it is, write it down and remind yourself often to help stay in the right mindset.
Just Do It!
If you are serious about your weight loss goals, there is no moment like the present to get started. You are going to feel so much better about yourself when you feel more disciplined and focused. You can do this!