Written by: Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Kim Feinstein, RedMountain Weight Loss Behavioral Weight Loss Specialist
Like most people, chances are you’ve made a New Year’s Resolution for this year. Maybe your resolution was to lose weight, or quit smoking or save money. However, research suggests that most resolutions end up in the New Year’s Resolution graveyard within the first month or two. Getting and 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 5 simple ways to start your weight loss journey today! Stop thinking and start doing!
1. Begin by setting one goal using the S.M.A.R.T format:
Ex. Nonspecific 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 such questions as: 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.
Set a goal that is just a little bit more challenging than the previous one.
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. 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, you may be setting an unrealistic goal for yourself. If your goal is unrealistic, just 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 timeframe, i.e., “by February 1st”, then you have set your mind into motion to begin working on the goal.
· How will you know when you’ve achieved your goal?
· Consider possible obstacles and how to overcome them.
One of the biggest roadblocks to success is failing to anticipate obstacles and how to detour around them.
· With what non-food related items will you reward yourself?
2. 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.
3. Make a list of the Pros and Cons of Changing
· 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?
4. Create a positive and encouraging daily mantra
· Ex. I can do this, I am capable of losing weight, I choose to exercise.
· Use positive and encouraging self talk – be your own cheer leader.
· Write it down and remind yourself often.
5. Just Do it!
· Stop wishing and start doing!
· Visualize your success daily.
· If necessary, get the help you need to begin to take action.
If you are serious about your weight loss goals, there is no moment like the present to get started. You know that you are going to feel so much better about yourself when you feel more disciplined and focused. You can do this! I promise.