How to Keep Your New Year’s Weight Loss Resolution

When the calendar rolls over to 2010, about 45% of all adults will set one or more New Year’s resolutions. One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight. This isn’t surprising given the overeating that tends to occur during the holidays.

If you plan on losing weight in 2010, there’s good news and bad news. Let’s start with the bad news. The odds are against you. Over 90% of all diets fail, and the majority of people don’t keep their New Year’s resolutions. But wait…remember how I said there’s good news? There are several simple steps you can take to turn the odds in your favor and to shed those pounds in 2010!

Start by following these simple tips.

• Set realistic goals—There’s nothing wrong with wanting to accomplish something great, but if you’re too ambitious, you risk sabotaging your efforts. See, if you set an unrealistic weight loss goal (e.g. lose 50 pounds in a month), you’ll be miserable trying to reach your goal, and you’ll get discouraged when you fail. Instead, set realistic goals you can keep. Maybe you can try losing a couple of pounds each week. Set benchmarks you’d like to reach by certain days in 2010. Just don’t bite off more than you can chew.

• Write everything down—It’s a good idea to put your New Year’s weight loss resolution down on paper. Post it on the fridge or on your wall so that you see it every day. Additionally, I recommend keeping a journal to track your progress. In this journal, you should write down everything you eat, how much you exercise, and your weekly weight.

• Take it one meal at a time—Forget one day at a time; when you’re dieting, it’s one meal at a time. Focus on making healthy decisions with every meal you eat. Avoid tempting situations that might cause you to eat poorly, and do your best to avoid situations where you have to eat on the run (i.e. fast food). If you do make a poor eating decision, don’t beat yourself up. Just make sure to do a better job with your next meal.

• Limit the number of resolutions you make—One of the biggest mistakes people make at the New Year is to make multiple resolutions. You overwhelm yourself when you try to take on too many things at once. Remember, it’s better to do one thing well than many things poorly. So, if you decide to try to lose weight, don’t try to quit smoking, learn a new language, stop drinking, etc. at the same time.

• Make small changes that have a big impact—Instead of driving to nearby places, try walking or riding a bicycle. Whenever you do drive somewhere, park toward the end of the parking lot so that you have to walk a little bit. Instead of taking elevators, take the stairs. Little changes like this force you to be more active, helping you to burn those pounds away.

• Prepare healthy meals ahead of time—If you’re like most people, you’re busy. Work, errands, and taking care of the family leave most people tired and uneager to cook. This is when fast food typically enters the picture. You can combat these slipups by preparing multiple meals ahead of time. This way, whenever you’re too tired to cook, you’ll have a healthy meal on hand waiting for you.

• Get support from friends and family—Trying to lose weight and keep your New Year’s resolution on your own is a huge challenge. You can use all the help you can get. Ask friends and family to support you so that you have a helping hand when you need it most. Perhaps you can buddy up with someone else who is also trying to lose weight, allowing the two of you to keep each other accountable.

• Reward yourself—You can’t completely eliminate your favorite treats and eats. Reward yourself occasionally with something you love. You can set small benchmarks you need to meet (e.g. every 5 pounds you lose) before you’re allowed a reward. When rewarding yourself, always enjoy things in moderation.

Have you kept your New Year’s diet resolutions in the past? What worked for you? What didn’t? Share your best tips in the replies.

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