Too many people resolve to lose weight but never actually have a plan in place for doing it. Therefore, year after year, they have the same New Year’s resolution because their goal was never achieved. Has this happened to you? How can you change this relentless pattern?
It’s important when setting goals to follow the S.M.A.R.T. goal system. This system will help you accomplish what you set out to do and reach your goals in a timely fashion.
• Specific. Be explicit in what you want. Write down a specific number of pounds that you would like to lose.
• Measurable. Weigh yourself every week and take note of your weight change, either up or down. Keep track of this in a journal.
• Attainable. Small goals which lead up to a larger goal are often easier to reach. The success of reaching these small goals will keep you motivated.
• Realistic. Understand what your body is capable of doing and set your goals accordingly.
• Timely. Keep your goal in focus by setting a completion date.
In addition, here are some more weight loss tips to help you succeed with your New Year’s resolution:
1. Have a plan of action. How much weight do you want to lose? Break your total down into a series of smaller attainable goals. For example, plan to lose ____ pounds by ____ (date). Make these goals realistic, and then follow a plan of diet and exercise to achieve them.
• Your plan may require changes in your lifestyle. Work these changes into your daily routines one-by-one to attain your goals.
• Write your goals down in a journal, and review them every day.
2. Change your diet. Figure out how many calories you’ve been consuming each day. If it’s over 2,500, gradually decrease the number of calories instead of immediately dropping to 1,200 calories a day.
For example, try limiting yourself to 2,000 calories a day for a week, then drop to 1,500 for another week. Eventually, you’ll reach your goal without being severely deprived.
• Reducing your daily calorie intake will require healthy eating choices. Consult your physician for recommended nutritional guides, and choose the one that works best for you.
• There are online programs that calculate your calorie and fat intake for you. All you do is write in your food choices. Use whatever tools you need to simplify your tasks and stay motivated to reach your goals.
3. Get off the Couch. Set a reasonable exercise schedule to help you with your weight loss goal. Design your exercise regimen to target the areas that need the most toning (i.e. thighs, abs, arms, buttocks, etc.).
• Keep your exercise goals realistic. Start small if you need to, and then increase your regimen. For example, running 5 miles every day will burn off a lot of calories, but it may not be feasible for you. You may need to first try walking to build up some stamina, and then add in running little by little.
• Setting goals, which are too far from your normal activities, will quickly wear you out and discourage you. Start small and build on each success. Increase your exercise time (or treadmill speed, or incline, etc.) by a small increment each week.
• Exercising a little bit each day will increase your energy and help you become healthier. And you don’t need a gym membership or expensive exercise equipment either. Walk or run around your neighborhood or use canned foods instead of weights. You can even borrow exercise DVDs from the library.
4. Make Some Friends. The people who are usually the most successful in losing weight and keeping it off are the ones who have a great support system. Nothing deters you like knowing you’re accountable to others for every bite you put in your mouth.
• Your support team will encourage you, work out with you, and bring you confidence when times are tough.
• Some people find it helpful to join a local weight loss support group or an online weight loss group. Celebrating your weight loss successes with others will make them that much more meaningful.
Losing weight is possible for anyone who approaches the challenge wisely. With some careful planning and determination, your weight loss goal can certainly become a reality in the New Year.