Here comes the New Year and the stark realization that you haven’t accomplished many of the things you resolved to do at the start of last year. A whole year has gone by and you are still eating too many cookies and carrying around that extra 10 or 20 or 50 pounds.
If you are like most other resolution setters who fail, the primary problem may be that the resolutions you set were never realistic in the first place. Deciding to stop drinking sugary soft drinks cold turkey or promising to work-out every single day may sound great but if they aren’t achievable, you are more likely to end the year with 5 more pounds to lose than you are to get to your goal.
To help you set yourself up for success right from the start, here are some helpful tips that will help ensure the resolutions you choose are realistic.
1. Remember that Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day
One of the biggest problems with setting resolutions at the beginning of the year is that it creates this idea that on January 1st we will suddenly become different people than we were the day before. So, if you have been trying to lose the same 20 pounds for years you are unlikely to shed it all in a month, or even three months. Real, lasting change takes time, effort, and commitment, the most important being time. You didn’t gain all 20 of those pounds in a month, so don’t expect to lose it that quickly.
2. You Can’t Lose Weight and Cure Cancer at the Same Time
One of the most important mistakes we all make when setting resolutions or setting out to make big lifestyle changes is that we try to do them all at once. It doesn’t matter how much willpower you have, you can’t stop eating sugar, start working out like a personal trainer, never blow your new budget, and finally keep up with the housework all at the same time. If losing weight is the most important resolution on your list, let all the others go. You can always pick one of them next year after you achieve your weight loss goal.
3. Start Small and Select the Lowest Hanging Fruit
Experts agree that when it comes to resolutions and to losing weight, success breeds success. Start with small easily attainable goals and then use those little wins to carry you forward. Losing 50 pounds and losing 5 pounds 10 times will get you to the same place. And, don’t start with the worst or the hardest or the thing you are most dreading, start with the easiest thing first. Remember, success breeds success and once you start to see the results of those small wins, it will be easier to continue making the small changes you need to get you to your goal.
4. Don’t Let the Perfect Be the Enemy of the Good
Another problem with resolutions set at the start of the New Year is that it establishes this idea that we must be perfect in order to succeed. And when we are not perfect, we give up. Don’t let your inability to be perfect ruin all the good you are doing for yourself. Let’s say you never workout or get much physical activity. This year, your resolution is to work-out four times a week but this week you could only get yourself to the gym twice. Rather than beating yourself up for not being perfect, remind yourself that working out twice is more than you were doing before which means it is good enough.