Turn New Year’s resolutions into year-long achievements

New Year = New Resolutions. For many, it’s to be fitter, thinner or healthier. But let’s face it, most of us probably won’t last for more than a few months.

Making New Year’s resolutions is great – but it’s also the easy part, and you won’t ever see results if you give up too soon. Here are some ways to keep motivated during the whole of this year.

  1. Change your ‘all or nothing’ mind set

One of the best ways to stay motivated is to rethink the way you think about weight loss. Don’t turn it into an all or nothing situation where you have to lose a certain amount of weight or the attempt was a failure. Focus on living a healthy lifestyle, eating healthier and moving your body more and the weight loss will come naturally.

  1. Choose an attainable goal

Studies show that most dieters expect to lose as much as four times what they really can in a six-month period. Rather think smaller: Count on losing just 10 percent of your weight within six months, and focus on keeping it off for more than a year.

  1. Little changes add up

Little changes to your current eating style, like downsizing portions or preparing foods differently, can add up to big results. Try cutting out the late-afternoon trip to the vending machine at work, or treat yourself to a can of cooldrink once a weekend, instead of every day.

  1. Don’t deprive yourself

Think about the foods you can — and can’t — live without, and then try to work your diet around them. Love chocolate? Have a small piece every day. If you’re a born snacker, divide your daily calories into six or seven mini meals. Giving up your favourite foods will make you feel deprived, making your cravings stronger — and your willpower weaker.

  1. Keep planning

By planning your daily goals, they soon become habits – making you much more likely to stick to them. First thing in the morning, set your goal for the day, whether it’s to spend an hour at the gym or to cook a healthy meal. Before the beginning of every week, decide which days you’ll work out and what you’ll do. Shop for healthy foods once a week, always on the same day if possible.

  1. Find your triggers

Sadness and anger are two of the most common reasons why women overeat. Keeping a diary can provide valuable insights into what may be causing you to binge occasionally. Once you start evaluating your eating triggers, you’ll be able to develop more effective strategies to deal with the underlying emotions.

  1. Celebrate every achievement

Choosing a meaningful reward reinforces positive behaviour. When you reach a milestone in your weight-loss or exercise routine, treat yourself to something that celebrates the particular goal you achieved and helps further your progress. Improved your time on the treadmill? Invest in new running shoes. Or if you’ve dropped a dress size, buy an outfit that highlights your new figure.

  1. Forgive yourself

If you make an unhealthy diet choice, simply admit that you’re not perfect, rather than drowning in a sea of judgmental thoughts. Remember that weight-loss is a marathon, not a sprint. So when you slip up occasionally (which happens to everybody), acknowledge it and let it go, then focus on the positive and how far you’ve come, and keep slowly moving towards that healthier, more active you.

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