‘Tis the season for making New Year’s Resolutions….and “weight loss” resolutions are the most popular ones year in and year out. If you’re one of the 3 in 10 Americans making resolutions in the new year, please don’t tell me that you’re going to do anything drastic. Let’s skip the strict diet and unrealistic exercise regimen, which means we can also skip the let down and frustration that follows. It’s not that you failed – the faulty resolutions failed YOU.
How you set your goals can set you up for success or for failure. If your resolution has any of these traits, it (not you) is doomed to fail from the very beginning:
1. Your goals are too strict.
A goal to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning every day to exercise is too difficult for most people to stick with. Setting smaller, more realistic goals will empower you and help you stay on track. As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I’ve seen firsthand how strict diet goals and deprivation can backfire. For every diet restriction there is an equal and opposite binge. The same is true for exercise goals. When I started running in my mid-40’s, I didn’t go from zero to 60 and try to run every single day. I knew that would be setting myself up for failure – or injury. Pacing myself and setting small goals allowed me to make gradual progress and work up to bigger goals such as longer races and eventually, a triathlon (something I never dreamed I would do).
2. Your goals are too loose-y goosey.
Simply having a vague goal of “losing weight” without identifying the detailed steps you will take doesn’t set you up for success. Be as specific as possible in your goal setting and planning. For example, decide which days of the week you will exercise, what types of exercise you will do, and schedule it on your calendar. Even more importantly, not having a crystal clear reason for losing weight could significantly undermine your efforts. Beyond losing weight for ‘better health’ or fitting into that dress, there is a deeper reason that must be uncovered in order for you to access the true motivation and drive to keep going. To explore this idea further, check out my podcast interview about transformational weight loss with Dr. James O. Hill, PhD, an obesity expert and researcher.
3. Your goals don’t include the (right kind of) support system.
Trying to go it alone might seem like the best approach, but that’s not necessarily true. Depending on your personality, some people need external accountability while others are more hard-wired to respond to internal expectations. Enlisting the right kind of support can make or break your resolution.
If you’re in it to win it (or should I say “lose it”), then I encourage you to keep three important tips in mind. For my top three tips read my full article at FoodInsight.org.
For more information about me, check out my Guilt-Free RD philosophy!
Check out other posts on my “Food for Thought” blog.
Listen to my podcast conversations with food and nutrition experts.
Note of Disclosure: I’m pleased to be a consultant to The International Food Information Council, providing blogs and other social media content that shares their resources for health professionals and the public. I believe whole-heartedly in their mission of effectively communicating science-based information on health, nutrition and food safety for the public good.
Thank you for visiting my site! I hope you have a Guilt-Free day!