2013 is coming to a fast close in a few short weeks and it’s time to start thinking about setting goals for 2014. The inevitable discussion of New Year’s Resolutions is on the horizon and you can be sure weight loss will be at the top of most lists. We all have made the commitment in years past to lose some pounds and some of us even hit the gym and watch our diets for a few weeks. But if you are like most people, the New Year Resolution is a hollow promise that doesn’t amount to much and forgotten soon after the commitment is made.
Here are a few interesting statistics about New Year’s Resolutions:
• 60% of new gym memberships after the beginning of the year go unused.
• Over 70% of Americans plan to lose weight annually yet only 8% actually follow through with their commitment.
• Losing weight is the most popular resolution followed by quitting alcohol, exercising more and quitting smoking.
A couple of items to think about to make the commitment to lose weight more meaningful and hopefully for the long-term:
1) Setting Realistic Goals. Don’t set a goal that you know is out of reach for your current lifestyle and unreasonable for you to achieve. Instead of telling yourself that you will lose 50 pounds next year, tell yourself that you will exercise 1-2 times a week or eat more healthy or cut out desserts a few times a week. How about taking a walk after every meal? How about replacing your daily intake of sodas with more water? Make the goal something that you can reasonably achieve and build on through the year.
2) Focus. Start by making one goal and stick to it. Having multiple goals straight away and trying too much too soon will make you lose focus and the chance of failure increases. If your goal is to take walks everyday, do everything in your power to make that one thing happen. Once you surpass the goal and see success, it’s so much easier to start building on the goal and you’ll be well on your way to making sustainable and longterm changes to your lifestyle.
3) Accountability. Make a joint goal with a friend or a family member. If someone other than yourself knows of your commitment and also relying on YOU to help them keep THEIR commitment, your mutual chances of success are much greater. You can even have a friendly competition amongst a small group of friends which will help with support during those tough days and build up the group accountability, ensuring everyone stays on track. And let’s face it, it’s also a lot more fun to lose weight with teams and with competition than going it alone!
You still have a few weeks to ponder your commitment and make a game plan for 2014. If you are committed to losing weight, the new year is a great time to start but the real work occurs during the course of the entire year—you can do it!