Don’t let gimmicky weight loss programs set you up for failure. Make sure your resolution meets these 5 criteria for a real shot at lasting change. Dietitian approved!
We’re a full week into 2018 and an estimated 25% of people have failed to maintain their New Year's resolution. By year's end, 9 in 10 will have long forgotten their ambitions. A moment of silence for all those cancelled gym memberships…
Losing weight is by far the most popular New Year's resolution. Those who continue to follow my blog will learn I am not a fan of focusing on the scale. But most people, especially women, are driven to shed pounds.
Of course we should all strive to be healthier, but making realistic resolutions for the right reasons is your best chance at success. AKA you need to make SMART goals. This template can also work for any type of goal, like quitting smoking or saving money! Here it is:
1) Be Specific
What are you going to do and how will you do it? ‘I will lose 10 lbs’ leaves a lot in the air. What behaviour are you changing?
What do I want to accomplish?
Why is this goal important to me?
Who is involved?
Where will it happen?
Which resources do I need?
For example, "I want to work out more" becomes “I will do cardio 3x/week at the office gym with (colleague’s name) to improve my mood and energy level.”
2) Make it Measurable
Tack a number onto your goal to make it clear if you’ve reached it. It may help to keep track of your activities in a journal or calendar so you can compare to your target.
(e.g. write down each time you have fast food).
3) Keep it Attainable
I believe this is the biggest make or break of a resolution. How confident are you on a scale from 1-10? If the answer is less than 7, you need a new goal. Those headlines can make us overly ambitious. It should be challenging but not so challenging that you give up right away. Set yourself up for success with small changes. Once achieved, you can always make a new goal.
Tip: Weight should not be your main focus, but keep in mind a healthy weight loss is 1-2lbs/week MAX. If you lose faster, you’re probably losing fluids and/or muscle mass, and research says you’re less likely to keep it off.
4) Make sure it's Rewarding
This has to be important to you. If you’re making changes purely to please someone else, it’s hard to keep up the motivation. Intrinsic motivation is far more effective. You do you girl!
5) Be Timely
Finally, set a deadline to reach your goal. Otherwise before you know it, it’s December and there’s a permanent groove in the couch where you binged Doritos and Netflix all year. Light a fire under your butt!
• List some potential barriers for your goal (e.g. too busy to go to gym)
• Write down some ideas for how you can manage these difficulties (e.g. work out at home)
• Write out a list of supports towards your goal. A friend to keep you accountable, a dietitian to show you the ropes, or a doctor to make sure your plan is going safely.
• Make a motivation board! Check Pinterest for inspiration.