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December 31st, 2016

Did You Know: You CAN Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions

5 Tips to New Year’s Resolution SUCCESS

 

THIS year is YOUR year!

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, weight loss ranks among the most common goals set. In fact, according to a survey published by Inc. to diet/ eat better, exercise more and lose weight were the top 3 New Year’s resolutions respondents set. The downside: research also shows that only 19% of goal setters actually succeed in maintaining their goals in the long term*. It seems that regardless of how consistent our resolutions to lose weight are, year after year we still manage to botch those goals, landing us back at square one, or even worse, up a few lbs on the scale. The New Year is upon us, though, and with that fresh start is the opportunity to break the pattern. There are small changes that we can make when planning our resolutions to increase our chances of success. This year can be different! Whether your goals are weight related or not, keep your eye on the prize this time around with these tips to setting—and sticking with—your New Year’s resolutions.

1. Set goals the SMART way.

When it comes to planning your goals, keep in mind that they should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.  This goal setting tactic (which you can read more about here) works especially well for weight loss goals. Run through the list below with your New Year’s resolution to see if yours measures up. 

SPECIFICMEASURABLEATTAINABLEREALISTICTIMELY
Instead of saying “I will work out more,” say, “I will work out at least 3 times this week for at least 30 minutes each time.” If there is a clear way to tell if the goal is being met (or not) then it’s specific. People are more likely to stick with goals that are specific and focused, rather than goals that are lofty and general, because they are actionable; you either did it or you didn’t do it. The specificity holds you accountable because it minimizes wiggle room that can potentially deter you.
Make your goals quantitative. Rather than saying “I want to slim down,” craft a goal that includes a unit that can be measured like, “I want to lose 10 pounds.” Wanting to “slim down” is vague and subjective, which makes it harder to monitor and thus harder to stick with. When a goal includes a measurable unit, like X pounds, there are benchmarks that can be tracked and compared, so you can know for sure when you achieve it.
Setting goals that are too far out of reach can discourage you and leave you feeling defeated, so it’s important to craft a goal that you actually can achieve, but still challenges you. In terms of weight loss, setting a goal to lose 50 lbs in an absurdly short amount of time like a month, would not be plausible. Additionally, if you don’t even have 50 lbs, vowing to drop that much weight would not only be physically impossible, but downright unhealthy.
What can you realistically commit to do given the confines of your day to day life, because your life doesn’t stop just because you’ve decided to pursue a new goal. You still have to go to work, you still have to pay your bills, and you still only have 24 hours in your day. Therefore, it would be unrealistic to resolve to take a $35 spin class five times a week if your weekly budget for workout classes is closer to $5. If your job requires you to be there from 9am to 5pm and the only spin classes take place within those 8 hours, you’re facing a time barrier.
The best “specific” and “measurable” goals incorporate a time constraint (e.g., I will reach my goal in 2 months). While you want to avoid setting a time limit that’s so far in the future that you lose focus and/or forget about your goal, you also need to give yourself time to achieve your goal.

2. Go public.

Shout your goal loudly and proudly to increase your chances of succeeding. Personal accountability can be taken a step further when you incorporate others into your goals. Whether you’re telling one close friend, or your entire Facebook network, putting your goal into the universe for all to see makes you more accountable. When you share your goal with a friend, family member, or coworker, that person can become your confidant to make the journey smoother. That person can also help keep you accountable, and the added pressure of letting your friend or family member down can work for you to keep you on the right path!

3. Write it down.  

Set your intention and write it down. Studies show that people who regularly write their goals and dreams down achieve their desires significantly more often than those who don’t. By writing down your goals you’re forced to clarify exactly what it is that you want. The more specific that your goals are, the less wiggle room you give yourself—and therefore the less likely you are to slip upSigning a contract with yourself (like this one here) is a great way to focus and to achieve smaller goals that will eventually make you accomplish a larger goal. Whether you transcribe your goal(s) onto a list in your planner, a contractual agreement, printed on a 6 ft banner, or smeared in lipstick across your bathroom mirror, make sure that you do so in a place that you see regularly. Make copies and put them in different places too (on the fridge, at your desk at work, the back of your phone). By seeing your goals regularly you are constantly reminded of them. This allows for you to review progress and to recommit of a consistent basis.

4. Find a really good reason to keep as a reminder of why you are doing it.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way! When there is motivation behind a goal, it’s more likely that you’ll achieve it. Goals, especially those that that take effort, determination, and hard work, are rarely accomplished if you lack motivation or a reason for sticking to your guns–the juice has to be worth the squeeze. When making your New Year’s resolution, think of the wondrous possibilities that could materialize as a result your hard work. Dig deep to find that one motivating factor that will propel you into change and that will make your hard work and dedication worthwhile. If you are seeking weight loss, think of how you felt at your lowest weight and carry a picture of you during that time. Prove to yourself that you need or desire this so badly and that failure is not an option. Then, you will be more likely to not disappoint yourself. 

5. Incentivize yourself with NON-food rewards.

The best part about setting, working on, and achieving your goals is that rewards come into play every step along the way. First, when planning out your resolutions, envision the rewarding benefits that will come from achieving your goals, and write them down. Positive outcomes from losing weight can be fitting into those jeans you haven’t been able to get past your thighs in 15 years, having increased energy, or not having to feel self conscious in a bikini. As you set out on accomplishing said goals, re-read this list to yourself every time that you think you may give up. Focus on how you want to feel and look, and how satisfied you’ll be when you do. Even picturing it will motivate you more, and inspire you. As you progress, use rewards along your journey to keep you on track and incentivize you to keep going. You can reward yourself for example, every 7 pounds you lose, or every other week you are sticking to your goals. Rewards like this can serve as a benchmark for progress too. The only caveat for weight loss resolutions is that food should not be used as a reward. The idea of “If I lose 10 pounds I will reward myself with a slice of pizza,” is a no-go—it will trip you up and leaving you feel unhappy, rather than proud of yourself. Instead use rewards like buying that pair of jeans you were eying, or treating yourself to a manicure pedicure, or sleeping in on the weekend. Write out your rewards ahead of time for an extra boost of motivation. At the final stage, when you reach your goal, the big-time reward is thereand after all your hard work, it will be that more rewarding.

Increase your chances of weight loss success even more this New Year with F-Factor. Click here to purchase The F-Factor Diet Book, which gives you all the information you need to follow F-Factor on your own, or click here to make an appointment to work with an F-Factor RD at our private practice! 


*Economy, Peter. “10 Top New Year’s Resolutions for Success and Happiness in 2019.” Inc. , 1 Jan. 2019, www.inc.com/peter-economy/10-top-new-years-resolutions-for-success-happiness-in-2019.html.

*Norcross, John C., and Dominic J. Vangarelli. “The Resolution Solution: Longitudinal Examination of New Year’s Change Attempts.” Journal of Substance Abuse, vol. 1, no. 2, 1988, pp. 127–134., doi:10.1016/s0899-3289(88)80016-6.