1. Make it a realistic goal.
Planning to lose 1 or 2 pounds a week might not be exciting, but it is more likely to be successful than planning to lose 30 lbs in 3 weeks; and then gaining it all back. You need to break things down into small steps that you can manage.

2. Make sure the goal is meaningful for you. Don’t say you will lose weight to please your husband or wife. You have to want to do it for yourself.

3. Focus on short term goals
Even though you might want to lose 50 pounds in a year, research shows that short term goals lead to better performance, greater confidence and more success than long term goals. Plan to lose 1 pound this week.

4. Create a plan to succeed and write it down
Research shows that goals that are written down have a 90% greater chance of success than those thought about or discussed, but not written down.

5. Wire yourself for success. Start off by eliminating fatty snacks and sweets from your cupboards and fridge. Start shopping with a diet list in your hand. If you are planning to go to a gym, choose one that is close by and has flexible hours.

6. Your thoughts create your reality
The average person has 60,000 thoughts per day, 87% of them are negative and most of them are the same thoughts you had yesterday Don’t let an old habit of negative and self-critical thoughts sabotage your efforts. Focus on becoming more aware of the thoughts you are thinking and ask yourself “Will this inspire me to stay on track or discourage me and lead me to failure?”

7. Create a back-up plan to deal with slips and setbacks
Mistakes can be opportunities for learning. If you have a slip, ask yourself what kept you from achieving your goal and then try to make corrections.
Everyone has slips, but if you see it as a temporary situation, you can learn from it and then get back on track easily, be kind and forgiving to yourself.

It is not the slips that create failure; it is the giving up. Persistence does pay off . It’s not about how many times you started smoking again, it’s about persisting until you finally stop it completely. That is how success is measured.

8. Replace the negative habit with a positive one. Slips usually happen when we
are feeling stressed. We haven’t yet discovered healthy coping tools so we tend to return to the old, comfortable, negative ones. If you have a plan how to handle a future stressful situation instead of hoping you will never have one again, you will be more successful. For example as a stress reliever, you could;
- call a friend instead of reaching for the cigarette, or
- take a nap, go for exercise, meditate, eat something healthy, chew gum. Often if you can distract yourself for 10-15 minutes, the cravings to return to your old habit, will abate.

One goal is enough. It will take energy, focus and determination to eliminate or reduce your habit
you can always add another. You don’t want to feel overwhelmed, as that could lead to a slip.

9. Find a buddy; someone who has the same or a similar goal. He or she can be your coach and you can be his or hers. It is often easier to stay motivated when you have a friend monitoring your progress and supporting you, than when you are on your own.

10. Don’t wait to be in the mood or motivated in order to get started. Get started first with a plan and the motivation will follow. Once you initiate even the smallest of actions, you create a momentum and will find yourself increasing your action a little every day. For example, start off with a 10 minute walk today, and increase it 5 minutes every day until you reach 30 minutes.

Recognize that partial success is success as well. Resolutions are accomplished by making small changes along the way. Acknowledge these small successes, go easy on you can always add another. You don’t want to feel overwhelmed, as that could lead to a slip.

Happy New Year!

Fondly,

Rhonda Rabow, M.A.

Author's Bio: 

Rhonda Rabow is a psychotherapist, author, facilitator, and speaker. Contact: helphelpmerhonda.ca, RhondaRabow.com, or call 514-697-6070