New Year’s resolution steps:

1. List the new goal – lose 20 lbs.
2. Sit and passively wait for it to happen.
3. Get discouraged and give up

Each year millions of us set resolutions for the New Year, with a goal of losing weight being by far the most common. And every year millions of us fail to achieve the goals we set. Why? Because of the one missing step in goal setting: creating the strategy for attaining that goal!

Before developing a strategy, however, the goal itself must be written so that the brain can assimilate it. That is, the key to writing an effective goal is to focus on the end result. To “see the sparkling kitchen,” as Burt Goldman says. People who consistently attain the goals they set “see” the end result; they “see” the sparkling clean kitchen rather than the sink full of dishes or the piles of pots and pans that must be cleaned and put away. To focus on the hard work, or obstacles, to attaining a goal will set the strongest of us on the road to failure.

The brain loves a stationary vision, not a moving target. To focus on our ideal weight, vs. the amount of weight we want to lose (a moving target), allows the brain to commit to the goal. The horrible set-point we’ve all heard about is set in the brain. That is, it is programmed by our belief system. The existing set-point can be reprogrammed by staying focused on the target weight.

So, the first step is to change your resolution from “lose 20 lbs” to a resolution to weigh, say, 130 lbs, or you can focus on a certain body fat percent or BMI (body mass index) amount.

The next step, then, is to create a strategy to weigh 130 lbs. This strategy will work best if it is customized for you!

One simplified strategy could look like this:

1. Calculate your ideal weight and the number of calories required to maintain your ideal weight – do NOT eat fewer calories than is required for your ideal weight.
2. Create one new habit each week that will move you forward to your “vision.”
3. Create an affirmation to read daily.
4. Discover your triggers to overeating and develop one or two strategies for stopping those triggers in their tracks.
5. Find a support system.

Author's Bio: 

Anna Manning, MBA, MS, is a Life & Business coach who specialized in partnering with overweight professionals who want to look and feel their best personally and in the business world. She is the author of Weight Loss: A Quick Reference Guide.