MILWAUKEE, Wisc. – When 2008 turns to 2009, champagne corks will pop, bubbly will flow and resolutions will be made. As usual, many New Year’s resolutions will involve goals for improved diet, exercise, and weight loss. Unfortunately, by the end of January, a multitude of the resolutions will lose their fizz as determination becomes flat.
TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nation’s original weight-loss support group, shares the following tips to help make New Year’s resolutions stick:
1. Make it nonnegotiable. Committing to the effort – no matter what – is the first step. Vary when, where, and how if needed, but the effort itself must remain constant.
2. Set a plan. Know what to accomplish and when. Some examples: walk 30 minutes a day by noon, decrease sugar intake by the weekend, or go to the gym on Tuesday and Thursday.
3. Combat standard excuses and rationalizations. Proactively silence the good intention vs. discipline debate. Each of us knows the individual excuses that come too easily. Don’t lose forward momentum – in advance, be aware of, write down, and respond to excuses before they become an issue.
4. Use procrastination as an advantage. People who procrastinate as a habit are forced into action by some external deadline. To prompt weight loss, focus on an external deadline, such as a wedding or reunion.
5. Schedule exercise. Make an appointment on the calendar to exercise – and keep it. Aim for exercising 30 minutes a day.
6. Monitor your behavior. Monitoring can take the form of writing a food diary, counting the glasses of water sipped daily, calculating the number of calories burned while exercising, and so on. A written record is particularly helpful to check later, when a memory boost is needed.
7. Focus on the horizon. Measure the progress made, which scientists call the “horizon effect.” It’s encouraging to see progress – motivation grows when the goal is in sight. Repeat winning techniques for more success.
8. Take it one choice and one day at a time. Don’t worry about forever. Any change is more manageable and less overwhelming in smaller doses.
9. Find someone who’s accomplishing weight loss and imitate them. When it comes to eating right and exercising, observe and copy a successful person to see what they’re doing to get good results. If correct choices are duplicated, then results quite possibly can be duplicated, too.
10. React kindly to mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. When that happens, avoid falling into the traps of shame and guilt.