New Year’s Resolutions
Consider this: you can be 10 times more likely to achieve your goals if you make New Year’s resolutions than if you do not. That statistic may motivate you to take a little care in setting your goals for this year. So, here are a few tips for setting resolutions that you can keep.
Make Them Realistic
We all want to hit goal weight and stay there, but is that realistic for you? Probably not, if you are more than 70 to 100 lbs. overweight and have not yet had weight loss surgery. A more realistic resolution might be to schedule your surgery and then lose an average of 5 to 10 lbs. per month after surgery.
These are some additional examples of unrealistic and realistic resolutions.
- Get to the gym every day. Work out at the gym or walk 5 days per week.
- Follow your diet perfectly. Get back on track within a day of losing control.
- Avoid all restaurants. Check the nutrition facts beforehand and make healthy choices when you order.
- Plan all meals and snacks ahead of time. Keep protein bars and other healthy protein snacks on hand for when you need them unexpectedly.
- Make Them Specific
Yes, you want to lose weight for example. But how much do you want to lose? Your resolution might include the number of pounds you want to lose or the BMI you want to hit. It might be to lose back the pounds you regained after weight loss surgery a few years ago. Here are some other examples of specific resolutions to consider.
- Drink at least 64 ounces of water per day.
- Attend two support group meetings each month.
- Eat at least two servings of fish per week.
- Eat at least 65 grams of protein per day.
When you make your goals specific, you know whether or not you are making progress towards them and when you hit them. That is motivating, and it keeps you honest with yourself.
Consider the Process
A goal is an endpoint. Your resolution might be to achieve those goals, but it should also include the process, or “how” you are planning to get there. If your resolution is to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, your process might include storing canned and frozen vegetables so they are always available, keeping washed and cut fruits and vegetables in the fridge for snacks, and adding a half-cup of vegetables to your omelets.
Here are some more examples of ways you can focus on the process.
- To hit your pre-op weight loss requirements, swap water for soda and side salads for fries.
- To get to the gym more often, lay out your clothes and shoes the night before, and figure out which workout you will do once you are at the gym.
- To move closer to your weight loss surgery, find out how to get approval for insurance reimbursement (or how you will finance your surgery) and which surgeons are your top choices.
- To get your blood sugar levels down, healthify your carb choices by identifying which are sugary and refined, and swapping them with high-fiber, unrefined whole grains, beans, and fruits.
Your resolutions are important to you, so make them a priority and hold yourself accountable. One way is to use the buddy system. You can either find a buddy with resolutions similar to yours, or just use a buddy who is willing to hold you accountable. Check in regularly with each other on your progress, encourage each other, and ask the tough questions if either of you are falling off track.
Another way to hold yourself accountable is to use a log. Use an old-fashioned pencil and paper log, or opt for an online or smartphone app. Depending on your resolution, you can record thoughts, feelings, and progress, as well as food intake, weight, and exercise. Seeing your efforts in black and white can keep you honest and motivate you to keep going.
Be Patient with Yourself
Recognize that you won’t do it all at once, and that you will make mistakes. Set smaller incremental goals so that you can see progress in January, but keep the big picture in mind and realize that your resolutions are long-term. The big payoffs will come later in the year if you stick with your resolutions.
Also, have a plan to forgive yourself, because things will go wrong. Dust yourself off and get back up, because you can achieve your goals!