Weight loss is a perennially popular New Year’s Resolution, along with “exercise more” and “spend less money.” The sad fact is that most people don’t stick to those resolutions for more than a month and by the end of January, a third of those who have made resolutions will have a lapse. By July more than half will be forgotten. However, according to research reported in the New York Times, if you make a resolution, you’re already ahead of the game and are more likely to succeed in reaching your goals than those who don’t bother with resolutions.
Here are 4 strategies to help improve your success:
- Be clear and concise with your New Years Resolutions: Instead of resolving to “lose weight” be more specific. Perhaps you want to lose a pound a week. I suggest choosing five tiny healthy habits you can commit to for the next 14 days. Some suggestions: drink one extra glass of water daily; eat one extra cup of vegetables daily, exercise one extra day each week and write in a food journal every day. You’ll find additional healthy suggestions and recipes in The Brain Warrior’s Way Cookbook or check out my recipes on this site under the recipe tab.
- Voice your goals: Announcing your plans to your friends via email or Facebook can help keep you focused and increase accountability.
- Plan for success: Planning with intention increases your success by more than 50%. A few strategies I like are: planning meals a week in advance, purging your house of junk food before you start, and scheduling workouts with friends. Choose an “accountability buddy” to help you stay focused on the changes you’re making in your diet, exercise and health to positively benefit your New Years Resolutions.
- Bet on Success: Seriously, several studies have found that making a money bet can keep you focused and help you lose weight. One of the first, from the University of Pennsylvania, found that people given financial incentives to lose weight were more successful than those in a control group who followed the same program. About half of those in two groups vying for financial payoffs succeeded in losing 16 pounds in 16 weeks and on average people in these two groups lost more than 13 pounds compared to an average loss of only 3.9 pounds in the control group. I believe that to really, truly commit to a new way of eating and living, you’ve got to have some skin in the game. If you’re not a betting person you can commit to do something beneficial for another person, like donating money to your favorite charity if you don’t stick to your plan. The point is to make specific promises to yourself and identify what the consequences will be if you don’t keep your promises. Here are some of my suggestions:
- Work in a soup kitchen for a specified number of hours.
- Get up early in order to take the bus to work instead of driving for two to three weeks.
- Choose a service you pay someone else to do – for example, cleaning your house or washing your car – and do it yourself (but pay the service provider anyway.)
- Clean your entire basement or garage.
I invite you to ring in the New Year by becoming a Brain Warrior and joining our tribe on Facebook or Instagram. If you are already active with me on social media, I suggest inviting a friend to join our tribe, and make sure you’re signed up for my weekly newsletter. This will help you stay accountable and you are both benefiting from the staying on track for your New Years Resolutions. I look forward to helping you gain and maintain optimal health for your brain and body this New Year!