If you’re like millions of Americans, you woke up on January 1st and vowed to turn over a new leaf – run three miles a day, lose a pound a week, cut out sugar, save $200 a week, whatever. You actually imagined a better you and felt a sense of excitement to start your “new you” journey. But then, come late January or early February, 3 miles a day turned into 3 miles a week, you stopped being able to resist those M & M’s on your co-workers desk. In other words, you slipped back into your old habits.
Well guess what? I’m here to tell you the brutal honest truth. Summer is coming and it’s time to revive those resolutions. There was a reason you set those goals and if you dig deep and remember your “why”, you will be able to focus on the bigger goal in the face of your immediate desires. Willpower is a skill you can strengthen through visualization. Here are some tips that have helped me lose 16 pounds in the past 90 days:
1) Post photos on your fridge of yourself at your desired weight or a bathing suit you have your eye on. This will serve as a friendly reminder when temptation sets in.
2) Accept the busy stressed person you are and find a program that fits into your lifestyle. Weight Watchers works but all that point counting does NOT work for me. After I accepted that and started on a program that fits into my lifestyle, I was finally able to stick to the program for longer than 2 weeks.
3) Set small incremental goals and celebrate each milestone. 30 lbs. is a lot to bite off and can feel overwhelming. Start with a goal of 10 lbs. Reward yourself when you reach that goal and then set a new goal. The same is true of exercise. If you are not active but have vowed to get fit, start by building a 10-minute walk into your day and then try to build up each week.
4) Rethink your environment. When your surroundings stay the same, so do your ingrained habits. You can’t keep junk food in your house and expect your willpower to hold up every time. New habits take time to develop. Don’t expect drastic changes to take place in a week. You have to commit to being in it for the long haul.
5) Envision how you will achieve your goal. Visualization is one of the most powerful tools for achieving a goal and is even used by Olympic athletes. Picture yourself eating healthier foods, imagine yourself feeling healthier, how it will feel to be able to fit more comfortably into your jeans. Anticipate obstacles like feeling too tired to hit the gym and then imagine how you’ll overcome them.