How to Beat 3 New Year's Weight Loss Resolutions Mistakes

Posted On Dec 18, 2013 By Erin Kuh, MBA, RD

Workout motivation

Did you keep your resolutions or reach your goals for 2013?  The majority of people start out enthusiastic and motivated, only to give up a few weeks after the start of the new year. Is that true of you? If so, stop making the same mistakes over and over. Start 2014 with a vow to take a fresh approach to your New Year's resolutions and goals! Here's how to avoid three of the most common resolution mistakes people make:

Mistake #1: Overlooking the Root Cause

What is the main reason you haven't been successful with weight loss in the past? Take a few minutes to think about this. Is it time? Stress? Lack of motivation or lack of support?  Whatever it is, write down what has held you back in the past.

Solution: Come up with a specific plan to overcome your main challenge. If it's lack of time, look at changing other commitments in order to fit in fitness or multi-task when possible. Exercise while you watch TV, walk during kids' activities, or wake up 20 minutes early to get in a quick workout. If stress holds you back, find a method to relieve and manage stress that works for you: reading, exercise, yoga, breathing, etc.

Mistake #2: Unrealistic Expectations

Being ambitious and excited to reach your goals is a positive thing. However, setting unrealistic goals, such as losing 15 lbs by February 1, will only set you up to feel defeated if you don't reach it and then you're back at your starting point.

Solution: Start out small and go easy on yourself.  For example, set a goal to lose 1-2 lbs per week or chose a goal independent of the number on the scale, including exercising 2-3 times/week, eating a healthy breakfast, or cutting back to one soda/week. The end results will be weight loss, but by shifting the focus away from the scale, you reduce unnecessary pressure and the discouragement that can come from not seeing fast results on the scale.

Mistake #3: Taking the "Hare" Approach

Who wins the race: the tortoise or the hare? We all know the answer, and the same rings true for weight loss and fitness. Starting out slow is the best way to go. Sure, your friends who go on extreme diets and work out 2 hours/day, five days per week might get quicker results, but are your achievements in the first 6 weeks of 2014 more important than the first 6 months? What about the next 6 years?

Solution: If you're tempted to go from sitting on the couch to working out five days a week, scale it back. Start out with two workouts per week for 3-4 weeks. Focus on high quality workouts and making a commitment to your new routine. Once you've been consistent with your workouts, increase the number of days, one day at a time.