Top Tips for Making Your Resolutions Stick

I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it… =)

In all seriousness, it’s always a joke that New Years Resolutions are really just to-do lists for the first three weeks of January, but making real change is possible, and it’s in your hands. Success breeds success, so as soon as I started seeing the numbers on the scale go down, which was my version of success since I was trying to lose weight, I got more motivated to stick with the changes and make them long-term lifestyle changes rather than temporary quick-fixes.

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Here are my top tips for making this happen for you, too:

1.) Plan Ahead

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I cannot stress this one enough. You don’t have to be crazy like me and make a whole weekly meal plan for everything, but have a few healthy options on hand for each meal of the day. If you have super busy weeks, take an hour or two on Sunday to whip up a big batch of stew or chili, some oatmeal, and brown rice or quinoa that you can use throughout the week for meals. Always make sure to have a few key items on hand for quick meals during the week so you can have something on the table in under 10 minutes if need be.

If you go out for lunch during the week, look up a few key places that you go and browse the nutritional information on the website so you have some healthy options in your back pocket when the situation arises. Same thing goes for dinner if you know you’re going out – – look at the menu before you go and make a plan!

Outside of meals, plan when you can add in some activity as well. I always take a look at my week and figure out when I can squeeze my workouts in. Lately, that’s largely been before work because I’ve had my weeknights swamped with plans, and I know if I don’t go before work I won’t have the time to go at all. This hasn’t always been the case for me, so check out this post to see how I transformed myself into a mostly morning exerciser.

2.) Control Your Environment(s)

Think about all the places that you eat. The theory behind this one is that if you don’t have it, you can’t eat it. And this is NOT limited to your kitchen. Think about your desk at work, your car, or anywhere else that temptation arises. If you know you eat at your desk, fill a snack drawer with whole fruit and other portion controlled snacks that you have on hand for when hunger strikes. If you are a car eater – do the same thing so that you’re not tempted with a drive through. If you live with a significant other or kids and they have “their food” that you don’t want to touch, put it in a separate cabinet so that it’s not the first thing you see when you open the pantry.

3.) Set small, attainable goals

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One thing that I love about Weight Watchers is how much of a good job the program does with breaking down big goals into smaller ones. When I first started to lose weight, if I thought about 88 pounds as one chunk, there is no way I would have been able to stick with it. Instead, focus on your first 5 pounds, 10 pounds, 5%, 10%, and celebrate each time you hit one of these goals. I know a lot of people roll their eyes at “just five pounds” but I challenge you to go pick up a 5-lb sack of potatoes next time you’re at the grocery store to realize just how much 5 lbs is. And, celebrate each time you meet a goal in a non-food related way. Maybe a manicure, a new book, a bubblebath, a massage, etc.

4.) Celebrate non-scale related goals or victories

There will be times when no matter what you do, the scale won’t do what you want it to. I heard one time that weight loss should be a side effect of treating your body right rather than the goal, and it is really true. Focus on what you CAN control, like working out X times a week, getting X servings of veggies in a day, or getting X hours of sleep per night. When you meet these non-scale related goals, reward yourself just like you would for success on the scale.

5.) Think of healthy living as a positive thing

It’s so easy to get caught up in trying to lose weight and focus on what you can’t have. No french fries, no M&Ms, no nachos, no drinking, etc. Change your mindset. Think about what you can ADD to your life rather than what you must take away. A serving of fruit, an extra glass of water, or a walk a day will go a long way in helping you on your healthiness journey!

So tell me.. do you agree with these tips? What would you say is your #1 tip for someone who is starting to change their life and really wants to make it happen?

18 Comments on Top Tips for Making Your Resolutions Stick

  1. Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning
    January 11, 2012 at 9:08 am (6 years ago)

    I absolutely agree with your tips- and try to live by all of them! I think that you hit the nail on the head when you said to set ATTAINABLE goals. If you set out to something that is nearly impossible, it will just lead to a whole bunch of discouragement.
    I also think it’s super important to stop blaming other people or other things for problems in your life (not YOU, Beth- people in general :))- you have control over much more than you think, and attitude is everything! People are so quick to make excuses or put the blame on other people or circumstances for their own unhappiness, when in reality- we control this for ourselves!
    Your last tip is awesome, and I couldn’t agree more. When you cut out toxic foods in your life, you really have to start thinking about how you’re fulfilled emotionally, and how much better your body feels when you treat it well.
    Great post, Beth! 🙂

    Reply
  2. Diandra
    January 11, 2012 at 9:25 am (6 years ago)

    Great tips. My #1 is way more simple: “Just do it.” I mean, in the end that is all there is to it. (Of course #2 would be, “Go out and educate yourself on how to do it.” ^^ )

    Reply
  3. Kim
    January 11, 2012 at 9:34 am (6 years ago)

    I complety agree! I just did a post yesterday about things that help me be successful. Being prepared is HUGE! 🙂

    Reply
  4. Lorri
    January 11, 2012 at 9:41 am (6 years ago)

    Great tips! I think that small goals are so important…big goals are so unattainable! I even go as small as making goals for how many fruits and veggies to eat in a day or a limit of how much soda to drink in a week.
    And by not spending money on junk food to keep around the house, I have more to spend on fresh produce and healthy snacks! I don’t snack on chips and cookies if they aren’t in the pantry.

    Thanks so much for the encouragement! Keep it up!

    Reply
  5. Sarah
    January 11, 2012 at 10:29 am (6 years ago)

    I think these are all good tips. When I’m trying to establish a healthy living resolution, I always remind myself that I am worth these changes that I’m making to my current lifestyle. I deserve to eat homemade nutritious food. I deserve to workout and make my body strong. By believing in your self worth, you can accomplish much more than when you beat yourself into resolutions.

    Reply
  6. Lauren
    January 11, 2012 at 10:38 am (6 years ago)

    These are great reminders! I think #5 is the most transformative. I’m going to write it down and stick it where I can see it at work and at home!

    Reply
  7. Katie for Life
    January 11, 2012 at 10:57 am (6 years ago)

    I love these tips, and I think that number 5 is huge. A lot of people think of their resolution as a diet and focus on all of the things that they can’t have, when really it should be a life change that is adding so many positive things to your life! Well said, Beth!

    Reply
  8. Amy B @ Second City Randomness
    January 11, 2012 at 10:59 am (6 years ago)

    I approve of the tips! 🙂

    People just need to remember- it’s one day at a time. Every little thing counts…

    Reply
  9. V
    January 11, 2012 at 11:09 am (6 years ago)

    Hi Beth! I just found your blog from @washwellbeing. I totally agree with #3, setting smaller, attainable goals. When I first started running a few months ago, I had to add on mileage 0.25 mi at a time. It took forever but it worked! I love all of your tips and look forward to reading more of your blog!

    Reply
  10. The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh
    January 11, 2012 at 11:19 am (6 years ago)

    WONDERFUL tips! Love it!

    I suppose my tip would be small changes equal big rewards. When you try to overhaul everything at once it can get overwhelming but mastering small aspects and adding the next in makes your goals much more attainable.

    Reply
  11. Lauren
    January 11, 2012 at 12:38 pm (6 years ago)

    Love them all! My #1 tip is that you have to be making a healthy lifestyle change because you want it – not that someone else wants it for you or because you think you should be doing it. That was my biggest road block as a kid – I was overweight, I knew it, and everyone wanted me to be more active and eat healthier. But, I didn’t want it for myself enough to make lasting changes. Until I realized this was a goal that I wanted and I was doing it for me, I was unmotivated to take the hard steps. Do it because its for you!

    Reply
  12. Sara
    January 11, 2012 at 12:51 pm (6 years ago)

    For me, #5 is the most important! For me, it’s not the physical part of losing weight that was hard. It’s the mental part. So much of losing weight is psychological. You have to mentally be ready and willing. And no matter how hard you try – if you’re not there mentally, you may not be successful – or you’ll give up. Keep fighting the good fight, Beth! You are an inspiration :o)

    Reply
  13. Lisa Fine
    January 11, 2012 at 1:22 pm (6 years ago)

    I’m definitely into thinking of healthy living as a positive.

    After being a healthy living blogger for a while, and going to a few conferences to meet other healthy bloggers, it’s a great fit. And the influences of reading and knowing these blogs is a help too.

    Reply
  14. Lili
    January 11, 2012 at 3:35 pm (6 years ago)

    I’ve never thought about grabbing a 5lb bag of potatoes to feel its weight! That’s reallt cool – what an inspiration!

    My tip for losing weight is always this: look at maintaining/losing weight /staying healthy in a **long term** way and NOT short term.
    So, making small (or big, depending on each situation!) changes on your diet, adding exercises and doing this constantly (not necessary 7 days/week, but at least *most* of the days) – on a long term run, the results will be visible and will be easier to maintain!

    great tips on your post!

    Reply
  15. Allison
    January 11, 2012 at 5:07 pm (6 years ago)

    Def will agree with those tips! I think planning ahead, setting small goals, and celebrating those victories make it all much easier 🙂 My biggest tip of advice for starting something new would be not to get frustrated with mistakes and slip-ups, they happen and they’re just that, a mistake, not a permanent thing!

    Reply
  16. Hilary
    January 11, 2012 at 5:22 pm (6 years ago)

    Wholeheartedly agree with these tips! My number one tip would be to start small, and don’t eliminate anything from your diet completely (at least not right away).

    Reply
  17. Roz
    January 11, 2012 at 5:44 pm (6 years ago)

    Your tips are fantastic Beth. Thank you for sharing them with us!!!!!

    Reply

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