With every turn of the calendar, most people have high hopes for a better life in the coming month, and for many, losing weight is high on their to-do list. While it’s no surprise that gym memberships peak in January to coincide with lofty New Year’s weight-loss goals, you might be surprised to learn that by mid-February, gym attendance is back to status quo . For whatever reason, keeping resolutions can be a struggle. So what can we do to stay flat out and keep our resolutions on track?

Whether your weight loss resolution begins at the start of the new year, the start of the new month, or even today, here are three practical solutions to help set you up for success.

Be smart!

Setting a weight loss goal is great, but it’s really too vague. How do you know if you are making progress? Unless the numbers on your scale go down with every weigh-in, you have no idea if you’re headed in the right direction.

When you decide to lose weight, set mini goals that are INTELLIGENT: sspecific, metereasy, hasreadable, rrealistic and yourtimely Think of losing weight as the big goal and mini-goals as stepping stones. Examples of step or mini weight loss goals might include: eat five servings of vegetables a day, exercise for 20 minutes three times a week, and drink 8 glasses of water a day. The key is to make sure that each mini goal meets the SMART criteria. Meeting mini-goals will give you a sense of accomplishment, making the climb to the top that much easier.

What other resolutions have you made and how can you make them more SMART?

Be realistic!

You know yourself better than anyone. Don’t set a goal of exercising every day at 5 am if you’re the type of person who hits the snooze button four times in the morning. Setting unrealistic goals will put you at risk of being one of the many who skip their resolutions at the end of the month.

Be nice!

You may fall off the wagon, but so what? A bad decision, or even a bad day, doesn’t mean you have to give up. Dust yourself off and get back in the car. Consider adjusting your goals to something that works best for you. For example, maybe at the beginning of the year you decide to exercise five days a week and then determine that three days is more realistic. Set your goal to three days a week and keep it moving. You can always increase your workouts later in the year. Remember, there is no rule against making adjustments.

Being kind to yourself and being realistic and SMART about your weight loss goals will help you get your new year off to a great start. Who knows, you might even find that you really like eating vegetables!

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