I’ve Already Broken My New Year’s Resolution to Lose Weight…Now What?
Since you are reading this post, I’m guessing that you had set a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and that you have already gotten off track. If so…and you would like to get back on track to your goal…then you are in the right place!
There is a lot we’d like to change about ourselves, and we often use the ringing into the new year to resolve to make a big change. About 40% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, and weight loss is one of the most common resolutions. We generally aim big in our resolutions, attempting to tackle our largest problems. However, since these resolutions require sudden big changes in our lives, it is also very common to break them.
Eighty percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions have stopped following their plan by mid-February. So what now?
Before we move on, let’s first just acknowledge that you are off track from your resolution and show a little compassion towards yourself. Take a few minutes to notice how you are feeling about getting off track. Are you feeling bad about yourself, or feeling a sense of loss? Maybe you are feeling shame or disappointment? These are uncomfortable emotions, and you may be suffering. Let’s lessen your suffering before moving on by taking a few minutes to feel some compassion and kindness for yourself at this moment and feel a connection to others who are reading this article and feeling similar negative emotions.
Did you take a moment to feel some compassion towards yourself? Very good!
So, why have you and so many others got off track of your New Year’s resolution? Most likely it was insufficient preparation. Making a significant change usually requires three parts; commitment, preparation, and implementation. You most likely did two of the three parts; you made the commitment (that is your resolution), and you implemented on January 1st. However, you most likely underestimated the second step….preparation.
Let’s talk about the preparation step. If your resolution was to lose weight by following a certain meal plan, then how did you prepare for this? You probably went to the grocery store to get the right foods, and maybe prepped your meals in advance. Those are certainly necessary steps. However, you most likely did not prepare your mindset, and your mindset is probably the most important part of preparation.
For example, willpower is a part of the mindset that you need to prepare prior to starting a meal plan. Most people think of willpower as something like a switch that you can “turn on” like a switch once you set your mind to it. Or people believe that willpower is something that you either have or don’t have. You don’t really need to prepare to turn on a switch, and you don’t really need to prepare if you just have willpower. You might think “I’m going to have enough willpower to resist those cookies in the break room because I am committed to losing weight.” And you may have enough strength of willpower to resist those cookies on a good day when you are rested, and your mind is focused. However, on a day when you are stressed, and it is late in the afternoon, and you are feeling tired, you may not have enough strength of willpower to avoid the cookies.
It is not that your willpower switch is broken, or that you don’t have willpower… it is that you haven’t strengthened your willpower enough to resist the cookies when you are feeling tired or stressed. You see…willpower is not a switch that you turn on or something that you either have or don’t have. Willpower is more like a muscle that we can strengthen.
If we look at willpower as a muscle, I gotta say, that January 1st is the most likely time of the year to have an “out of shape” willpower muscle. Most people do not practice strengthening willpower between Thanksgiving to the New Year (or possibly between Halloween to the New Year). It seems that our collective mindset as a culture is overeating during the holidays. We don’t just eat treats on the actual holiday; there are weeks and months of overeating that go into preparation for these celebrations. The fact that our New Year’s resolution takes effect on January 1st is challenging! This is probably the day of the year that we have the lowest willpower strength as a culture.
So now that you understand that willpower is more like a muscle than a switch, you probably realize that everyone can strengthen their willpower…even you! Strengthening your willpower is just one step to prepare your mindset for your weight loss. There are also several other methods to prepare your mindset.
- You can learn to recognize unhelpful thoughts that can sabotage your success.
- Once you can recognize your unhelpful thoughts, you can learn to change them into helpful thoughts that will lead you to your goals.
- You can learn to be compassionate with yourself when you get off track and be able to get right back on track immediately (like we did at the beginning of this blog)
- You can prepare your mindset by visualizing the advantages of reaching your weight goal.
- You can practice this visualization every day until you are looking at your beautiful body in the mirror and realize that your visualization is now a reality.
So, why not learn how to prepare your mindset right now? You can learn how to get right back on track to your New Year’s Resolution to lose weight in my new ebook “The Obesity Solution, A Compassionate Step-by-Step Guide to Losing the Weight and Keeping it Off.”I hope you will take this step today.