No surprise, “lose weight” topped the resolutions list yet again this year. We all want to get healthy—or healthier—and January is a great time to do it. The tough part is making sure you’re still gung-ho come February, March… and beyond. To keep your motivation up and your cheats down, here are a few stick-with-it tricks.
1. Tell your friends and family
Don’t keep your resolutions all hush-hush. Be loud and proud about them to your friends, family… anyone who’ll listen. You’ll need support and a cheer section to keep your willpower fired up, and who better than those nearest and dearest.
2. Schedule your workouts
Think of your workouts like you would a dentist’s appointment. You wouldn’t just not show for a scheduled appointment, so why would you skip an appointment with yourself? Mark it on your calendar in advance or input it in your phone calendar with a reminder alert. No excuses!
3. Find a workout buddy
You’re way less likely to skip a workout if you have to cancel on someone – plus studies show working out with a partner mean more pounds lost. You can push each other, high-five when it’s done —and sharing the ups, downs and in-betweens makes the journey way more fun.
4. Keep a food journal
Yes, a pen and notebook work! A recent study found that female dieters who consistently wrote down the foods they ate lost an average of 6 more pounds than the women who didn’t. The reason: Food journals keep you accountable and spell out exactly how much you’re putting in your pie hole (it may surprise you). If you don’t want to put pen to paper, My Fitness Pal, a free calorie-counting app, will do the work for you.
5. Set up a contest with coworkers
There’s definitely willpower in numbers – and what better place than your office for a weight-loss challenge. That way you and your coworkers can cheer each other on 9 to 5, you can omit the usual office fat traps like morning donuts and sodas, and you use your competitive fires to keep motivated. Who doesn’t want to win… especially if there’s a prize involved, not to mention bragging rights!
6. Take a before photo
The “Before” photo not only opens your eyes to what you really look like (“I didn’t know I had a fat roll there!”), it serves as a constant reminder to how far you’ve come and why you don’t want to go back to your old ways. Post it on the fridge for daily inspiration (or if you’re brave enough on Facebook), then take monthly progress pics in the same outfit. You’ll be blown away!
7. Keep an exercise calendar
An exercise calendar works kinda like a food calendar: You mark down the days you exercise (and for how long). So if you skip the gym for a few days or press snooze instead of going for your morning run, it’s all there right in front of you in black & white. To make it even more fun, give yourself a calorie-free reward when you get 10 checks. Here’s a calendar I love.