Losing weight is always a popular New Year’s resolution. And it makes sense considering 70% of adults in the U.S. over age 20 are considered overweight. While it’s true not everyone keeps his or her resolution(s), a 2002 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology suggests as many as 46% of resolvers DO keep their resolutions.
Additionally, the study shows the success rate of resolutions is 10 times higher than the success rate of adults desiring to change behavior but not making a resolution to do it. In other words, just by setting a goal, you’re more likely to achieve success. So congratulations, resolver, you’ve completed the first step! Now, let’s talk about how you can make your resolution stick.
Check out these five easy tricks to sticking with your New Year’s Resolution this year:
1. Clean House.
Did you freeze a bag of cookies for a rainy day? Are you still working on that caramel popcorn that came in a silo-sized Christmas tin? The best way to jumpstart your new healthy eating lifestyle is to rid yourself of temptations—especially if you know you can’t enjoy treats in moderation.
Be ruthless in your purge: Chips and crackers, desserts and soda should be the first to go. Don’t forget about the ice cream in the freezer or wine on the wet bar. If you’re going to start the South Beach Diet, it’s VERY helpful to consult our Grocery Guide as you decide what stays and goes. If you’re not the only one in your house, tell your family what you’re doing, ask for their support and have them hide their favorite munchies.
2. Get a Buddy.
Whether it’s a family member, friend or fellow goal setter, it’s helpful to have someone to follow up with you on your resolution. In a recent NPR interview, Dr. John Norcross, clinical psychologist and author of several New Year’s resolution studies says as few as three phone calls from a friend can keep you on track. “For a couple of weeks people can persevere but when our willpower slips, we start counting on other people,” he told NPR in 2008.
Consider attending an exercise class at the gym and pairing up with someone. Not only will you “check in” on the other person when you see each other, but you can push yourself to work harder and stay motivated if you hold each other accountable both inside and outside the gym.
3. Set a Realistic Goal.
Instead of saying you want to lose 50 pounds this year, start with 10. Instead of vowing you’ll go to the gym seven-days-a-week, go four times. “Grandiose goals beget resignation and early failure,” Norcross says. Similarly, goals that aren’t specific won’t get specific results. Simply saying you “want to lose weight this year” probably won’t work as well (if at all) as identifying an exact number and setting benchmarks along the way.
4. Don’t Give Up.
Picture this: You’re three weeks into 2023 and you leave for a long weekend. While you’re away, you eat poorly, you don’t exercise and now your resolution is, well, shot. Instead of giving up, recommit yourself. Seventy-one percent of resolvers in one of Norcross’ studies said their first slip-up strengthened their efforts. A slip on your New Year’s resolution doesn’t have to become a fall. Take the opportunity to redefine your action plan and be more specific with your goal.
5. Get More Sleep.
This could be a New Year’s resolution in itself, but a lack of adequate sleep (seven-nine hours per night) affects mood, motivation, judgment and our perception of events, according to Harvard Health. You’ll be much more likely to get up early and exercise, eat healthy foods and follow a healthy living plan (like South Beach Diet) if you’re feeling your best. Caffeine, alcohol and sugar can attribute to sleeplessness. It’s also important to shut off your phone at night, as light triggers you to wake up. Try going to bed 15 minutes earlier than normal each night for one week. Add an additional 15 minutes the next week. Keep adding 15 minutes every week for a month, and you’ll be getting an hour of extra sleep.