Almost half of all American adults make New Year’s resolutions each year, but only one-third are still engaged in these commitments one month later. Among the top New Year's resolutions are weight loss, exercise and quitting tobacco.
One of the primary reasons people lose motivation for their weight management and tobacco cessation goals is because they attempt to change without a solid plan. These goals can be difficult at times so developing a specific plan to cope with the inevitable ups and downs of quitting tobacco and weight management are essential.
Here are a few tips to help you stay motivated with your resolutions.
Identify the situations that may put your goals at risk. That means think about the people, events or places that are most likely to put you at risk for not maintaining your goals. It could be lighting a cigarette after you eat a meal or while driving in your car. Or it could be the birthday party at work or your favorite restaurant where they serve unhealthy options. Develop strategies for each situation that may put your goals at risk.
Use a support system. Lasting change can be difficult at times, so it's good to have help along the way. Find a friend, support group, program or therapist who can provide more support, structure, consistency or help with new strategies. Examples are a workout friend, a tobacco quitline, or an online support program.
Set specific goals. Track your progress each day, no matter what you’re trying to achieve. Whether it's walking more, going to the gym, cutting back on 2-3 cigarettes per day, or eliminating candy bars as a snack. When you keep track of your goals, you'll be more likely to stay on track. Seeing small accomplishments over the weeks can be encouraging!
Reward your successes. Celebrate your progress. Set both short-term and long-term goals, once you meet those goals do something to recognize your effort. Whether it is time for yourself, going out to dinner, or spending time with friends. The important thing to remember is make it rewarding for you, whatever it is.
Get back on track. It takes a lot of time and energy to make changes in your life. It may take several tries to make it a lasting change, so don’t give up. If you slip off of your goals, just get back on track as soon as possible.
This information has been approved by Amy V. Lukowski, PsyD (May 2012).