More Than Resolutions: Lose Weight

31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010: Lose Weight

Join us all month for 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010!

Losing weight is probably the most common resolution to make and fail to achieve. Year after year we vow that this time we’re really going to shed those pounds, and year after year we stick with a diet for a couple of weeks before going back to our old habits.

If you’re determined to make 2010 the year that it actually happens, start by reading Lisa’s story. Today at Crazy Adventures in Parenting, she’s sharing how she accomplished her weight loss goal in 2009, and it’s inspiring!

If you’re not sure you can stick with a diet and exercise plan this year either, I’d go so far as to recommend that you take losing weight off your resolution list altogether. You’re either committed to making a go at it or you’re not, but having it on your list with no real plan to make it happen just makes your goal-setting less effective overall. Save it until you’re ready to really make the effort!

For those of you who are ready to get started, here are 6 tips to help you meet your weight loss goal in 2010:

1. Set a goal. And tell someone.

As with all resolutions, the key to finally shedding those pounds is to have a concrete, measurable goal to work toward. What is your ideal weight? How much do you have to lose? Set a goal that will stretch you and make you work harder, but don’t  make one that’s unattainable. If you do, you’ll most likely end up discouraged and give up, which doesn’t do you any good.

2. Make a reasonable diet and exercise plan.

The reason most diet and exercise plans fail is they’re too extreme to maintain long term. You need something that you can keep up with not only while you’re losing the weight but after you’ve hit your goal as well, and eating three carrot sticks eight times a day (or whatever fad diet happens to be hot this week) is probably not going to do it.

Think through your food preferences, the exercises you gravitate toward and your schedule and write down a diet and exercise plan that you think you can actually maintain. As your circumstances change, don’t be afraid to modify your written plan. Even if it slows down your weight loss, you’re more likely to stick with it if you have a plan that fits your lifestyle and preferences.

Jason from Frugal Dad reviewed some common commercial plans (such as NutriSystem, Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig) last week, and while there’s obviously extra money involved, it may be that a program like Weight Watchers is the extra motivation you need to stick to a diet.

3. Join a group.

Whether you choose a formal group like a Weight Watchers support group or join forces online with others who share your weight loss goals, there’s always something to be said about the accountability and camraderie that comes from setting goals and working toward them with other people. Not only will it make your weight loss journey more fun, but there will also be someone there to encourage you along the way.

Some friends of ours are having a “Biggest Loser” competition between themselves. The person who loses the highest percentage of weight wins. Competition is another great motivating factor!

4. Set yourself up for success.

Look for the obstacles to your diet and exercise plans and do your best to minimize or eliminate them. If you can’t resist sugary snacks, stop buying them — even for your kids — and offer healthy alternatives instead. If you have the best intentions to exercise each morning but you get sucked into the internet vortex instead, make a commitment not to sit down at the computer until you’ve completed your exercise routine. If you are a grazer and end up stuffing your face every afternoon between 2 and 4 p.m. (hmm, that sounds familiar…), set your schedule so that you’re too busy to snack during that time or stock your pantry with healthy snacks so that you have low-fat, low-sugar alternatives.

5. Reward yourself.

I love this idea that Suzy of SuzyQ Scraps left in the comments of my exercise more post:

I’m setting weekly goals, with a different prize at the end of each week — something I really, really want, that I can’t have UNLESS I meet my goal for the week.

What a great way to motivate yourself to keep working toward your goal. Of course getting healthy and looking fabulous should be reward enough, but sometimes we all need a little tangible motivation as well!

6. Keep moving forward.

As always (and I’m certain I’m going to run out of ways to say this by the end of the 31 days), you have to keep moving toward your goal even if you have a setback along the way. Without setting yourself up for failure, I think it’s important to acknowledge that you probably will have some failures along the way.

Make a commitment to get back on track after one of these, but even more importantly, figure out what happened and how you can prevent it next time. Maybe your diet is too rigid and you need to leave room for an occasional dessert. Maybe you need a list of healthy — but still yummy — snacks and desserts that you can choose from when a craving hits. Maybe you need a different workout plan for bad weather. Identify the obstacles to your goal and make a plan to overcome them!

Is losing weight one of your goals for 2010? What steps have you taken to achieve it?

The 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010 series is sponsored by Get Organized Wizard. Find more than 250 lists, schedules, planners and organizers in The Ultimate To-Do List Pack, Home & Family Edition.

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