Rebranding the “New Year, New You" Slogan: How to be Successful With Your Health Goals This New Year
Updated: Jun 1
At the start of every New Year, how often have you heard the slogan, “New Year, New You” in commercials for meal prep services, gym membership promotions, bloggers, influencers, etc? Health and wellness businesses use this marketing tactic to cash out on those of us who get extremely motivated in the New Year to buy a new gym membership, follow the latest FAD diet, find the next magical detox tea, or purchase a bunch of weight loss supplements. Then slowly, maybe a month later, we lose motivation, go back to old habits, and feel failed. In the fast paced world we live in, when it comes to weight loss, we want results and we want them fast. If you are a person who has participated in the “New Year, New You” movement year after year without success, maybe it's time to take a different approach.
1.) Assess Your Readiness for Change
Changing behaviors is not a single event where you do it and it’s done. It is a process that happens gradually over time with a person progressing from being uninterested, unaware, or unwilling to make a change (pre-contemplation), to considering a change (contemplation), to deciding and preparing to make a change (preparation). Then the person takes a definitive action, and tries to maintain the new behavior over time (maintenance). This process is called the stages of change. Most people will go through the stages of change several times before the change becomes fully established. Typically, you can identify appropriate interventions to match the stage of change you are currently in so that you are reinforcing positive behaviors and not getting bogged down by interventions that you know you have to do, but are not yet ready for. Interventions that don’t match your readiness level will cause you to be less likely to succeed.
2.) Create SMART Goals
SMART goals are used to help guide goal setting to clarify your ideas, focus your efforts, use your time and resources productively, and achieve what you want. Be specific about what your goals are. For example, if weight loss is your goal, phrases like “5-pound loss” or “4-inch loss around the waist” is clear while “lose weight” is vague. Make sure your goal is measurable. I personally do not like to use the number on a scale to measure weight loss goals. Instead, making a list of your goals and checking them off each day you complete them is a measure of how well you are sticking to the daily action plans that will help you reach your overall goals. Aim for an 80% success rate each week as a metric of measuring your goals. Keep your goals attainable. This is probably the biggest mistake I see when people are trying to lose weight. Start with keeping your goal at an initial 5% weight loss and work your way from there. A 10-pound weight loss is easier to wrap your mind around than a 50-pound weight loss. Keep your goals results focused and time bound. The focus is on the accomplishment of losing 10 pounds within a specific deadline of two months to hold yourself accountable.
3.) Understand Current Behaviors to Help Create Specific Interventions
Understanding current behaviors that are preventing you from reaching health goals allows you to develop a plan of action to address those behaviors. For example, keeping a food diary can allow you to see trends in daily food intake and can help you identify eating habits that you may not aware of. For example, maybe you noticed the Starbucks latte you drink every morning is adding an extra 250 calories to your day so you decide to cut down to no more than one latte per week and stick to regular coffee the other days of the week. Or maybe you identified the habit of snacking on chips when you are watching TV, so instead you keep your hands and mind busy by doing chair exercises or folding laundry while watching TV.
4.) Success is Not Just About the Number on the Scale
You may be doing everything in your power to stick to your health goals, but what if that scale just won't budge more than 1 pound per week? The frustration of slow progress can be discouraging. It is no surprise that mood, motivation, and enthusiasm are greatly influenced by the number we see on the scale. That is why I encourage my clients to focus on how their vitality improves as their lifestyle changes. For example, perhaps clothes fit differently, you feel more energetic, or endurance during workouts has increased. Simple daily tasks like playing with your kids or bending down to tie your shoe has become a lot easier. Maybe you’re able to enjoy activities that had once been a struggle. Or maybe you just feel healthier and stronger. Whatever health goal you are trying to reach, make sure the process is something that can work for you and your lifestyle. THAT is what ultimately leads to success.
Let this be the year we don't get overwhelmed by the hoopla of the "New Year, New You" slogan and find our own way to be successful at reaching our goals. Registered Dietitians are trained to help clients find their way through this process. If you are looking for more guidance, please visit the services page.
BITE INTO ACTION!
Add these behavior modification ideas to your nutrition toolkit to help you successfully manage your weight.