We all do it. Every year, whether planned far in advance or uttered mere moments before the clock strikes 12, we resolve to make this year be the year. This is the year that we will finally join the gym, quit smoking, or pay off that credit card debt. And each year, whether it’s by the next day or a month later, most of us have broken our resolution.
My New Year’s resolution has been the same for as long as I can remember: to lose weight. Overweight for the majority of my life, I have always had aspirations to get healthier but never the follow-through needed to make it happen. It wasn’t until Aug. 9, 2010 – a far cry from New Year’s on either side of the calendar – that I finally did something about it. I stepped on the scale that morning and saw my highest weight yet: 246 pounds. Suddenly it hit me: here I was, 22 years old, obese, depressed, and walking a dangerous path that was littered with disordered eating and potential health problems.
That morning I found myself thinking the same thoughts I had on so many New Year’s Eves past and I finally took action. I asked my brother to help me set up a public blog to track my progress and did the unthinkable: I told everyone I knew about it. Now, a year and a half after, my blog, Honey I Shrunk the Gretchen, was launched, I have lost 60 pounds, am down five sizes, have run a 15K race, and am healthier and happier than ever!
My weight loss journey is certainly not over yet. In fact, with the past month of holiday indulgences, I have found a few of those formerly lost pounds. Therefore, my 2012 New Year’s resolution is simply to renew my old one: to get down to a healthy weight. I even have a few tips to share on how I intend to keep my resolution this year:
1. Identify a specific goal.
Unfortunately, no matter how good your intentions are, it is not enough to say that your New Year’s resolution is “to lose weight.” Shapeless, generic goals neither inspire nor demand action. Quantifying your goals will help you stick to your guns. My specific resolution, as an example, is to reach a weight of 165 pounds.
2. Perform a reality check.
While choosing a specific resolution is important, so is ensuring it’s realistic. Resolving to lose 20 pounds by February is hardly a setup for success. In addition to identifying my goal weight, I have also chosen a reasonable deadline for reaching it: August 2012. At a healthy, manageable rate of losing one to two pounds per week, eight months is an appropriate timeframe to lose 30 pounds. It even allows me the flexibility to account for “bad” weeks and special occasions without derailing my resolution entirely!
3. Tell. Everybody.
Proclaiming your resolution to yourself is all well and good, but let’s be honest: It doesn’t mean much if you don’t tell anyone about it. Telling no one means you can disappoint no one. The only way that I have been able able to maintain my motivation thus far has been to tell everyone that I know about my weight loss efforts. The prospect of the humiliation I would feel if I were to give up has kept me going through many plateaus. And even if the shame angle doesn’t work for you, perhaps having someone to share the load with will help. I bet you’ll be amazed by the support you’ll receive simply from sharing your goals with your family, friends, and others who may be struggling with the same thing.
Armed with these tips and your strengthened resolve, you really can make this year the year. Remember, I’ll be doing it right there beside you, and if I can do it, anyone can.
Gretchen Powell is a fitness and healthy living blogger in Falls Church. She is not a registered dietitian, nutritionist, or medical doctor, and a medical professional should be consulted before undertaking dramatic diet changes. For more about Powell’s weight-loss journey, visit honeyishrunkthegretchen.com.