You don’t need a resolution, you need a habit

OK, hands up if you’ve not only made a resolution 10 days ago but have already broke it!

The truth is every year on strike midnight we set ourselves up to fail with a new resolution. the problem is that we overestimate what we can achieve in a short space of time but underestimate what we can do over the space of the year.

Take dieting for example. Let’s say you want to lose a stone of weight. You decided for January going to cut out all the snacks, all the sweets and all the alcohol. You sign up to slimming world. By the time you have read this, you have already had a bar of sneaky chocolate, tried a slimming recipe and given up as you don’t have the ingredients and there’s wine in the fridge from Christmas that still needs to be drunk…

You had a (laudable) goal. But it’s like trying to build a house without a foundation. At some point, you are guaranteed to crash.

A better way is to decide you want to lose a stone in weight. As a rule of thumb, cut 500 calories from your daily diet to ensure a pound of weight loss each week. So, you can lose a stone in 14 weeks, just by drinking water instead of coke and eating apples instead of chocolate, for example. Or, you can double your deficit to a 1,000 calories by eating filling soups and salads for lunch, cutting another 500 from that meal. So, how do you avoid chocolate? Remove it from the house and have your own, personal delicious snack jar with guilt-free goodies you can munch twice a day.

The point is, start small. The cumulative effect will still give you what you want, without even thinking about it. Joining a diet group was a good idea though – it helps to hold you accountable, monitors your success and encourages you to try new things.

As an added bonus your new diet habit will help you keep the weight off. Most crash diets are actually successful. But, because they happen over a short period of time, they are not embedded in your life. It varies from person to person, but researchers have shown it takes an average of 66 days to make a new habit a permanent feature of your life.

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