“Call it whatever you want, but don't call what you’re doing a ‘diet,’ ” says David Grotto, RD, author of The Best Things You Can Eat.
“Diets have a beginning and an end -- and that’s the problem.” You will only succeed, Grotto says, when you make a lifelong commitment to a healthier lifestyle.
2. Make your goal meaningful.
Shift your focus from “I want to fit into those jeans” to “I want to feel good and have more energy.”
Internal goals -- like you how feel instead of how you look -- tend to have greater staying power over time. Concentrating on the feel-good benefits you're getting also helps you to stick with something.
3. Break up with things that don't work.
Consider what you’ve done in the past to try to lose weight. What you could do differently this time?
For example, if your downfalls were snacking at work and waiting until the end of the day to exercise, start packing a healthy snack to take with you each day and go for a run first thing in the morning before the day's demands get in the way of your good intentions.
4. Make it easier on yourself.
Set yourself up for success with some small tweaks, starting at home.
Do things that will help, not hinder, your weight loss. If you want to make that early-morning jog happen, lay out your running gear before going to bed. Want to get in the habit of snacking on fruit, not chips? Put a bowl of fresh apples or pears on your kitchen table or counter. If it's convenient, it's more likely to happen.
“Our environments have a major influence on our ability to change our habits,” says John C. Norcross, PhD, psychology professor and author of Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions.
5. Form a fan club.
Tell supportive friends, family members, and co-workers about the changes you’re trying to make, Norcross says.
Let them know what you need and how they can help. Be specific. Don’t leave this up to them to figure out.
For instance, maybe you don’t want them to remind you of what you are or aren’t supposed to eat, but you would like them to give you ongoing encouragement or pep talks when you need them.