A NEW year offers you a fresh start to get it right and finally fit back into your skinny jeans.
Yet despite your best intention to go from crisps to kale, there's a good chance your weight loss resolution could do more harm than good.
Mistake 1: Not Quantifying
"Run more" or "lose weight" sounds awesome, but you're honestly kidding yourself because these typical goals are not necessarily measurable.
You can do better by saying 'I want to lose 7 kilograms by increasing my workouts to four times a week".
Quantifying goals not only helps to track progress, but helps you come up with a great plan on how to achieve it.
Mistake 2: Too much too soon
Many people try to quit sugar, eat more veggies and ramp up their workout sessions all at once.
The trouble is too many changes at the same time can be overwhelming, stressful and indecision can kill your progress overnight.
If you commit to just a few actions per week (e.g. swap biscuit for fruit) you'll be far more likely to stay the course than if you overcommit and try to do too much too soon.
Mistake 3: Outcome vs. process
Nearly every conversation about resolutions is focused on some type of outcome, not the journey. But here's the wake up call. New goals don't deliver new results. New lifestyles do. And a lifestyle is not an outcome, it is a process that's practised daily. For this reason, all of your energy should go into building healthier lifestyle habits, not chasing better results.
Mistake 4: All or nothing approach
If you slip up and have too many wines with dinner, do you think you may as well have might dessert?
Or if you oversleep and miss your Monday morning workout, do you figure you'll just forgo Wednesday's session and start fresh next week?
This all or nothing thinking may be the way to occasionally let yourself off the hook, however for some, quitting something just because it wasn't done perfectly is a self-defeating outlook that can send even the best of intentions into a tailspin.
Mistake 5: Going mainstream
Many people pin their weight-loss hopes to a popular fad, declaring themselves paleo, vegan, low carb or gluten-free without considering their own preferences and lifestyles.
If an eating plan requires consuming specialty foods that cost a small fortune or make you feel like you're missing out, it isn't likely to last. Best you adopt an eating regimen that you enjoy, is flexible, suits your lifestyle and can afford.
Kathleen Alleaume is a nutrition and exercise scientist and author of What's Eating You? @therightbalance