How many times do you make a resolution at this time of year, start off doing well sticking to it and then slowly, over time, find yourself right back where you started? Do you then get even more down on yourself for once again failing at something else? Here are a few helpful hints to hopefully avoid this vicious cycle.

1)  Set Realistic And Attainable Goals. Did you resolve to lose 20 pounds in the next 2 months? Promise yourself you will go to the gym 6-7 days per week? A better idea is to break down your goals in a realistic manner so that you not only reach it but you also reap the benefit of the positive feelings that occur from reaching the smaller, attainable goals (i.e lose 1-2 pounds per week for the next 6 months or work out 3-4 times per week to start.)

2) Prepare For Setbacks. You are your own worst enemy and it’s time to put down the bat and stop beating yourself up. If you had a few nights out of birthday or holiday celebrations and don’t lose that pound or 2 during that week, or, even worse, gain a few pounds, give yourself a break. Nobody’s perfect and losing weight is not easy for everyone. If you are prepared for some minor setbacks it will make you better prepared to get yourself back on track.

3) Ask For Help. Realize you do not have to do this alone. Research shows those with support from others are more likely to succeed at accomplishing a goal than those who feel alone. Support groups are available for many of the behaviors most people seek to change (i.e. quitting smoking, weight loss.) If you are not interested in that level of support, plan to work out with a friend or talk to loved ones about any difficulties you might be experiencing.

4) Only Pick One Behavior At A Time. Do not feel you have to stop all unhealthy behaviors at once. That is a surefire way of setting yourself up for failure.