Would it surprise you to learn that around 73% of Australians – that’s almost 19 million people – made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight in 2021? Other common resolutions included eating better, drinking less alcohol and exercising more. But just how many of them succeeded? (Yes, 2020 was a bit of a different year, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s not a reason, it’s an excuse).

Statistics show that only 8% of people ever achieve their New Year resolution goals. So for those Aussies last year who wanted to lose weight, that equates to only 1.5 million of the 19 million succeeding. In fact, most people give up on their resolutions by February!

Clearly then, New Year’s resolutions don’t work. And here’s why.

Your Goal is Not Clear

To achieve anything in life, including weight loss, you need to have a clear goal. Simply setting a goal of wanting to lose weight isn’t enough. How much weight do you want to lose? By when? What will that equate to in dress size? All these things are important to pin down if you want any chance at success. This is what is called a SMART goal – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. Unless you make your intentions very clear and set a SMART goal, you’ll continue to set the same resolution year after year. Once your goal oriented is set, you need to then focus on the processes needed to work towards it.

Your Reason to Change is Not Strong

Do you have a strong reason for changing your lifestyle? If you don’t, you’ll give up when things get hard, or when you lose a little bit of weight and begin feeling comfortable again. I strongly encourage my clients to develop their WHY — the driving reason why they are working towards their goals. This WHY will keep you going in tough times. For example, it will help you get out of bed and get to training even when you don’t want to. It will motivate you to choose prepping your food over lazing on the lounge. It will push you to keep working on your habits, even when it gets hard. Your WHY is a powerful ally in your weight-loss journey.

You have a Diet Mindset

If you approach your weight loss from a ‘I’m going on a diet’ point of view, then you won’t succeed in the long-term. Even if you manage to lose weight in the beginning, the diet mindset will continue to sabotage you, and any weight you lose, you’ll end up gaining back with interest! Losing weight needs to be a lifestyle change, not something you do for a short period of time. When you go on a diet, you’re likely to engage in perfectionist thinking — believing you have to eat ‘healthy’ all of the time, and if you don’t, you’ll fail. You’re often either ‘on a diet’ or ‘off a diet’. This cycle plays havoc with your metabolism, creates a huge amount of stress, and sets you up for failure. Instead, see your weight loss journey as an actual journey (duh!) and as a process of changing your lifestyle to support long-term weight loss. Focus on making the changes to your habits, mindset and lifestyle, and you’ll find that your weight loss will happen without so much hard work.

There is no Accountability or Structure

Even if you have a clear goal and a strong reason to change, your habits will always get the better of you. That’s why it’s important to work on mastering them and developing habits that will support your weight loss so you can lose the weight and keep it off for good. The only way that this will happen is if you include accountability and structure into your program. Most people shy away from being accountable and taking responsibility for their actions, but when you make yourself accountable, your weight loss will happen a lot faster. Research shows that when you tell someone else about your goal, you have a 65% chance at succeeding. When you make yourself accountable, you increase your chances to a massive 95%!

The other side of the coin is structure. Structure is the plan that will get you where you want to go. While this includes the relevant training and guidance on nutrition, the major aspect is how this helps you change your habits. Having a structured plan that is developed by a coach will mean you’ll be working on the right things to change your habits and change your body. It will mean you won’t be confused about the right actions, you won’t overthink everything and you’ll reduce your stress levels (and stress is a big reason why people struggle to lose weight).

Enlisting the help of a coach who can provide you with structure and accountability you need to succeed, will be the single best thing you can do to help you reach your weight loss goals this year.

You Do Not Have the Right Support Structure

As well as enlisting the help of a great coach, you also need to surround yourself with the right people — your support network. This is a group of people you can always rely on to help you achieve your weight loss goals. They will empower you. They will inspire you. They will motivate you. They will pick you up when the going gets tough, give you tough love when you need it, and celebrate when you experience success. Your support network can be your training partner, a Facebook group, people in your exercise class, your friends, your family, your partner.

Need Help?

At Eternally Fit, I help people set SMART goals, help them discover their WHY, provide the right amount of structure and accountability, and provide the right support network, to enable them to overcome habits that have led to weight gain.

If you’re sick of making the same resolution year after year, and are ready to lose weight once and for all, make this year the year you actually succeed!