Harriet Frew shares her 6 tips for setting goals and staying on track for 2015

So it’s January!  The beginning of a new, shiny year, providing a clean slate with endless enticing possibilities and extraordinary opportunities ahead. Or so you are hoping!  January is the time when we famously make all those extravagant New Year’s resolutions, set with such grand and proper intention. Goals have often been initially embarked upon with passionate willpower after the excesses and over-indulging of Christmas. But already two weeks in, enthusiasm is waning and the flowing Niagara Falls of motivation that propelled you into action on January 1st has now reduced to a feeble mini trickle as the feeling of defeat sets in.

And is there really a worse month than January to embark on this whole shebang of self-improvement! January is without doubt one of the most challenging months to launch new lifestyle changes and to then stay on track. It’s freezing cold; it’s a very, very long time till pay day; it’s dark by 4pm, this alone bringing on a strong desire to hibernate. It’s no surprise that munching on healthy food coupled with exercise regimes is not particularly appealing right now.  You may well be craving real comfort food; log fires and a thick duvet just thinking about it.

Once your break the New Year’s resolutions so early on, I bet you’re not going to be feeling great on the whole self-esteem front.  You could well be at risk of quite wrongly branding yourself as a failure and being ‘lazy’ because your goals were not very realistic to start with. Unachievable eating patterns; regimes that are too extreme and expecting things beyond your own personal limits – it is no wonder that so many New Year’s resolutions fail. This can then sets you off on the wrong footing for your fabulous year. Motivation to re-start; re-engage and embrace goals again may understandably be lacking.

Here are my 6 tips to embrace your New Year resolutions around food so that they are here to stay………..

Remember that change is a process. It is very rare that people have overnight, radical and transformational conversions when addressing their eating behaviour, weight and relationship with their body. It is completely and absolutely normal that your motivation and enthusiasm might fluctuate and sometimes wildly even during the course of one day. When this happens, just accept it as part of the process of change. Take a breath and re-focus; this feeling will pass.

2 It is tempting to set grand goals pushing you way beyond your comfort zone. Now, you might still want to aim big long-term, but it is preferable to set mini goals or baby steps along the way. Achieve these and then sustain the changes, rather than going hell for leather to climb Everest and then crashing back to base-camp when it’s just gets too much.

3 Notice every little victory and be proud. When you achieve your little goals, give yourself a wonderful pat on the back and celebrate your accomplishments. And I appreciate that this does not feel a very British thing to do. We do not like praising ourselves and fear demonstrating any form of flamboyance or arrogance.  But trust me, try writing down the things you do well in a journal just for 1 week and you will start to feel better.

4 Leading on from this, as you progress with your goals, give yourself huge amounts of encouragement and support along the way. I am sure you would do this for a friend. It will help enormously and you will feel inspired to take your progress to the next level.

5 Relapse (it is inevitable) is a wonderful opportunity to learn about your triggers, weak points and think about how you might do things differently next time. Rather than beat yourself up for ‘falling off the wagon’ or failing, look at the event with a healthy dose of curiosity and compassion. See it as a valuable learning opportunity.  You can even then start to welcome relapses. A chance to fine-tune your coping strategies further.

6 You need to get excited and enthusiastic about your endpoint. What are the changes really all about? I would imagine it is about leading your fullest life with relationships, career, health, fun and fulfillment all as priorities.  Keeping the bigger picture in mind will assist you in continuing to pursue your goals, even when you are feeling despondent.


If you have you own tips to share please tweet us @WeightmattersUK with #keepmotivated

Getting support from a therapist can improve your chances of success in achieving your goals significantly. Please do get in touch if you would like to work with one of the WeightMatters team. We would love to hear from you help@weightmatters.co.uk