February is a difficult time of year for people working on new fitness and diet routines.
Many of us make resolutions on January 1st to lose weight, gain muscle, or otherwise just improve our fitness.
However, these New Year’s resolutions are famously short-lived, at least for a majority of the population.
According to one article written in 2015 and reposted last year, 90 percent of people who start new fitness efforts aren’t going to the gym anymore by March.
The same can often be true of dieting. It’s not too difficult to start a new routine and stick to it for a few weeks or even a month at the beginning of the year.
It can almost be exciting, and while you’ll have to suppress cravings for “bad” foods you might be cutting out, you might also enjoy some new ingredients and healthy recipes you’re not accustomed to.
But many find that after a few weeks the new routine starts to feel a little dull, and those bad habits can start creeping back in.
Because we’re at the time of year when this tends to become a problem, I thought I’d write up a few handy tips for sticking to your diet.
Tailor your plan to your lifestyle
This is an idea we mentioned in a previous exploration of why your diet might not be working.
It sounds a little bit obvious on the surface, but it’s actually something many of us would do well to consider more carefully.
Too often we try to adopt ambitious diets or ones that take us completely out of our comfort zones.
If you’re extremely disciplined, this might just work. In general, though it’s asking to fail.
Instead of going for something generic or difficult, try to give careful consideration to your lifestyle and eating habits and then tailor a diet accordingly.
In other words, start with a healthier version of how you already eat, and if you get used to that, you can try something more ambitious.
Make a bet
I went back to 2015 for the article cited above regarding people losing interest in their gym memberships.
Going back one more year, there’s a fascinating story about a guy who lost weight on a bet.
This wasn’t a casual wager with friends, but rather an official bet with a professional bookmaker – and one that landed him £5,000 when he dropped 100 pounds in a year.
Clearly, this is an extreme example. But there are other stories like it, indicating that a little bit of financial incentive can actually help you stick to a routine.
If you can figure out a way to bet on milestones or even a long-term goal, you might just have your ticket to consistency.
Write down your list of reasons
There was actually a great list of tips for sticking to a diet written up on a psychology site several years back, and this simplest of tips stood out.
The idea was just to motivate yourself on a daily basis by reading a long list of reasons why you want to lose weight in the first place.
If you don’t remind yourself of your motivation, it’s easy to lose your motivation – you’ll start sticking to your diet just because you feel like you’re supposed to, and you might ultimately slack off.
Writing down a list of reasons and keeping it handy can keep you similarly focused on how you were on day one.