Every year, millions of Americans set a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. But sadly, only about 19% of those people actually reach their goal weight by the end of the year. Those statistics can be discouraging and may make you wonder why you should even bother. But before you abandon your goals, let’s take a look at where most people go wrong and see if we can put practices in place to avoid the same pitfalls.

So why is it so hard to reach a goal? Well, for starters, weight loss just simply isn’t easy in the first place. It takes a lot of time, effort, and strength to even start, let alone to maintain a whole new lifestyle. That doesn’t play well with our societal need for instant gratification. We’re used to getting what we want, when we want it, so when we don’t get results right away, we abort the mission. In addition to all that, each and every body is different and will respond to treatments differently. When a method works for a friend and not for you, it can be incredibly disheartening.

But just because weight loss is difficult, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. We have some methods that might make it easier to stay focused on your goal. With these tips and some self motivation, you CAN accomplish whatever you want to achieve.

Set an Obtainable Goal

The number one thing that trips people up out of the gates is setting either unclear or unrealistic goals for themselves. This tricks your mind into thinking you’ve failed, when in reality you’ve come so much further than you think. So be clear about your intentions. Instead of saying “I want a summer body” or “I want to look fit,” focus on specific parts of your body. For instance, “I want to tone my legs and strengthen my glutes.” Once you’ve achieved that first small step, you can add the next piece. Whether it’s a specific goal to lose 20 pounds or to just tone your arms in general, before you know it, you’ll be feeling empowered by how much you’ve accomplished.

Find Your Perfect Rhythm

It can take time to figure out what works for your body and what doesn’t. Maybe you don’t work out enough and you feel sluggish, or you push too hard and injure or exhaust yourself. With so many factors—cardio/aerobics, day/night, short burst/long workout—it can be difficult to find a rhythm that works for you. We suggest starting slow. Find out what you like and what you don’t. If it’s too difficult to rise to the occasion in the morning, try working out in the evening. If a certain workout zaps all your energy, try another that makes you stronger so you can build up to the other. Establish a schedule that works for you and stick to it.

Nutrients and Vitamins

We’ve all heard, ad nauseum, that the best way to lose weight is through diet and exercise. But it’s not always that easy. Each diet is different for each person. The keto diet might help a friend, but could make you sick. Cutting gluten might benefit you, but cause issues for a coworker. The path to success is all about finding what makes you feel better and gives you results. Listen to your body. If you get sick after trying a new diet fad, don’t do it again. Try something else. While every diet affects each person differently, one thing that does work for everyone across the board is proper vitamin intake. If your body isn’t getting the right amount of vitamins, then a diet and exercise aren’t going to be as effective. Taking supplements to account for vitamins and nutrients you’re lacking in your current diet can help keep your body in tip-top shape. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist to find out what your body is lacking.

Don’t Skimp on Sleep

After a workout or a long day, our bodies get tired. And that’s okay! We need to listen to them and get proper sleep. Without it, our bodies lose strength and energy. Working out while sleep deprived not only sucks the rest of the energy out of your body, but it can also cause injury. Getting a full night’s rest, taking naps as needed, and taking breaks from working out are essential to keeping your strength up. Take it easy, get some sleep, and start every workout with fresh and energetic excitement.

Motivational Boards and Music

It may sound silly, but having a board of motivational quotes or a playlist of bumping songs can really help motivate you to stay active and keep pushing. Try putting a goal picture or inspirational quote on your bedroom mirror. Make a playlist for the gym full of songs that pump you up. Whatever gets you going could be your ticket to accomplishing your goal.

No matter how difficult it may seem, your goal is within reach. Try these tips and if you need some extra help, contact your local Options clinic. We’re ready to assist you on your weight loss journey.