How to: Finish last in the weight loss race

New Series: Five Ways to Blow Your New Year’s Resolution

Often, we associate New Year’s resolutions with drastic health or lifestyle changes that we feel determined to stick to in January – but weeks or months later, we burn out. Why? Because we try to bite off more than we can chew.

This week, we’ll share five common mistakes that lead to resolution burnout, and provide you with realistic tips that encourage long-term success.

Happy New Year! The calendar has turned, and the stress of the holidays has passed. Now that you’ve been home from work for a few days, you’re getting restless. And maybe a little ambitious.

“This is the year I’ll finally do it,” you say to yourself. “I’m going to get in shape.”

So, you head to the gym, renew your membership and join the resolution regiment filling up group fitness classrooms.

For the several weeks that follow, you’re in it to win it. “All or nothing,” you tell yourself, fighting the urge to hit “snooze” each morning before the alternating sessions of spin and boot camp classes you signed up for.

Then one morning in February, everything changes. 5 AM starts blaring, and the thought of facing that perky spin instructor before sunrise suddenly looks a lot less attractive than the blinking snooze button. You’re tired, cranky, and unmotivated. After all, you’ve only lost two pounds since adopting your hardcore new fitness routine.

“I’ll sit this one out,” you say that morning… and the next few hundred mornings that follow.

Resolution burnout has claimed another victim.

How to: overcome weight loss resolution burnout

Be realistic – and diligent

While many have P-90Xpectations for total body transformations in mind, achieving a healthy weight begins by setting realistic long-term goals. So, February rolls around and you’ve only lost two pounds. Guess what? That’s two pounds less than where you began – and you’ll lose more if you stick with it until next February.

Remember, slow and (most importantly) steady wins the race

For the everyday people with real lives and demanding schedules, the Biggest Loser extreme approach might not be feasible.  So, when considering new fitness routines as part of your weight loss resolution, try to visualize your get-fit journey as a marathon, not a sprint. (Think: daily walks or jogs, to start.) Gradual improvement is the surest way to achieve your goals – and overexerting yourself from the outset is the quickest way to burn out.

Remember these tips and you’ll still be going strong as the gym crowd begins to thin out in a month or two.