After 2020 was, well, what it was, 2021 brings an opportunity to challenge ourselves, set new, ambitious goals and do everything in our power to follow through with them.
For many of us, weight loss is a big part of that.
If ever there were a year to stop procrastinating and actually follow through with it, 2021 is it. After all, if we can survive a global pandemic that changed life as we know it, taking the proper steps now to lose weight should be more than possible, right?
For the next four weeks, we’ll publish a blog each Monday that will focus on four important categories related to succeeding at losing weight: how to stop procrastinating, how to make better use of your time, how to strengthen your self-control and how to find motivation.
The “2021 Is My Year” series aims to help us shed the barriers that have held us back in the past, break down those walls, and set us up for long-term success.
Let’s get started by looking at procrastination.
How many times have you said to yourself, “I’ll start that tomorrow,” or “I’ll give it one more day,” or the always-favorite, “On Monday, I’ll make that change.”?
Here’s the thing, when you’re doing that, it’s usually because you’re doing something else, something that may even already be done or that’s not necessary at all. You’re doing what’s easy instead of taking the initiative to do what’s new or what may challenge you.
Take the example of making healthier eating choices, for example. You’re at a restaurant on a Saturday evening and say to yourself, “I’ll order the burger and fries and a milkshake tonight and get started on my diet on Monday.” (Been there).
You’re choosing what’s easy in that moment, rather than taking the initiative to do it right then and there, in that moment.
But let’s back up and see what happens if you instead choose to order grilled chicken and a salad. Is it really going to diminish your experience? Unlikely. And what it IS sure to do is bring you a sense of accomplishment later in the evening, a step in the right direction that you took in that moment, rather than putting it off until the next moment.
Below are 9 effective tips to power past procrastination once and for all.
1) Take off the pressure!
When you set a goal, make it small and attainable. For example, if you want to lose weight, set a goal of losing 1-2 pounds a week. Don’t focus on the end goal, focus on the ones that you can actually reasonably achieve on a weekly basis. Another thing to remember, whatever the task is, your life probably doesn’t hinge on the outcome. Stop looking at it in black-and-white, life-and-death terms and look at it as an important task you have to achieve.
2) It’s not “have to,” it’s “want to.”
You don’t have to do anything. Literally. Every moment of your life is about making choices. Even things you think you HAVE to do, like get out of the bed in the morning or eat, are still technically choices. That goes for achieving a goal like weight loss, too. Frame it as a choice you WANT to make to be healthier, live longer, feel better, etc. — not as something you HAVE to do. This will make it more enjoyable and ultimately help you follow through with it.
3) Track it.
Journaling is a powerful thing, especially when it comes to weight loss. Writing down what you eat or using an app like Lose It! or MyFitnessPal to track meals gives you the information you need to understand where you’re eating too much, what you can cut out, etc. Writing down how you’re using your time is also important. Jot down what you did each hour and then go back and look at how efficient you’re being, where you might be able to squeeze in something like a quick walk, etc. Knowledge is power, and it can go a long way in helping you stop procrastinating.
4) Create reminders and set timers.
Use your cell phone or SmartWatch to create reminders that will help you get through the task at-hand each day. They can be bits of motivation, reminders to eat or get up and move around, etc. You can also set timers to ensure you get something done in a certain amount of time. For example, set a 40-minute timer when you start exercising. Or set a 20-minute timer and keep an eye on it to help yourself slow down when you’re eating.
5) Block time out.
One key part of ensuring you don’t procrastinate is allotting yourself you-time. Put aside a solid hour in your day where you don’t do anything for anyone but yourself. A time to read, meditate, etc. — make it a time where you don’t accept invitations or allow interruptions.
6) Look to the next step.
Keeping in mind that you definitely do need to have those smaller, attainable goals, you should also be looking forward to what small step is next after that. In weight loss, for example, you can use your food and time journals from the week before to see what you can do the following week to keep moving forward. You should also think to yourself constantly, “What can I do in this moment to achieve my goal?” Moving forward, always, one baby step at a time, is key.
7) Make it fun!
You’re not going to want to keep doing something if it’s not enjoyable. Even something like weight loss can (and should!) be fun. What new recipes can you try? Should you sign up for a healthy meal delivery service like Diet-to-Go that gives you something to look forward to each week? Is there a new fitness class or routine you’ve always wanted to give a go? Find the joy in it, and you will want to keep doing it.
8) Find an accountability partner.
As humans, we’re biologically predisposed to be social creatures. That fact extends to achieving a goal, too. Tell a loved one — someone you trust — what task you’re trying to accomplish and ask them to check in with you regularly on it. If they’re trying to meet the same goal, all the better! You can hold each other accountable and celebrate your mutual victories.
9) Reward yourself.
For every small goal you achieve that takes you one step closer to the long-term goal, celebrate! Did you lose 2 pounds in a week? Buy yourself a new handbag. Did you meet your goal of 8 pounds lost in a month? Get a massage. Even if it’s just a small celebration, like renting a movie you’ve been meaning to watch, knowing that you’re rewarding yourself for your accomplishments will give you something to look forward to.
Whatever your goal for 2021 is, adhering to these powerful tips for getting past procrastination is sure to be a huge first step.
Author: Caitlin H
Diet-to-Go Community Manager
Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.