With the New Year upon us, you have probably set your sights on a healthier 2020. Of the nearly 50% of South Africans who make New Year's resolutions, the number one resolution, according to statistics, is to lose weight, and not far behind that is to get and stay healthy. So, with, so many people aiming to make the New Year a healthy year, I have pulled together some realistic tips and secrets to help you maintain your goals; because there is nothing worse than reviewing your resolution in February and feeling like you have not accomplished a thing.

If your goal is to lose weight, the first step is to set a realistic amount to lose and to create a time frame to do this in. Knowing that you are not going to reach your goals overnight will allow you to stay on track. The key is going into the resolution knowing that you are not just out for immediate results. When you want results yesterday, desperation mode kicks in and this can lead to decisions that may compromise your health and success. Beware of the massive amount of quick-fix cures out there.

By avoiding fad diet trends, and extreme measures like going to the gym for hours on end, you not only lose weight but keep the weight off once you lose it. With this in mind, you also have to know that there are going to be bumps in the road. The weight loss journey is a change of lifestyle, and it's not just temporary.

I understand that the journey is difficult, and suggest you bring a close friend or significant other along for the ride. It's important to have someone there on a regular basis to get you through those rough times. If you don't have a friend who has an aligning resolution, there are plenty of other techniques that you can use to keep up with your goals.

Using technology can be a great daily reminder and can help you with many different aspects of your weight-loss or health goals. Using fitness tracking apps is an easy way to get workout ideas and help track your food and calorie intake.

Finally, maintaining a positive attitude throughout your resolution journey will help you work to achieve your goal and change of lifestyle. Eating right is all about remaining positive, and these positive thoughts resonate from the kitchen table to the gym.

Top 4 tips to help you stay on track for a new year, new you:

Make peace with your trigger foods

Old Resolution:

Ban Chocolate forever! Banning your favourite treat, whether it's chocolate, Coke or burgers is bound to backfire. Such restriction may cause you to binge, feel bad and then throw in the towel and revert back to old eating patterns.

New Resolution:

Make peace with your trigger foods. Don't have them at home staring you in the face, but allow yourself to have them once a week.

Set A Goal

Old Resolution:

I am going to lose this weight -somehow. People will often just set a weight-loss goal but they don't have a good plan on how to get there.

New Resolution:

Set a goal that is specific, measurable, realistic, and trackable. Walk for 15 minutes three times a week after work or add a serving of fruits and vegetables to each meal. Focus on changes that you can easily make a part of your lifestyle so that you'll be able to sustain them for the long haul.

Have a friend hold you accountable

Old Resolution:

I can do it all… eat better, lose weight and start exercising. This resolution may sound good, but it is a high bar for most people. If your goals are too ambitious at the start, you'll have trouble accomplishing them and you'll be likely to give up.

New Resolution:

Focus on one or two areas and team up with a weight-loss companion. This can be a friend, relative or personal trainer who will make sure you stick to the plan. It is much easier to go for a walk every day at 6 a.m. if you know a friend is waiting for you.

Start by working out at home

Old resolution:

I'm signing up to the gym and the latest fitness classes. Finding a gym or program you really like is a good start, but simply signing up won't help you lose weight.

New Resolution:

Start working out at home or become a member at a gym you like before the New Year. Buy those supplements in December and keep them ready for the first day of January. This way, you'll have a plan in place when your resolution kicks in on January 1st. Planning ahead also allows you to structure your workout and diet plans so you aren't left feeling overwhelmed

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