Did you notice how tons of blogs and news sites were totally full of weight loss messages and ads during the month of January? I mean, you could not turn to any TV channel or surf any Web pages without being reminded that you NEED to lose weight and get rid of that belly fat.

Most people heard that message loud and clear and faced with the perennial obligation to come up with at least one resolution for the new year, they lined up diligently at the gym to get their membership with big dreams of a slimmer body. Many even went shopping for new spandex shorts and athletic wear in the hopes that this move might motivate them to really lose the weight this year.

Guess what. February is almost over and the lines at the weight racks are gone. I can find a locker with no problem and the parking at the gym is simple. It's the same story each year.

I don't think it's that people simple are disinterested in better health. I think the issue is that there was no plan. If your plan is to go to Aspen for a skiing vacation, you won't just land in Aspen and figure your way around. You'll have a plan as to how much cash you need for the trip, which flights are available, where you'll stay, etc. Weight loss must be approached in the same way.

Knowing the desired result is not enough. You need to understand how you'll do it, how you'll overcome the triggers that push you to Pizza Hut, and how you'll stay motivated on the inevitable morning where you'd rather stay in bed.

Now that all the weight loss hype has died down, it's time to figure out how you will keep the motivation all year-round to keep fit.

Here are 7 tips to help you build a winning weight loss program for the entire year:

  1. Be specific and clear about your goal
    Saying you want to lose weight is just not enough. It's like saying you to go on a trip. You need to be as specific as possible in order to see results. So you'll want to have a number in mind such as: I want to lose 20 lbs by April 10th. This gives you something to track against and it will be a form of motivation moving forward.
  2. Get a professional assessment
    You need to know where you are now to know where you want to go. Most gyms will offer an assessment and a personal trainer can give you a profile of your physical fitness level. This will help you know your weaknesses and where you need improvement. If you watch Dr. Oz on a regular basis, then you know he always puts guests who want to lose weight in the Truth Tube to assess some basics and then have them back 28-30 days later to assess their progress. If the health club assessment costs to much, at least take a 'before' picture. In fact many people take a daily or weekly picture to show incremental improvements over a long period.
  3. Use your assessment as a guide
    Once you've had your assessment you should use it to determine where you'll start and what you'll focus on. Your assessment will also let you know if you need to hire a fitness professional or find a workout buddy to help you reach those goals. Again, if you're strapped on cash, keep accurate records of your routine until you have it memorized. This will help ensure you're working all of the parts of your body (as needed).
  4. Don't try to do too much
    Working out for three hours on your first day will leave you sore, tired, and demotivated. Break it down and take it easy. Start slow and work your way up. This might mean that for the first 15 days you simply walk for 30 minutes a day, seven days a week.
  5. Don't only focus on weight loss
    Most people want to lose weight, but there is a why behind that goal that should not be ignored. If your goal is to lose 15 lbs. by a certain date and be able to effortlessly climb up the stairs to your office located on the 6th floor, you'll also want to focus on that. In fact, that might motivate you more than just a number on the scale.
  6. You don't have to go to the gym
    So many people associate fitness with the gym. There are hundreds of exercises to choose from. If you hate the gym, then you can look at dancing, swimming, skiing, skating and a long list of fitness activities that can keep you fit and help you lose weight. Make sure it's an activity you like in order to keep at it.
  7. Keep track
    You should have a journal and write down important stats like starting weight and starting measurements. If your goal is to go up six flights of stairs in two months along with losing weight, you might want to document how many steps you can climb on the first day before you feel out of breath. By tracking your progress on a weekly basis, you can better see where you need to make adjustments.

It's not easy to remain disciplined and to work out on a regular basis, but with a few easy tips, it's very possible!

 Reprinted from Dumblittleman