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The world is moving by miles in the development of new technologies that aim to make our lives easier and simpler. At the same time, the worldwide incidence of overweight and obesity is growing at an alarming rate. Why do most attempts to lose weight, exercise regularly, and get in shape end up unsuccessful? Let’s take a look at how you can lose weight permanently and change your life for the better.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2016, 39% of the world’s population (approximately 1.9 billion people) were overweight or obese. 
- More than 60% of people visiting the gym have trouble sticking to a regular schedule for more than 3 months. 
- By the second week of February, 80% of New Year’s resolutions end up in a trash and only 8% of people actually achieve their set resolutions. Statistics show that around 55% of New Year’s resolutions are linked to lifestyle improvements. This shows that people are dealing with it and want to work on it.  
As we can see, similar problems are shared by more than a third of the world, and not everyone has an encoded iron motivation to exercise. The truth is that most people, simply put, have trouble getting at least into the distant shape in which they see themselves in their dreams.
When we follow a brutal training and nutrition plan to 120%, and in a few days, we eat some extra food or skip training, we may say that it doesn’t make sense to continue. And then comes the period when we indulge in everything we have been denying all that time and our overall effort is gone. Or do we start exercising and losing weight over and over every Monday?
It can be done better, let’s look at it together.
Exercise and food are “ordinary” tools of success. What matters most?
There are countless books on weight loss and exercise on bookstore shelves. On the Internet, you will find an inexhaustible number of articles on diet, exercise, and “guaranteed guidelines and programs” for successful weight loss. If we do not fall into the trap of nonsensical detoxes or programs that promise miracles, and choose a quality and rational approach to weight loss, we have almost won.
Why can it work? Because rational and high-quality programs offer proven and workable guidance that contains information to achieve our goals. Whether it’s an effort to lose weight, gain more muscles or eat healthily. But how many such books do you already have in the library?
A new diet does not always lead to success, but a change in habits, behavior, and lifestyle does
Habits are responsible for approximately 40-50% of our daily activities. It is the everyday habits that largely shape our lives. Our entire lifestyle so far is then the result of this “learned behavior” and the little decisions we make at the moment. Shall we have a big cappuccino and sit down in front of the TV, or reach for a cup of stimulant espresso and do exercise? When we imagine it in the context of one year, then the difference is whether we exercise or watch TV an hour a day in the period of 365 days. 
To learn more about the most common reasons you don’t lose weight, read our article We know why you don’t lose weight, but you can change that!
What really doesn’t matter when we start exercising or losing weight?
According to some, it is best to lose weight on a low-carbohydrate diet or a keto diet, while others cannot won’t hear a word said against a vegetarian diet.
What really matters? The fact that we will gradually try to improve our diet and make it healthier. We can start by eating more vegetables, fruits and less sugar and smoked-meat products. We will gradually work towards a caloric deficit, which is a condition for successful weight loss (Hall, 2008). 
We also do not have to deal immediately with how many series and repetitions of exercise are most ideal during a workout, or which exercise is best for muscle growth and change of body proportions.
What really matters? The simple fact that we will slowly and regularly start doing the sport we enjoy. We don’t have to start doing CrossFit right away, even though according to social networks we feel that perhaps everyone is a CrossFit athlete nowadays. If we do something that is “against our hair”, we will not last long.
Success is conditioned by the ability to change habits and gradually start with new ones, thanks to which it will be much easier for us to achieve our goals.
If we are not athletes in body and soul, and healthy diet is not our passion, changing to healthier and new habits will cost us a lot of mental energy. If we go for it in an “all or nothing” style, we will probably not be able to achieve almost anything. We will only spin in a constant circle of being on a diet, striving to live healthier, followed by feelings of guilt with the necessary partial failure.
Don’t succumb to frequent nutritional myths. What are the most common ones, you will find in the article 15 nutritional myths that will surprise you.
Strong will is not almighty
“I can do this.” The sentence we say when compiling a low-calorie diet without any food that we will like, and a training plan suitable maybe for a professional athlete.
The illusion of perfection and trouble-free following of the “new lifestyle” is especially close to newcomers in the world of fitness. We want to achieve everything, and especially as soon as possible. Do you recognize yourself? As I have mentioned above, small and permanent changes are more effective in the long run than drastic and short-term ones.
A strong will is undoubtedly one of the factors for a successful lifestyle change. But it is not almighty. 
When we let other players into the game in the form of emotions, stress, and other challenges of an ordinary person’s everyday life, we get into very difficult situations. They will place obstacles in our attempt to be consistent and persistent in changing our lifestyle.
Let’s adapt our environment to success
When we know that we are able to eat all the sweets we find in stressful situations, we can simply give them to someone from the pantry and secret hiding places.
Do we tend to fall for “binge watching” (long-term watching of series or movies to be continued) on Netflix or another similar platform instead of exercising? We will temporarily disable this service.
If we have a problem with a regular training routine, a solution is offered in the form of a partner with whom we will work out or a personal coach.
With such a simple simplification and improvement of the living space, we will achieve a reduction in the factors that prevent us from succeeding. The final result will be that we will get used to an improved lifestyle far more easily than if we had to face all the pitfalls of the old lifestyle, and a sudden 180 ° rotation of our life habits.
Sweller (2011), in his publication on the theory of cognitive load, states that cognitive load is related to the amount of information that can be stored in our working memory at the same time. Excessive cognitive stress can have a negative impact on task completion and quality decision making. In this way, we can also indirectly justify why the drastic lifestyle change and most of New Year’s resolutions end in failure. It’s simply too much to handle for us. 
Studies show that the “small steps” approach, and the attempt to change or build a single habit, is far more successful, simpler, and helps reduce cognitive load. 
If you want to compile an affordable diet plan, our article 12 Tips for Budget Friendly Meal Purchase and Preparation will surely help you.
These 6 steps will help you achieve your goals
1. Set small and specific goals that will help you achieve the big ones
One of the cornerstones of success is to expect from yourself some realistic and achievable goals. We each have a different lifestyle or different mental and time-consuming work. Losing 10 kilograms in 14 days is neither realistic nor healthy. How about losing 10 pounds in 3 or 6 months, that’s better and more achievable, isn’t it?
When we break this big goal into a few small and easier-to-achieve sub-goals that we will be able to achieve, we will achieve greater activation of the internal reward system. It is responsible for the release of dopamine, which is responsible for feelings of happiness from the goal and motivates us to continue. Partial successes simply motivate us to achieve the great ones.   
James Clear (2018), in his book Atomic Habits, recommends the following approach to meeting big goals:
|Very simple||Simple||Average||Challenging||Very challenging|
|Wear sports clothes every day||Exercise for 15 minutes a day||Exercise for an hour a day||Learn to eat according to your goals||Lose 30 kg|
|Wear cycling clothes every day||Be able to ride a bike for 20 minutes every day||Ride a bike for 2 hours every other day||Take a challenging 4-hour ride every other day||Take part in a long cycling race|
|Put on trainers||Take 10 000 steps every day||Run for 30 minutes every day||Run for 2 hours every other day||Run a marathon|
|Go to the pool every day||Get into the pool and be able to swim 1 length of the pool||Swim 15 lengths a day||Swim intensely for 45 minutes every day||Swim competitively|
2. Make achieving your goals a priority
Whatever our goal is, it should be one of our priorities in our lives. Therefore, it will cost us some time, which we have to save somewhere else.
Lifestyle areas where relatively much time can be saved include:
Watching TV, series, or online platforms such as Netflix or HBO.
Frequent shopping. All you have to do is make a big purchase once in a while and go to a smaller store to buy fresh vegetables, fruits or pastries every other day. Today, even in relatively small towns, it is possible to order a purchase online and have it delivered to your home.
Spending time on social networks. Just for the sake of interest, let’s try to observe how much time we hastily scroll through the timeline of Instagram, Facebook and other social networks.
Let’s get 7-9 hours of sleep every day. Let’s get up at the same time every day or a little earlier. So we will have enough energy for demanding days.
Don’t do multitasking. It is an inefficient work tool. We’d better “uncheck” one task after another.
Stop procrastination. Chronic postponement of tasks rather steals our time. We should rather bite ourselves into everyday responsibilities, so that we have enough time for ourselves.
Stop thinking about the past and worrying about the future. We may be surprised at how much time we gain each day like this. 
Do meal preparation. We will prepare several portions of food for the next days and we do not have to spend every day in the kitchen unnecessarily much time.
How to do meal preparation reasonably, you can read in the article How to Effectively Prepare and Pack Meals?
3. Be patient and consistent
No one has ever gained the perfect shape after the first workout, just as they have not lost weight after a much healthier and less caloric meal. Everything takes time.
Thanks to small steps and daily walking, appearing by the pool or in the gym, we will gradually develop a habit that will help us achieve our goals in the long run. What’s more, with this approach, we already identify with the person we want to be, not the one we don’t want to be. 
4. Create a supportive environment
Achieving goals is much easier when we have people around us who can help us with it. It can be family, friends, colleagues at work, a training partner or a coach or nutrition coach.
The likelihood of success is directly related to our own responsibility and the support we can gain from our wide surroundings and close relationships. 
“I can do this alone!” Maybe so, but we have a better chance of success if we ask for support from the immediate area.
5. When you stumble, return to the track
The “all or nothing” approach has already been discussed once. What will happen if we have an honest burger or pizza that we really crave, instead of the planned tuna salad? Nothing, we will only eat more calories. Then all you have to do is decrease energy elsewhere, for example in the next two meals, and everything is fine.
The same applies even if we miss the scheduled training once. Practically nothing will happen, and we will come to the next one. But it must not become a routine.
Unfortunately, people still live in the fact that when something does not go according to plan, all efforts turn to dust in a second, and there is no point in going on. But that is a great pity and a mistake. Throwing away days and weeks of hard work for one little thing? Definitely not. With a calm head, we continue with our efforts.
6. Accept the fact that you will not want to exercise every day. But this is perfectly normal
In fact, even the most motivated and determined people sometimes just don’t feel like exercising. According to a Diet survey that included 25,000 runners from around the world, only 8% of runners really like running, and about half either hate it or tolerate it. But they continue to run, thanks to their belief in improving health and making their appearance more attractive. 
What will help? If we are not sick, then despite all the reluctance, it pays to do exercise, because those positive feelings thanks to endorphins and new energy in the veins after training are worth it. Is it better to go to training and then feel more energetic and better, or to sit on the couch watching Netflix?
You can also work on your discipline by reading the article 6 steps to iron self-discipline to achieve your fitness goals.
Imagine the moment of achieving your set goals
Imagination and visualization are powerful witches. Visualization is also used by sports psychologists and top athletes to prepare themselves better mentally for sports performance and to be more confident.  
A similar principle can be applied to the achievement of any goals. When we can imagine what we want to look like and what we want to achieve, it is easier to take steps which will help us do so. We can imagine under that either completing or skipping a training.
You can see the success of mental training and the right mindset in the video
What should you get out of it?
“If you don’t change anything, nothing will change.” There is so much truth in this statement that it perhaps captures the whole essence of today’s article. Losing weight, strengthening your body, or gaining muscle mass is about eating and training. But these are just tools that need to be learned to work with. When losing weight, it is not necessary to read all the scientific studies and articles on the Internet about the suitability of a given type of diet for weight loss or muscle growth.
The biggest determinant of success is everyday life, in which we need to acquire such habits that will help us achieve our goals. The key to success is small, gradual, and lasting lifestyle changes, not a 180 ° turn of life.
 World Health Organization – Obesity and overweight – https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight
 Adam Bornstein — Bad Fitness: Why You Don’t See Results From Your Workouts (or Diet Plans) — https://www.bornfitness.com/why-you-dont-see-results-from-your-workouts-or-diet-plans/
 Shireen Khalil — New Year’s resolutions last exactly this long — https://nypost.com/2018/12/21/new-years-resolutions-last-exactly-this-long/
 Joseph Luciani — Why 80 Percent of New Year’s Resolutions Fail — https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/2015-12-29/why-80-percent-of-new-years-resolutions-fail
 James Clear — Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones (1st edition)
 Kevin Hall — What is the Required Energy Deficit per unit Weight Loss? — https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ijo.0803720
 Abdul Dulloo — Explaining the failures of obesity therapy: Willpower attenuation, target miscalculation or metabolic compensation? — https://doi.org/10.1038/ijo.2012.114
 John Sweller — CHAPTER TWO – Cognitive Load Theory — https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-387691-1.00002-8
 Megan Oaten — Longitudinal gains in self-regulation from regular physical exercise — https://doi.org/10.1348/135910706X96481
 Timothy Buschman, & Miller, E. K. — Goal-direction and top-down control — https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2013.0471
 Anthony Grace, Floresco, S. B., Goto, Y., & Lodge, D. J. —Regulation of firing of dopaminergic neurons and control of goal-directed behaviors — https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tins.2007.03.003
 Susan Ward — Simple Ways to Save on Time Each Day — https://www.thebalancesmb.com/time-saving-rules-to-live-by-2948665
 Harron Walker — Runners Hate Running as Much as the Rest of Us — https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/5dm5kb/do-people-actually-like-running
 Donatella Corrado, Guarnera, M., Vitali, F., Quartiroli, A., & Coco, M. — Imagery ability of elite level athletes from individual vs. Team and contact vs. No-contact sports — https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.6940
 Richard Feloni — A sports psychologist shares the visualization technique that’s helped Super Bowl champions and Olympic gold-medalists — https://www.businessinsider.com/sports-visualization-technique-2017-8