We’ve all heard the stories about yo-yo dieting: the weight comes off then goes right back on. We know of people who have quit smoking or drinking… numerous times. The inability to maintain goals once achieved may seem inevitable, but there are individuals who have long-term success. How do they do it?
Of course part of the answer is that they have adopted lifestyle changes that support the goal. But there is more going on.
A review of factors associated with long-term weight loss maintenance revealed that those who managed to keep their goal weight had certain personality traits, such as an internal locus of control, and that the goal had intrinsic value.
Weight loss maintainers were more likely to engage with long-term self help groups and have face-to-face or web-based interventions. They had relatively low levels of depression. And most important, they were self-confident in their ability to lose weight, and they were satisfied with their results.
What does this mean for those of us with other types of lifestyle modification goals?
We all need to add increased confidence in our own abilities and increased satisfaction with the strategies we are using to support goal achievement to our actual lifestyle change goal. While not usually considered as part of goal setting, self-confidence and satisfaction are necessary for maintenance of lifestyle change results.