You can take steps to increase your confidence in your ability to lose weight.

There’s no doubt about it: It’s hard to change habits. If you’ve had weight loss disappointments before, it’s understandable that you don’t have the confidence to make lasting changes to your habits. However, the more you believe you can achieve a goal or change a behavior, the more likely you are to succeed. This is what behavior experts call self-efficacy. And it can make or break your weight loss efforts.

Think about how you perceive yourself. Do you find it hard to believe in your ability to lose weight? It is normal to feel some apprehension at first. But with practice, you can improve your sense of self-efficacy and boost your self-confidence.

Try these strategies:

1 Set realistic expectations

Do you expect immediate results? It is common to set goals that are unrealistic. For example, you might fail if you go from no exercise at all to one hour of daily training. Instead, focus on small, achievable changes, like walking at least 10 minutes a day. This is to feel a sense of achievement each week. By achieving small goals, your self-confidence will improve and you can prepare for bigger changes.

2 Recognize success

Take the time to celebrate your successes, no matter how small. Have you ever taken the stairs instead of the escalator? Do you eat a healthy breakfast three days in a row? Give yourself a pat on the back. You’re not used to acknowledging the little things, but it will help you stay positive and confident.

3 Keep a spirit of learning

Accept that setbacks can happen. How you deal with obstacles impacts your confidence and your will to carry on. Approach challenges with an open mind. Refrain from judging yourself and reflect on the experience, using it as an opportunity to grow. Ask yourself the following question: “What can I learn from this experience?

4 Practice positive self-talk

The inner dialogue is what you say to yourself at any given moment. With practice, you can begin to turn negative thoughts into positive ones. For example, instead of saying, “I’ll never reach my weight loss goal,” try saying, “Reaching my target weight takes time, but I can get there if I stick with it.”

5 Find healthy support

The people closest to you may feel intimidated by your desire to make healthy changes. Let them know how important their support is and what they can do to encourage you. Be sure to connect with others who have similar goals to yours. If you see other people achieving similar goals, you’ll be more likely to believe that you can achieve your goals too.

Examples of practice

Reach out to a friend or family member who is also working on healthy changes. Discuss ways to support each other. For example, call regularly or schedule weekly walk dates.

Capture the negative thoughts that come to mind throughout the day and turn them into positive reinforcements. Instead of saying, “I can’t stick to an exercise program,” try saying, “I can achieve a realistic goal today.”

Make a list of your daily accomplishments, no matter how small. Complete this list every day. It allows you to focus on what’s going well in your life, instead of what’s not.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.