It is springtime, and next to New Years, this is the time of year everyone focuses a little more on getting in shape and dropping a few pounds for the summer season - no more hiding under baggy sweatpants! While we might think weight loss is all about what we put into our belly, it has more to do with what is in our mind.

It is not just what we eat, it is why. Stress, boredom, habit, family traditions and social time with friends all play a role in why we eat.  We need to recognize how these external and internal forces affect our food choices.

Another obstacle is sheer impatience.  We often want immediate gratification, but weight loss can be a long process, and the scale can go up and down along the way. Remember you did not gain 20 pounds in two months,  so you probably will not lose it in two months either.  By setting attainable goals and breaking them down into small achievable chunks, it is much easier to achieve success.

We also get hung up with "eating scripts."  For instance, we get popcorn every time we go to the movies, we have to get the chicken wings at a certain restaurant, or we indulge in a piece of cake or candy just because it is in the break room.  We need to identify these triggers and rewrite the script.  

Here are six strategies that can help you get your mind right, so you can really lose the weight this time.

  • Getty Images
    1

    Imagine Success

    Cleary setting and identifying a goal is a great place to start and get motivated. Make sure it is realistic and that you want it for you and no one else.

  • Getty Images/Hero Images
    2

    Break Down Your Goal

    The end of your journey is important to visualize but to get there, focus on what is in front of you. That means breaking your goal into small chunks to be easily tracked and measured.

  • Getty Images/Tetra images RF
    3

    Develop a Plan of Action

    Now that a goal has been created, writing down a list of five things that will set you up for success will help you make steady progress towards your goal.

  • Getty Images/Westend61
    4

    Identify Problems Ahead of Time

    Knowing what triggers and obstacles might get in the way of your plan is crucial to helping you avoid them instead of dealing with them on the fly.  If you know you cannot resist ice cream in your freezer, don't buy it. If a certain activity triggers you to eat, change it up or avoid that activity.  Rewrite your eating script.

  • Getty Images
    5

    Celebrate the Small Stuff

    After reaching a mini milestone give yourself the praise you deserve. At the end of each week taking the time to tell yourself that you're proud of the effort and commitment you've made to yourself.

  • Getty Images/Hero Images
    6

    Don't Get Discouraged

    If you go off track one day, just get back on the next day.  So often people will throw in the towel after going off their diet with the why-even-bother-now mentality.  Dig deeper and find it within yourself to overcome a slip-up and keep moving forward. Don't be afraid to enlist the help of a nutritionist, dietician, trainer or even a friend or family member. Support can make a big difference in achieving your goal.