Did you know that more than 75 percent of people who start a diet and lose weight are unable to maintain this weight loss for more than a year? This statistic represents a pretty familiar pattern for most of us. Weight loss can definitely be accomplished, but it’s difficult to keep off the unwanted pounds. So what’s the key to creating lasting change? How do you become one of the small percentage of people who can achieve their weight loss goal and maintain it for years to come?

The key for the majority of people who have sustained their transformation has been the adoption of a healthy lifestyle change. They found a balance, remained consistent (not perfect), and gradually learned new behaviors and routines that evolved into their current way of living.

Here are 6 easy steps to help you create a healthy lifestyle change:

  1. Pick one or two things to change: Avoid “going big” and being extreme with your change. Instead, focus on one or two behaviors to help improve the quality of your lifestyle. This is far more manageable and proven to be successful in the long run. As you learn this new behavior, you’ll become increasingly comfortable with it and feel ready to take on a new change.
  2. Keep a record: While somewhat frustrating or difficult at first, it’s crucial to learn how much food you’re taking in each day. Keeping a simple diet log can help you realize that your caloric intake is too high, too low or inconsistent. The awareness you’ll gain as a result will be a powerful tool in finding lasting change.
  3. Find accountability and support: Whether it’s writing down your goal, joining a 30-day challenge or hiring a personal trainer, it’s helpful to increase your accountability and recruit others to help support you. You don’t have to be alone; it’s important to ask for assistance to pick you up on the tough days.
  4. Stay hydrated: Ditch the caloric beverages and increase your water intake. This simple act can create serious weight loss and help improve your energy, metabolism, and overall health.
  5. Do what you love: Discovering things you love to do is one of the most successful ways to create a healthy lifestyle change. Keep an open mind and be willing to try new things as you see what activities resonate. Once you find something you really enjoy, it’ll be far easier to adopt this into your regular routine.
  6. Be easy on yourself: This is one step that can’t be overlooked. Ditch the perfectionism and absolute behavior and learn to be flexible. Set your sights on the lifestyle you want to achieve and maintain and know that your path might be a bit bumpy!