Is there really a way to keep extra pounds off for good? While no single tip or trick is foolproof, adopting a number of new healthy habits can turn the tables on the scale. Here are five ways you can tackle weight loss with efficiency and boost your chances of long-term success:

  1. Stay positive. Mindset and how you talk to yourself about diet and exercise changes is key. Instead of telling yourself you “can’t” have something, instead say that you “won’t” have it. This gives you a feeling not of deprivation, but of empowerment and puts you in the driver’s seat of your choices. Feeling as though you are constantly denying yourself foods that you want can cause you to feel rebellious and eventually give up on your healthy choices.
  2. Try to get 8 hours of sleep. Sleep is about more than just curling up and pulling the blankets over your head. During sleep, your body is regenerating and restoring hormones that are necessary for proper fat utilization, metabolism control and muscle maintenance—all of which will affect your weight loss efforts when you are awake.
  3. Get to know your genetics.  More than just a trendy diet fad, science is now proving, because of genetics, that no two people will be able to succeed on the same diet. Why guess at what diet is right for you when a simple saliva test can provide valuable information on your body’s genetic tendency to gain and lose weight, which can help you achieve your goals more efficiently.
  4. Drink plenty of water. Although the metabolism boost your body gets from water may seem small, the importance of hydration should not be overlooked. Water can increase your metabolism and help you burn more calories for up to 40 minutes after working out. If you aren’t a fan of plain water, try using calorie-free flavorings or opt for fruit in your bottle or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
  5. Vary your workout. Over time, doing the same routine can cause your muscles to get used to the workout and become very efficient—causing less effort needed to complete the workout and less weight loss results over time. Trying new workouts is also great for challenging muscle groups you may have overlooked and to combat the boredom of doing the same thing week after week.

Because not every weight loss approach is right for every person, make sure to customize your healthy habits so they fit your lifestyle and feel achievable. Setting unrealistic goals can make you feel defeated before you even start—so be patient, work hard, and stay committed—each step, no matter how small is very important to finding success.