Diet is a dirty word for most people. Many people start a diet only to quit after just a few days or maybe a few weeks. Staying motivated to diet is difficult as you think that eating that one cookie is fine until you slip up and then become derailed both physically and mentally.

If you are truly ready to start a diet and are looking for ways to stay motivated here are seven things that you can do in order to make sure your diet is a success.

1. Set Goals that are Realistic

The most important thing that you need to do when starting a diet is to make sure that the goals that you set are realistic. If you set your goal to lose 30 pounds within a month or two, you are setting yourself up for failure. You are going to be more successful with a diet if you focus on your health and create eating strategies that are sensible.

2. Go Slow

Making changes to your lifestyle is difficult and you want to make sure that you give yourself time to adjust. Start out slowly. Consider cutting out just 200 calories per day from your diet. If you do this you will lose between one and two pounds a week, which is a healthy weight loss that can be sustained over time.

3. Expect Set backs

Remember, at some point you are going to give in to your temptations. Allow for this. Treating yourself to a hot fudge sundae or other favorite desert every once in a while is okay. Remember, dieting is about moderation - one slip up does not mean that you have failed.

4. Remember You Are Not Perfect

So, you had a rough morning and then you eat a pint of ice cream for lunch. An indulgence is just an indulgence and you need to move on from it. One of the biggest problems that people have is thinking that the only way they are going to succeed is if they stick to their diet perfectly. They think that making a mistake means that they have failed and this causes them to give up entirely. The bottom line is when you screw up, forget about it and remember tomorrow is a new day.

5. Find a Friend

The people that succeed at losing weight almost always have a partner. If you are married try to get your spouse on board with you. Find a friend to help motivate you to stay on track. If no one in your life is currently ready to start a healthier lifestyle consider one of the many online programs that are available. These sites will provide you with support from outsiders that are on the same mission as you are. When you have a bad day you record it and the group will help you move on from it.

6. Reward Yourself

Going on a diet is hard and it is not always all that fun. A small reward can be a great incentive to keep going. Do not use food as a reward though. Consider a massage after losing five pounds or something else that you enjoy. Perhaps you want a night out with some friends or a great new pair of jeans. Celebrating your achievements throughout the process can be a great way to help you stay on track.

7. Create a Maintenance Plan

For most people, losing weight is the easy part it is keeping the weight off that is difficult. The most important thing to remember is that healthy eating should be a life-long goal and not just a one-time project to meet your goals. If losing weight and keeping it off has been a problem in the past make sure to devise a maintenance plan before you start. Sometimes consulting an expert is the best way to create a diet and exercise plan that will work for you.

Author's Bio: 

For intelligent, no-nonsense advice to living a healthier life through weight loss and exercise check out Will Arlo's blog at