The holiday season is almost here. This time of year can be especially tough for anyone trying to lose weight and get healthy. From office parties to family get-togethers, Halloween candy and Thanksgiving dinner, there is so much good tasting yet unhealthy food in abundance.

How do you stay committed to your diet and weight loss goals when everyone else is piling the food on to their plates? The answer is mental toughness.

Here are 10 ways to do it.

Focus on the long term goal
It’s easy to get consumed into the short term satisfaction of all that great tasting food, yet you must be strong and resist the temptation. Focus on the long term pride of achieving world-class fitness and health which leads to a leaner and stronger body, more confidence, better sex and a better all around you.

Make it HappenRemember your ‘why’
When the going gets tough and you feel like you’re going to stray from your diet, remember your ‘why.’ Why am I doing this? Why do I want to really lose weight? Why do I want to get healthy? This will shock you back to reality and keep you motivated to stay on track.

Stop and think
Before you put anything in your mouth, stop and ask yourself one very important question: How is this piece of food or beverage going to impact my health? If the answer doesn’t foster good health and wellness, put it down and walk away.

Don’t eat for pleasure
We’ve come to associate the holiday season with great tasting foods, items that are usually high in fat, calories and sugar. Many people eat for pleasure this time of year. If you’re serious about your weight loss goals, this is the time to eat for health, not for pleasure.

Group SupportYou need accountability and support
If you’ve struggled with food your whole life, walking into Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner is no different than a recovering alcoholic walking into a bar. You need support and accountability to stay strong. Find someone you trust who has your best interest at heart. Ask them to be your support person and to help hold you accountable for your actions.

Seeing is believing
One of the best strategies for staying compliant to your weight loss plan this time of year is creating a vision board filled with pictures of lean, fit and sexy people. Hang the vision board in a very visible location. When you constantly see the person you want to become, it will reinforce your goals into your subconscious mind. If you feel like cheating on your diet or giving up, look at the vision board and it will remind you why you’re fighting.

Expect a ChallengeExpect a challenge
Be realistic and know that remaining compliant this time of year is going to be extra challenging. Expect to feel pain or suffer. Most people feel the pain or run into an obstacle and seek escape right away. Have a plan to push forward when this happens and don’t let it catch you off guard. If you’re not ready to suffer during adversity, you’re not going to be successful.

Get really clear about your weight loss goals
Don’t just say, “I want to lose weight.” Get specific and say, “By April 1, I want to lose 15 pounds. I’m going to eat well, exercise each day and get really committed to doing this once and for all. The holiday season isn’t going to stop me.” When you set a timeline and have specific goals, you’re going to avoid procrastination.

You can’t cheat and then start over
You can’t cheat whether it’s Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or any other day. Stop telling yourself that you can just start over on Monday. Monday is never coming. This isn’t a game or a hobby; it’s your health. Until you’re at a healthy body weight, 99% compliance is failure. You wouldn’t cheat on your spouse in a committed relationship, so don’t cheat on something as important as your diet.

It's Up to YouIt’s up to you
The mantra of fit people is: I am responsible. If losing weight and getting healthy is something you want bad enough, it’s up to you to make it happen. Nobody else is coming to the rescue. The choice is yours. Your weight is your responsibility. How bad do you want it?

The holidays to the millions of dieters is like heroin to a recovering drug addict: it’s full of temptation and ultimately results in a negative outcome. It doesn’t take much to derail a diet and completely ruin the road to a healthier life.

Note: This blog post was written for the Huffington Post on October 20, 2016 by Steve Siebold (Author and expert in the field of critical thinking and mental toughness training).

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