With the New Year comes an opportunity to start afresh and finally embark on those lifestyle adjustments you've been considering all year. Maybe you've decided to pick up a new hobby, or perhaps you're just determined to be more adventurous in 2013. Or, like countless Americans every year, perhaps you've decided that now is the time to cut back on the calories, ramp up your physical activity and finally shed those excess pounds.

Though this resolution is a popular one from year to year, there really is no time like the present to take action about your weight. Obesity rates are on the rise around the world, and are bound to bring on a surge of health concerns including heart disease and diabetes.

But, if you're like an estimated 80 percent of aspiring dieters, there is a good chance that you've tried to lose weight before and have not been successful. If so, don't beat yourself up over it – dieting, says Loyola Medicine's Dr. Jessica Bartfield, is often a tumultuous process.

"Dieting is a skill, much like riding a bicycle and requires practice and good instruction," she notes in a University press release, "you’re going to fall over and feel frustrated."

It's easy to oversimplify the process of losing weight – particularly if you've never battled with unwanted pounds yourself – but being aware of the most common missteps may help your weight loss efforts.

Bartfield explains that many people struggle with keeping an accurate record of both the amount of calories they consume, and how many they burn off through exercise, so it's important to pay attention to these details and, most importantly, be honest to yourself about these numbers.

Last year, this blog also covered a Quebec-based study showing the link between weight retention and disjointed sleeping habits. Bartfield also references this connection, and suggests that anyone attempting to lose weight aims for a minimum of six hours of sleep a night.

However, if you still find yourself struggling to shed pounds despite your best efforts, consider consulting an anti-aging doctor at Longevity Centres of America for medical weight loss in Houston and Denver.