One problem millions of people face is how to maintain or succeed with a New Year’s Resolution.
Let’s take a look at how this process typically begins:
Step 1: Realize New Year’s is coming as you listen to and read articles about ways to lose weight or quit some habit.
Step 2: Immediately decide with minimal time invested in thinking about or planning a goal.
Step 3: Have a brain freak-out moment in which you intensely do the opposite of your resolution like it is Fat Tuesday at Mardi Gras.
Step 4: Wake up on the first of the year perceiving you will do wonderfully with the resolution only to fail like to 60-80% of people (depending on which research you read) who approached this process in the same fashion.
Wow. That was inspirational. People often have great intentions on making change but they get stuck. We are creatures of habit. These habits can start from earlier times in our lives. If you grow up eating steak and potatoes, there is a strong likelihood you will continue to do so, as will your children, unless you break the cycle. But how do we break the cycle?
Maybe we should try this from a different angle…
So, all behaviors stem from some motivation or instinct. The brain need to learn that the lifestyle changes we are looking to make are good for us. Unfortunately, the behaviours we are targeting are not healthy, take little effort, and provide relatively fast reactions in the body that reinforce the behavior.
Let’s take sugar, for example. We typically do not have to coach or convince people to eat a piece of cake or candy. The motivation for eating the food stems from the history of learning that it tastes good. You get a sugar rush that feels great. The problem is that we do not focus on the drop that comes afterwards when the pancreas releases insulin to fight the problem we just created. Repeat a pattern of unhealthy eating combined with the body aging and the net result is additional weight, feeling sluggish, lowered self-esteem, and on and on.
If you are looking into making a lifestyle change, it is exceptionally important to take time to look at your motivation and general planning.
Focus on the positive
If you say things like, “I’m fat so I need to lose weight,” you will feel horrible about yourself. Instead, focus on loving the self and how you can celebrate that love. “I choose to move my body today because it will feel good and I make and take loving actions for me.” Phrasing a goal in a positive will lead to improved likelihood of success.
Give yourself a pep talk
If you start out your change process by amplifying the characteristic that you dislike about the self, you will feel horrible. It is like telling someone before a competition, “Don’t suck,” which leads to them worrying or thinking about performing horribly. Instead, focus on telling yourself how great you are for making the change. Remind yourself that you are in charge of your decisions and actions. If you want to be happy and healthy, focus on talking about being happy and healthy.
If you have not been running for a few years, it’s probably going to take you a little while to get in the swing of things. Instead of thinking you can run a marathon right away, set your goal of a brisk walk. Increase time and add jogging. Eventually, you will be running.
Focus on the now
Remember to celebrate each step instead of minimizing it, especially when you talk to others. We have to avoid comparing ourselves to others. Instead, compare yourself to you. In doing so, you can celebrate EVERY effort you put forth.
Remember that you will likely have times of relapse. This is NORMAL. We will skip the run or eat the sugary treat. The most important piece is to revisit the goals and return to loving, positive self-talk.
Regardless of what your goal may be, the key is to remember to be loving and mindful in all that you do. It is never too late to set goals in life. Take the time to invest in living a healthy and happy life. For more information, head on over to my wife’s blog and here is our recent television interview about resolutions on Local 5 Live!
If you could do with some support as we head into 2016, especially in relation to obtaining the optimum health and happiness level, – consider joining Transformation 101 for guys (or women with my wife Kerry) there’s two days left to grab a $100 discount using code: NYSALE – LEARN MORE HERE!