Happy New Year!!!
This morning, Marianne Williamson tweeted something that I want to share: The universe is already programmed to give each of us a year of joy. Our challenge lies in programming ourselves to receive it. What’s one of the best ways to make that happen? Showing gratitude! For me, this is the perfect way to begin 2013.
With that said, many people believe that the way to begin the New Year is with resolutions. And if you’re like 50% of people, you decided to make one. The most common are to lose weight, exercise more, and quit smoking. It seems like a perfect time, right? New year – new you.
Clinical psychologists have actually studied the process of making New Year’s resolutions and in so many ways they’re similar to the processes I help my clients through–forming new habits over time that involve permanent behavioral changes. For many of them, their resolution simply happens at a different time of the year.
In full disclosure, I can’t remember the last time I made a New Year’s resolution–if ever; and if I had, I’m not sure how long I kept it. Looking back at most of the new habits I’ve formed, they usually involved something major happening in my life at the time, rather than the calendar.
One study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology that tracked 159 people who set a New Year’s resolution and 123 people who hadn’t, found that six months later, 46% of the resolvers were still keeping their resolutions while only 4% of the non-resolvers were following through with changes. So the concept of setting a resolution suggests you’ll have more success.
Although 46% seems high, it also suggests that 54% of people gave up within six months. If you’re part of that group and this year, are ready for success, here are some reasons why you may have given up in the past and some tips for finally making your resolutions stick, whether you begin them today, or in July:
Reason 1: Resolutions are executed unrealistically. For example, if you’ve never exercised before and decide it’s time to start, and then expect that you’ll work out seven days/week for two hours each day, you’ll quickly burn out, get frustrated, even risk injuring yourself, and give up.
Success tip 1: Start from where you’re at. Never exercised before? Begin slowly for example, with daily walks. About a year ago, after not exercising for decades, my parents began walking, either outdoors or at the mall. They began slowly and have increased their time/distance gradually. And in the last year, my dad has lost 25 pounds (more on how he did it in another post), in part because of his walking with mom. The key is that it is doable for them (they’re both 76!) and they’ve consistently walked 3-4 times per week.
Reason 2: You’re making them for the wrong reasons. Your friends and family are telling you that it’s time to (fill in the blank) and so you resolve to (fill in the blank). Or your friend has made a resolution so you decide to join in. Even though they’re ready for you to begin, you may be at the pre-contemplation (not yet acknowledging) or contemplation stage where you’ve acknowledged a behavior that needs to be changed but you’re not sure if you’re ready.
Success tip 2: Understand your “why” behind your resolution. You say you want to eat healthier? OK, why? What will happen as a result of you choosing better foods? How will your life look different? How will you feel? By getting in touch with what you’ll be creating with your resolution, at the visceral level, you’ll be more likely to follow through, even when the going gets tough. And to keep the motivation fresh and in the front of your mind, write it down and post it somewhere you’ll see it often, like on your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator, or your computer screen or desk.
Reason 3: Inspiration fades quickly and motivation diminishes. If you’re like me right now, you’re simply a little tired of eating rich meals and desserts and you’re ready to get back to normal. Many people use this as their motivation for a resolution. However, have you ever stuffed yourself on Thanksgiving and said, “I’m never going to eat again,” only to wake up the next morning and ask, “What’s for breakfast?” I think I have. Which is why I love this quote by the late, great Zig Ziglar: People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing, that’s why I recommend it daily.
Success tip 3: Enlist support. For years, I ran or worked out at the gym by myself, and it wasn’t until I began working with a trainer at the gym that I realized I wasn’t making the most of my exercise time. Having a friend to walk with at lunch, a spouse that’s ready to eat healthier too, someone you can call for support when you’re ready to cave, a trainer to make your workouts more efficient, or even a health coach to hold you accountable are just a few support systems that work.
And as always, if you are ready for support from a health coach, I’d love to have a conversation with you to discuss how working together will help you achieve your goals. A year will go by anyway. Imagine how you could be feeling January 1st, 2014 if you do take that step!
Also, if you normally eat a healthy diet, yet indulged over the holidays, The ClearYou 14-day Detox is something to consider. This is not a juice cleanse or fast. It involves eating real food with additional liver support that cleans all your cells, not just your digestive tract. For this time of year, I’ve added more cold-weather friendly recipes and it includes additional components that address the mental/emotional aspects of detoxing, making it even more effective. Interested? Contact me today to learn how you can get started.
As we enter 2013, my wish for you is that you allow yourself to receive peace, happiness, abundant good health, and prosperity for this year and many to come.
Warm wishes and with much gratitude,