Ok, it is that time again. We are all coming up with some incredibly breakable New Year’s Resolutions! The problem is that we all too often make resolutions that are extreme, such as “I will lose ten pounds in the first two weeks of January” which of course starves you and makes you miserable. So you bag the whole thing, feeling like a failure. lol
Or we join the gym, go faithfully for two weeks, then stop going, and pay every month but rarely show up, which makes us miserable as well!
So what is the problem?
We need to make one small change at a time. Studies show that it takes a minimum of 21 days for a new habit to solidify, to become a stable routine. So I suggest to my clients that they make a list of twelve changes to their lifestyle that they would like to make- one for each month of the new year.
For example, instead of blithely and dramatically announcing to yourself and the world that you are going to lose 5 pounds a month, it works much better to decide on a rational and achievable change to your normal eating patterns. Perhaps you decide to make your twice weekly french fry order a monthly event! Or perhaps you decide to stop eating bread with meals. Perhaps you decide to only have dessert on Saturdays. You get my drift.
With each month that you have become accustomed to a change, you add a new one. So, although this does not show dramatic results right away, look at this as a lifestyle change. Again, research shows that lifestyle changes are the answer, not diets or dramatic sudden changes which shock the system and tend to fail.
Maybe you don’t want or need to lose weight, but want to increase exercise. I suggest you do not join a gym with an eye to working out an hour 4 times a week. Make a plan you can keep to, so that at the end of January you feel pleased and proud that you have achieved what you set out to. Start simply. Decide on something you can do, such as 10 each of five different exercises when you get up each day. For example, you might do 10 sit ups, 10 push ups, 10 side bends, 10 leg raises and 10 toe touches. The second month make this fifteen of each every morning. Third month join the gym and go twice a week for 45 minutes.
You have to sneak up on yourself! Do what you will succeed at, even if it is small at first. You may even surprise yourself and speed up your initial plan do to your increasing success. And boy does that feel good!
I have one client who did very well with small increases to her exercise, small changes to diet, and small reduction in smoking. By the end of the year she had lost 20 pounds, had stopped smoking, and was walking half an hour every day. had she decided to do all those things in the firstonth, I doubt she would have succeeded.
And most importantly, she had made lifestyle changes that had become routine.
I wish you luck with your resolutions, and a very Happy and Healthy 2016 to you all!