New Year’s Resolutions

Make your goal so small that you can't possibly not achieve it.

Join the 8%

About half of all Americans make New Year’s Resolutions, but research shows that only 8% of people will achieve them. Want to stack the odds in your favor this year?

In my work as a Health Coach, I rely heavily on the science of behavior change to help my weight loss patients make major life changes. These are some of the recommendations I make:

 

1. Focus on one thing. Trying to change too many things at once will set you up for failure.

As you choose your New Year’s goal, decide where you want to focus. According to Charles DuHigg, author of The Power of Habit, Why we do What we do in Life and Business, picking a keystone habit can be especially powerful. A keystone habit is one that will naturally influence other areas of your life. An example of a keystone habit is improving your sleep. If you sleep better at night, you will naturally be more productive at work, more likely to have energy to get to the gym and may even see an improvement in libido.

Make your goal a SMART goal: specific, measureable, achievable, relevant and time bound.

 

2. Baby Steps.  Making a resolution that is too big can overwhelm you. 

Make your goal so small that you can’t possibly not achieve it. This builds confidence.  An example of this would be if you have a resolution to do 50 pushups a day, start with just one push up, first thing in the morning. Once you have firmly ingrained that as a habit, add another, or plan to do a single pushup every time you go to the bathroom.

We use this concept in our program every day. Instead of focusing only on your long term weight loss goal, focus on the very next win. You may have 75 pounds to lose but taking off the first 20 is going to feel fantastic. How will you reward yourself? Celebrating the small achievements helps to keep your motivation strong over the long haul. So celebrate those baby steps just like you would a toddler’s first steps. Your success is exciting!

 

3. Gather your allies.  Look at your environment and social networks. 

Get your home, friends and family aligned with you. Build a social support network by telling those who you know will support you. Clear your environment of things that will stand in your way. Planning to quit smoking this year?  Tell your friends, family and colleagues. Seek out a particular accountability buddy, something like an AA sponsor to keep you honest.

As important as building a support system is to your long term success, avoiding triggers is equally important. If your spouse is a smoker, have a serious conversation with them about quitting. If they continue to smoke at home, your likelihood of success is much less.  But maybe your trigger is more personal. If a stressful day would normally have you reaching for a cigarette, look at ways to not only decrease stress in your life but also find healthier ways to cope.

 

4. Use technology.  Set reminders on your phone. Use your calendar. Track your progress.

Your smart phone can be a major ally in your quest to make life change. If you need to increase your water intake, record how much you are drinking a day currently and then log each day into a “water journal”. In this way, you can begin to see correlation between how much water you are drinking and how you feel: less hungry, more energetic, fewer aches and pains. Set a reminder on your phone to go off hourly to remind you to drink water. You can even set your home screen to have a picture of a glass of water (or a beach) to remind you that you need to drink.

 

5. Get back on track if you stumble. An “all or nothing” mentality is harmful.

Change is hard. Old habits are actually deeply embedded neural pathways in your brain. You may be able to build a new habit that will overlay the old, but that old habit will always be there, ready to welcome you home when life’s stressors present themselves. Know when you set out on your journey to change that you will very likely stumble. Be patient with yourself. Be forgiving. Straying from your plans for a day, or even two, does not mean that all is lost. You can start over. For example, research shows that for every time you have tried unsuccessfully to quit smoking in the past, you increase your odds of being successful the next time.

 

At Weight Management @ The Group, we are all about helping you create lasting life change. If you are ready to make that change and finally figure out how to lose the weight and keep it off, then come talk to us. I know you have a lot of options when it comes to weight loss. The one thing that sets us apart from other approaches and programs, is that we help you put all the pieces of the puzzle together.  Our team of professionals is here, waiting for your call. Give us a call today.

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