We all have the best intentions with our new year’s health and wellness resolutions. Next year we’re all going to be a better version of ourselves. So why do these resolutions end up stalling days or weeks later? I will be a bearer of good news. Not all resolutions need to end in frustration and/or failure. The trick is picking the right ones for the right reason.
First, you must take a good, hard look at where you stand on the health and wellness spectrum. Be honest with yourself. Ask, “What will be the consequences if my current lifestyle behaviors remain unchanged?” Knowing where you are can help determine both the route and the time it’ll take to get to your desired destination.
You have to know where you are before you know where you’re going, but you have to also know where you want to end up. If the consequences of your current lifestyle are less than satisfactory, what behaviors do you think you should change? Why? The reason behind the change needs to mean something to you. Many of us want to lose weight, but is it really the weight we want to lose or do we want to; be more attractive to our spouse, have less knee pain, or get down on the floor with our kids/grandkids more easily? In this example, weight loss is just a means to an end. Our initial “why” may just be the first layer of the onion. It is time to peel off a few more layers.
Change has its consequences too, even if they are positive changes. Do the benefits of adopting new behaviors outweigh the loss of giving up the old behaviors? For example, this year you’re planning to get into the gym at 5 am. You know that you’ll see more results from working out than from sleeping in, but what you know doesn’t always translate to what you want. Five ‘o’clock in the morning comes awfully early and may not work for you because, to you, the benefits of the workout do not outweigh the extra sleep, so three workouts a week turn into two and eventually fizzle to none at all. The advantage of the gain must surpass the hardship of the loss.
Change isn’t easy. Regularly remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. Make it your mantra. Visualize the end result. Celebrate small successes on the road to your destination. As long as the reward doesn’t undo the results, go for it. You earned it.
Just remember, you have to have the desire. Why do you want to make this change? You have to make the commitment. How important to you is making this behavioral change? You have to have the ability. How do you see this happening? And keep the destination in your sights. Henry Ford said, “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal”, so don’t take your eyes off your goal.