Making a change for the better at the start of the new year can be a fantastic thing for your health, with aims such as quitting smoking, joining the gym and cutting out chocolate probably high up on the average list! Think about it, if you started making new years resolutions at the age of 18, and successfully followed through each year, the list of lifetime achievements could be amazing! However many people either don’t make new years resolutions, or start them but at some point lose momentum, and ‘fail’…
And there lies the downfall with the new years resolution – people are setting themselves up for failure most of the time. ‘I’m never eating chocolate again’, ‘I’m going to the gym 5 times a week this year’ and many other claims you will no doubt hear from friends, co-workers and family! But with those targets, the moment you slip up by missing a gym session or indulging in some Lindt chocolate balls (other chocolates are available…) a part of your mind thinks ‘I’ve not achieved my target I might as well forget the whole thing’, and then you go back to how you were last year – maybe until the next new years resolution where you might try again with the same or a slightly different tactic.
The ‘new month resolution’ resolution approach:
Personally, I don’t want to wait each year to try and rectify a mistake ormake a change! At the start of each month I think about how everything is for myself and my family at the moment, and what I WANT to change. I will put them in an order and choose my target for the next month. I will also review what changes I have made in the past; do I need to start any of them again from where I ‘failed’, and if so how will I change it this time. Once a change has become so routine that I don’t even think about it in my list, then it is a habit – and that is the main aim. Habits are much simpler to keep, its a habit!
Here are some tips on making successful changes in terms of a healthier lifestyle:
– Make three lists (either on paper or in your head). The first is everything that you are doing now that makes up your health plan i.e. getting 5 veg a day. The second is list of things you could stop doing because you know they are unhealthy. And finally the third list includes things you want to start doing /add in for your health. These are all your possible targets to change and from your lists you can choose something to either modify (list one), remove (list two) or add in (list three).
– Don’t set yourself up to fail! Pick something from the list that is attainable and that you know you have a chance of changing.
– Add, don’t take away. If you are changing your diet for example, it is much easier to add something in that is healthy, rather that eliminating food groups all together.
– Have a good support network – If you are training for a marathon but have a slight niggle in your back or knee, then see your Chiropractor at the clinic to make sure it isn’t going to be an injury that stops you from achieving your goal!
– Use stepping stones. Using sugar as an example, the goal might be to eliminate it from your diet. If you know going cold turkey is going to be too hard, step one might be to reduce to 1 teaspoon of sugar as opposed to 2. Or you may want to change from white to brown organic sugar. Or add a healthy sweetener such as agave or stevia (nothing containing aspartame). You can then make that change easier, and address the next step whenever you are ready.
– Review what you have achieved and tried in the past. If you didn’t manage something, think about how you can change your approach this time so you can succeed.
– Only change something that you want to change. If you aren’t ready to change it either think about what that reason is, or modify the change to make it easier i.e. using the stepping stone approach.
– Add to your list! There is a 4th list, which includes everything that you don’t know YET: this includes all things you could be adding in to your diet or lifestyle to make it better, and all the things you are doing now which you could stop, or modify, to become a healthier version of yourself
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