Posted By Peter Fifield,
Monday, January 11, 2010
Updated: Thursday, June 2, 2011
| Comments (2)
During New Year's Day the media was so inundated with Resolution
oriented commercials you could almost see the affirming banners of
declaration whizzing by your head--"Quit smoking now" or "Lose that
weight you always wanted to" were repeated ad-nauseum. Although the
barrage was inexorable, there was good reason for the timing of it
all-to take advantage of a state of readiness; regardless of how
fleeting it may be. Everyone has good intentions around this time of
year, what we need help with is follow-through. And now that we are
into the second week of the New Year I thought it would be good to check
in on the progress.
If you (or a patient you work with) have yet to make a resolution (or maybe better yet an Intention), now is the time! If you find yourself a bit stuck, find one here.
If you already have a goal in mind but have yet to make the first
move, following these suggestions could help with new found success.
Make goals that are measurable. It is extremely
difficult to gauge vagueness. A goal such as "I want to eat better" is
much more difficult to measure than "I am going to eat four servings of
vegetables each day".
Use a chart to mark your progress. There are many
websites that offer exercise charts for tracking progress. Many offer
free workout trackers and calorie charts. Sometimes the visual nature
of a chart assists with sustaining motivation.
Set obtainable goals. We tend to get overzealous with
our resolutions and in doing so we often set ourselves up for failure.
If you are a person that has not exercised since last Thanksgiving
(2008), you may not want to commit to the next Ironman qualification.
Start slow and build up to where you want to be. Pushing too hard too
fast could lead to significant discomfort and, masochists' aside, this
pain makes it unlikely we return to the gym for round two. The key is
to strike a balance where goals are obtainable yet also expand our
Stay positive! As it is now the second week of January
2010, 44% of you who committed to quit smoking, have already met some
sort of set back in obtaining your goal, mainly you started smoking
again. Do not let this discourage you. Re-evaluate and modify your
goals to be slightly more obtainable and try again.
Make your goals known. More often than not, women are
more successful when announcing their objectives to someone...anyone.
Regardless of your gender, losing anonymity begets accountability and
thus, we tend to be more successful with sustaining change.
Provide a reward system and keep it fun! Not all
behavior change has to be miserable. Creating a reward system for
adherence to change can add a sense of enjoyment to the process.
Basically if we do not enjoy doing it, we typically don't do it again.
Try to make at least some change. For some
individuals, quitting smoking outright is not something they wish to do
but committing to "reduce the number of cigarettes smoked per day by
1/3" is a step in the right direction. This harm reduction model can be
used towards many different goals; calorie reduction, cutting down on
alcohol or increasing exercise are some examples.
One definition of insanity is to try the same thing over and over
again and expect a different result. True second order change (not doing
more of the same) can prove to be difficult. If you have tried over
and over to change a certain behavior, maybe your approach is wrong.
Following one or more of the aforementioned steps may be all you need to
create "real" change. What is needed may be a completely different
approach to the solution-not the problem (more on that later). Remember
success is often achieved when we make small changes that lead to a
healthier lifestyle rather than by making temporary accommodations to
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