Here we are in the midst of the holiday season. It is a time of overeating, under exercising, and stressing out for most of us. Meanwhile, you are looking to next year and really want to make it count.
If you are reading this article, chances are you have decided to give your health and wellbeing more focus in 2019. Read on to learn a few science-backed techniques to help you make a lasting lifestyle change for the better.
Why do New Year’s Resolutions Often Fail?
There are several reasons why resolutions are usually doomed from the start. However, it isn’t the commitment to make a change that usually fails us. Instead, three common mistakes account for repeated efforts to make change that don’t last beyond January:
Unrealistic Goal Setting
Research has demonstrated that goal setting can be an important part of making changes towards a healthier lifestyle. In that sense, a New Year’s Resolution is definitely a chance to set some goals which could lead to overall health and wellbeing.
However, as is all to frequently the case, many of us are unrealistic about the goals we set. It is always easier to think about change than to actually make change in our lives. This is particularly true for so many of us that are stretched thin with busy work, school, and family lives.
If you have a track record of failing to meet your New Year’s resolutions in the past, take a moment to look at the goals you set for yourself. Were they unrealistic? If so, you may have set yourself up for failure. Learn from that and take a different approach this year.
You Lack the Right Support
Personal change requires the support of family and friends. In some cases, getting some experts on board can give you both accountability as well as the knowledge base to make sure you put your energy into the right kinds of changes.
Consider talking with your support network about your wellness goals for 2019 so you can get them on board. Talk about strategies to help you succeed such as joining you for a walk in the evening or joining you for a vegetarian dish for dinner once a week.
In addition, maybe it is time to get an expert in holistic wellness on your team. Consider booking a free consultation with a chiropractor to help you identify the small changes that can make the biggest impact on your wellness journey in 2019.
Past Failure Can Hold You Back
Many of us have tried and failed to make realistic changes to our diet and exercise program that lasted. Over time, repeated failures leave us more open to getting discouraged. It can be depressing and even make our health worse to focus on failure.
Instead, let’s turn our attention to ways to make this year different by staying focused on success and accomplishment rather than defeat.
How to Make Your New Year’s Resolution Successful
An optimistic state of mind has been linked to better emotional and physical health outcomes. In addition, we all know that a can-do attitude helps us accomplish our goals no matter what they are. We also know that optimism is learned behavior. Some people pick it up from their parents, while others learn how to stay positive from facing and overcoming hardships in their life.
So, the first change you can make in terms of making your 2019 New Year’s resolution stick is to adjust your attitude to a positive one. The second is to set yourself up for success. Here are some tips:
Add Instead of Subtract
Many people make the mistake of framing wellness goals in terms of what they will have to subtract from their lives. The obvious examples are restrictive diets which ask you to give up calories or even forego entire food groups.
This is called the “deficit” model of health. It rarely works. Instead, try something different. What can you add to your life that will boost your overall physical and psychological well-being in the new year?
This year, I am going to ADD:
- One meal a week packed with veggies, quality protein, and healthy fats.
- One 5 minute walk on my lunch break every day at work.
- One outdoor excursion on the local trails with my dog each week.
- Enjoy a weekly dance class.
- Book an appointment with a holistic health provider, such as a chiropractor.
- Do one fun activity that involves movement with the kids each weekend.
Notice how adding, rather than subtracting, can add to your overall health? Every time you add something healthy, whether it be a good meal or an opportunity to move, you are by default crowding out the unhealthy behaviors. This is how to make a lifestyle change that can stick!
Set Yourself Up for Success
You may have looked at the list in the previous section and thought “Yeah! I can do all of those things!” But hang on a second…remember what we learned in the first section about how setting the bar to high is a recipe for failure?
Instead, choose two small changes (one food, one movement) that use the additive framework that you KNOW you can implement. Set the bar low. Really, really, low. What you will find is that when you set yourself up to succeed, no matter how small the gain, it has a cumulative effect.
After one month of successfully adding your first healthy lifestyle changes, you are ready to add another set. Make your extra healthy meal a twice a week routine or add parking further from the office to your daily routine.
Keep your additions small, additive, and realistic. Now you are building on success!
Take Time to Feel Good
Long range goals are fine to have, but your brain/body connection is happening on a smaller scale – literally right now. If you want behavior to become a healthy habit, it is important to regularly reward yourself for the kind of actions that are bringing your health into alignment.
What you want to do is focus on the pleasures and benefits of your healthy activities while you are doing them. This helps to boost the endorphins associated with the activity, literally training your brain to look forward to those actions.
Take time to be mindful and present when you are engaging in your healthy addition each day. Here is what that might look like:
Take pleasure in your healthy meal addition. Savor the flavor, chew slowly, and really taste your delicious food. Notice the way you feel during and after your meal. Bring your mind to the moment and allow yourself to feel good about the gift you are giving your body right now. Evidence shows that such mindful eating practices can contribute to attaining larger health goals.
During your added movement, take the time to get present with your body. Feel the blood rushing to all of your extremities bringing the natural healing powers of the blood to each area of your body. Notice the mood boost you get during and after physical activity. When you wake up the next morning feeling refreshed, take a moment to realize that your movement from the day before has many health benefits beyond the narrow goals of weight or body shape.
Take Action TODAY
You can make 2019 YOUR year for a lifestyle shift towards your ultimate wellness goals. Why not take action today?
Use an additive framework and set yourself up for success by agreeing to one very small food and activity addition to your regular routine. Focus on feeling good while you do it to boost the mind/body connection and deepen wellness as a healthy habit.
You can do one more thing to make your resolution really count this year: Get an expert on your side to help you identify your wellness priorities and help make sure your central nervous system is working to help, rather than hinder, your health goals.
If you live in the St. Louis, Glen Carbon / Edwardsville area, give D. Thad Vuagniaux of the Upper Cervical Care of Glen Carbon a call today at 618-692-6992. Our initial consultation is free. Our doctors will approach your health with the same care and attention as we would our own loved ones. Your ready for a change, and we are here to help!