As 2016 approaches and the holiday feasting is over, many people make commitments to lose weight, exercise more, and get healthier. Old cliche, right?
Then something happens.
New job, stress, a hamburger, martini, a personal crisis, the list goes on…
By February, ~90% of people lose sight of their goals and forget they made commitments to their health in the first place.
In this blog, I will outline why most people fail to keep their resolutions and what steps they can take to empower themselves and make positive changes — for good!
- Willpower is a limited resource.
When we set goals and commit to changes that are very different to what we do in our every day lives, we are relying on a very limited resource: willpower. Willpower takes A LOT of energy, and when combined with decreasing our energy intake & exercising, becomes an almost impossible feat. We are working AGAINST our bodies, our brains, and our emotional wellbeing.
It makes sense that we can only commit to such changes and energy drain for a few weeks at a time. And after we give it our all? We are left exhausted, craving energy, and feeling defeated. A viscious cycle that some know all too well as “yo-yo dieting”.
- Following diet or exercise programming that isn’t tailored to YOU.
Most people hear about diets that worked for other people and immediately jump on board.
“If it works for them, it works for me… right?…”
We are all so different. We have different life circumstances. Different stressors. Different physiologies. Different emotional roadblocks. Different personalities.
These are all extremely important to address when making changes to the way we relate to food. Following someone elses blueprint for dieting & exercise is like following someone’s career path and expecting it to work for you… Even though they are an accountant and you are an artistic extrovert that is bad at numbers.
- Making lofty goals without planning all of the small steps.
Have you really planned out every step you need to take or are you just winging it? Even if you do take the time to create a detailed plan, do you know yourself well enough to plan for emotional roadblocks, crisis, and what is best for your physiology?
What about planning for the LONG HAUL and not just those 20-30 pounds?
Are you giving yourself enough time to change?
Are you considering how difficult it can be to make changes and how that may impact other areas of your life?
These are a few of the q’s that most people don’t ask themselves.
When people set to make goals without becoming very specific about the steps in between and how the integrate with who we are, it is setting people up for guesswork, frustration, and again, relying on willpower and potentially harmful information.
- We are experts at lying to ourselves.
In social psychology, we know that simply signing up for a program or writing down a goal makes us feel a little jolt of “good job, I’m taking a step”… but really, we take these steps as a way to make us feel better without putting in the real work.
Most of us lie to ourselves, whether it’s about weight, spending, what we want in life, how great our partner is, how great we are at something… the list goes on. It’s engrained in us as a way to protect our selves (our egos) but really, it’s a HUGE roadblock in getting honest with ourselves and holding ourselves accountable. Most people struggle to do this on their own.
It takes a lot of courage and honesty to be where you are, and accept that this whole health change is going to take time, some inward looking, and hard work. And that you CAN do it.
The biggest lie we tell ourselves is that, “we can’t” or “don’t have time”.
- Different personalities stay motivated for different reasons.
There’s a great quiz a friend of mine recommended to me by Gretchen Rubin that every person setting a goal would benefit from taking: https://gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2014/03/quiz-are-you-an-upholder-a-questioner-a-rebel-or-an-obliger/
We all have different things that motivate us. For the rebel, it could be as simple as changing our language, rather than, “I can’t have that donut”… think, “I don’t want to have that donut”. For an obliger, they may need others to hold them accountable so that they won’t let them down. A questioner may need scientific proof that an approach will work, and an upholder may need rules, habits, and structure.
Knowing our personalities and ultimately ourselves, is key to creating successful changes and staying motivated along the way.
Now that we know all the reasons we DON’T keep our health new years resolutions, what can we do to change it?
Seek help and support in the right places. Find a health coach, therapist, dietitian, or supportive group that will keep you accountable. Dig deep to find your “bigger whys”, and safely face the obstacles that got you to where you are in the first place.
In working with me, I help people make small, lasting changes that make sense with their lifestyles, personalities, and who they are. I help people think through how and why they are where they are and help them unravel the obstacles that hold them back from living a healthy life. No extreme diets, no one-size-fits-all, just REAL sustainable results that transform people’s relationship with food.
If you or a loved one is seeking to make long-term changes, it is time for you to do something different this year and invest in yourself. I work on a sliding scale to make my services affordable for people of all backgrounds.
My one requirement? You must be ready to do something different, be honest, and commit to the patience and work that will create lasting changes.
Call Real Life Counseling today to set up a free initial consult at (316) 425 – 7774 and visit http://www.rlcwichita.com/
You can also e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.
Wishing you growth & health in 2016,