Don’t make Resolutions. Create Habits.

Did you know that at the end of January, 36 percent of folks with New Year’s resolutions, give up on them? Here’s why:

 1. Vague Resolutions
While it’s fine to want to lose weight, be specific and list how you hope to do that, like “I will eat more vegetables” or “I will eat smaller portions”. These are goals that will lead to weight loss.

2. Lack of Patience
There’s no one-size fits all routine to get over a bad habit or to form a great one. Even if you are a month into your resolution, don’t lose hope if you haven’t conformed as yet. Allow yourself the time to ease into it. Be patient, love yourself and living healthy will become second nature.

3. Not tracking Progress
Evaluating yourself can be scary, which is why many people do not do it. But monitoring your progress, whether it’s by measuring your waistline, stepping on the scale, tracking your workouts, or writing what you eat—can up your chances of following through with the changes you need to make every day.

4. Not Addressing Why You Have Gained Weight In the First Place
To lose weight and keep it off, you have to combat the issues that made you put on an extra few pounds to begin with. This is especially true when it comes to comfort foods, sugars, and certain starches.

5. Start Small
Change one daily routine at a time. Break it down into smaller pieces instead of thinking of attacking one large chunk. If it’s a habit and you want a new one it MUST be something really small. For example, instead of “Get more exercise” choose “Walk 1/3 more than I usually do” or “Take the stairs each morning to get to my office, not the elevator”, or “Have a smoothie every morning with kale in it”. These are relatively small actions.

6. Attach New Action to a Previous Habit
Figure out a habit you already have that is well established, for example, if you already go for a brisk walk 3 times a week, then adding on 10 more minutes to the existing walk connects the new habit to an existing one. The existing habit “Go for walk” now becomes the “cue” for the new habit: “Walk 10 more minutes.” Your new “stimulus-response” is Go For Walk (Stimulus) followed by “Add 10 minutes.” Your existing habit of “walk through door at office” can now become the “cue” or stimulus for the new habit of “walk up a flight of stairs.” Your existing habit of “Walk into the kitchen in the morning” can now be the stimulus for the new habit of “Make a kale smoothie.”

 7. Go Easy
You MUST make the new action EASY to do for at least the first week. Because you are trying to establish a conditioned response, you need to practice the new habit from the existing stimulus from 3 to 7 times before it will “stick” on its own. To help you through this 3 to 7 times phase make it as EASY as possible. Write a note and stick it in your walking shoe that says “Total time today for walk is 30 minutes”. Write a note and put it where you put your keys that says: “Today use the stairs.” Put the kale in the blender and have all your smoothie ingredients ready to go in one spot in the refrigerator.

 

 

Naomi Thommy

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25 Jan, 2017

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