New Year’s resolutions are interesting, because most people do not ever stick to them. In fact the actual percentage is roughly around 7%. Most people go right back to their old ways within the first two weeks of the New Year.
The most common resolutions people make are to eat healthier, go on a diet, lose weight and exercise more. The problem with these resolutions is that we are setting ourselves up for failure because it’s next to impossible to change a lifetime of so-called bad habits overnight.
Most studies say it takes anywhere from 28 to 32 days to break a habit. I tend to agree. I lead clients through 30-day food-based cleanses that help them to change their lifestyle through repetition and support.
After 30 days they are ready to continue the lifestyle and take it forward because they had support and were provided with the tools to get them there. There are no gimmicks, or quick fixes; they put in the time, day after day to make small changes that last long term.
The reason why so many resolutions fail is because we are not given the proper tools or support to make the big changes we want, or to break those habits our little ego loves to hold on to.
The ego hates change, even though it’s the one thing that is constant in our life, so it will do everything it can to sabotage those lofty resolutions of yours.
Consistency and repetitiveness create new neural pathways in our brain, but consistency is the key word here. We have to practice, and we have to stick to these new thoughts or ideas we have and put action to them each day. If we don’t, they will disappear before we know it. The result – no lost pounds, skipping the gym and continuing to eat bad food.
Resolutions also result in a lot of pressure and sometimes stress. Pressure to follow through, which can cause stress in our daily lives. Pressure to change drastically, which can happen, but not without a big commitment, some support, the proper tools and a lot of follow through.
I vow never to make resolutions anymore because I know myself well enough to know that I will not follow through with such drastic measures. Now I focus on what I want to create and how I want to feel.
For example, healthy eating is a way of life for me. It is a non-negotiable. I very rarely ever stray from it. This took years of practice and a huge commitment on my part, but I wanted it because I knew how important it was to me. It didn’t happen overnight, and I didn’t expect it to. It wasn’t a New Year’s Resolution, although I made enough of them in my life to know that resolutions were not the solution I needed.
I knew that what I needed was education, support, knowledge and experimentation. I did all of these, and what I found is that doing things one way, as a lot of resolutions are structured, doesn’t work. It’s about stepping out of the norm, being different and not setting yourself up for failure by putting a monkey on your back, whatever that may be.
“I’m going to lose 20 lbs in 6 weeks,” is next to impossible, yet tons of people make this resolution each year. How about shifting it to, “I intend to eat clean healthy foods 80% of the time that fuel my body so it can find its own natural weight?” This “resolution” gives you some wiggle room and allows you to have freedom to experiment.
So, how will you shift your resolutions this year so that you can feel good moving forward? So you can feel a sense of freedom instead of dread? Maybe you can take the pressure off and vow to take one small step each day toward what you want to attain. Focus on what you do want, not what you don’t want.
Happy New Year!
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Melissa Costello is a personal chef, wellness coach and nutrition educator. Check out her website here.