Sometimes it’s easy to give up on a new year’s resolution because it’s just too difficult to keep going in a new direction.

Forty-one years ago, I quit smoking, cold turkey from a 2 pack a day habit to zilch. My friends thought I’d never be able to quit. They had seen me quit so many times. I was always throwing out a half a pack of cigarettes and swearing I was quitting.

Until the next time.

I guess the same thing goes if you are trying to lose weight, make more money, quit drinking or treating your partner better. We are pretty smart. Really. We know what’s going to kill us. We know how to make a good decision. We realize that 6th donut, or the 3rd martini, or compulsive shopping are not the ways to reach our goals. Those habits aren’t healthy from any perspective. So why do we do them?

We do them because:

  1. We get immediate gratification.
  2. It’s a knee jerk reaction to stress.
  3. Somehow it brings us temporary comfort.
  4. Maybe we really don’t believe the research.
  5. We don’t have a good enough “why.”

So what can we do?

  1. We need to embrace the bigger picture. Begin to focus on long-term goals. Where do you want to be in a year’s time, or 10 years? Is what you are doing in this moment contributing to detracting from that goal? If you want to live till you are 100 and every time you reach for that extra piece of chocolate cake, you increase your chances of diabetes, heart attack, or obesity, you are working against your goal. Yes, one pound does count.
  2. We need to recognize what our stress triggers are and identify healthy alternative coping mechanisms. We need to replace unhealthy behaviors with healthier alternatives. Instead of one more drink, have a sparkling water. Instead of lashing out in anger, take a deep breath.
  3. What bring you comfort is dependent of how you think about that. Are what we have traditionally considered comfort foods or stress reducers are likely to cause our death, how is that comforting? Find truly healthy ways to feel comforted. Get a massage, take a walk, deep breathing or relaxation exercises.
  4. Yes research can be full of conflicting reports, but you have a sense for what is good for your body and mind and what is not. Stop depending on others to determine how you will feel, think, or act. Take responsibility for your life.
  5. Find a good reason. My reason for quitting smoking, after so many halfhearted attempts is that I wanted to get pregnant and have a healthy baby. Boom. Discussion over. She is now 40. Good decision. Done. What is your compelling “why?”

Plan your resolutions in do-able steps. Share your intention with a trusted friend. Once you say it out loud, you create accountability. Maybe create a friendly competition for dropping unwanted pounds or making more money. Celebrate small successes. Have alternative thought processes and behaviors in place. Where all our emotions and actions begin is in your mind. And that, you can change at any moment.

WOUld love for you to share your experiences below in the comments section.

 

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