NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS by Dr. Dennis Buckley, Health Advantage Physical Medicine
What? New Years resolutions now? The New Year is still three months away. Exactly, and that is why you better start working on it now.
Each year with good intentions we strive to make changes to improve ourselves. “I’m going to eat better. I’m going to start exercising. I’m going to quit smoking. I’m going to (you fill in the blank).”
Most start January 2nd, and have abandoned the project by the end of January. Why? Usually because there have been no results.
New Years Resolutions are made to change something. Usually an outcome such as losing weight, to stop smoking, quit drinking, etc… By focusing on the outcome, at a certain time if that has not manifested we give up. The problem is by focusing on the outcome we have missed the opportunity to change what we need to change, a behavior.
Behavior is basically an outcome of habit or paradigm; how we see the world or function in it. Changing a behavior takes time, about 12 weeks minimum. You need to imprint on your brain a new action that will overwrite the old one. By being consistent with the action, over time you will produce a new outcome.
Take losing weight. That is an outcome. The behavior’s that needs to be changed are usually eating habits and exercise. To change a habit requires consistency and persistence. If your New Years Eve resolution is to lose weight, you need to start October 1st by changing your eating and exercise habits. By doing this, you will have had 12 weeks to imprint a new behavior so that on January 1st you have a new habit in place and will have already seen a change in outcomes.
Usually with a well founded eating and exercise program, by the end of the first 4 weeks people feel better but the weight may have actually gone up. By the end of the 8th weeks small drops in weight may be noticed along with feeling better, clothes fitting differently, sleep is deeper and more restful and self-esteem is elevated. By this time you have made it through Thanksgiving and it was one of the best you can remember. By the end of the 12th week at the Holiday party you will have received your greatest gift. “Hey, have you lost weight? You look great.”
Yes the scale at this time has shown a drop in weight and all the previous improvements continue. In fact, the holiday season was very enjoyable and the stress seemed to be less. You have a new sense of empowering command over your life and your exercise and eating habits are now second nature. You have hit the ground running, and on January 2nd, the New Year resolutions are firmly in place. You now have outcomes you can see and feel and others notice and you are thinking, “This is going to be a great year.”
This principle applies to any goal you may have. First you must change the behavior. Change is instantaneous but the results come later.
So you have an opportunity to get a head start on New Years resolutions that actually might stick and provide for yourself a foundation to not only survive the holidays but to thrive through them. What a great gift to yourself and to your friends and family, a happy healthy you.
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