Losing Steam on New Year's Resolutions?

The brain is hard-wired to resist change. It wants to relax and wallow in familiar routines, which is why it is so difficult to change a habit.

Shifting routines into different choices can be painful. Anyone that has embraced the decision to make change is solidly in the action phase of the stages of change. Usually the anticipation of embracing new directions is enough to carry someone past the first few days, but after a few weeks the excitement has worn off and it becomes far easier to justify dropping the idea and reverting to old habits. Many people may have done well with their resolutions in January but fall off the wagon in February. So, what to do?

Anticipate the situations that will lead to failure Sure, it’s easy to embrace change when things are relaxed, but what happens when someone is tired and stressed? Instead of pretending that life is always perfect, plan for stressful moments before they happen.

Connect to positive emotional motivators

Begin with the statement, “It is important to make this change because…” It isn’t enough to try to lose weight in order to obey a doctor’s orders. However, being able to run around with a beloved grandchild is a very strong positive attractor. Going to the gym because other people do it? Not a compelling reason; but getting stronger to be able to go dancing, or horseback riding, or skiing or traveling, is much more exciting and rewarding.

Make goals public

Scientists know that accountability keeps people on track. Having a friend check in and provide support or encouragement can keep us moving toward goals. Setting up a system of accountability and support sidesteps much of the rationalizing that can de-rail a goal.

 Reward small successes

People like to pretend that behavior can be changed by the idea of one big reward, but it doesn’t work that way. Having small rewards along the way is something to look forward to and keeps the momentum going.

Build the tools to stay on track

Create a vision board or an audio recording of positive affirmations. It’s all about creating a reminder of the reasons and hope for a different way. Think like an engineer: work toward a goal in small, realistic steps. Measure and track progress. Adjust expectations and methods if the progress gets off track.

If it seems like more help is needed, reach out to a professional

Coaches are experts in the art of change. Working with a professional gives people the space and support to follow through on all the concepts outlined above, but it also engages the help of someone that does this every day. Coaches are an invaluable resource for new ideas and hacks that can turn a failed resolution into success. People are more successful when working with a coach because they have “put their money where their mouth is.” It is a deeper, more complete level of commitment. And coaching offers people insight and perspective that can be difficult to achieve when working alone.

A coach can offer ideas for ways of improvement, and they can help people become aware of their blind spots. Having a coach gives the individual a safe place to go and talk through sensitive issues and see the bigger picture. Coaching helps people gain perspective without feeling intimidated.

Don’t get discouraged. Re-focus and re-engage to turn that resolution into an achievement.

Alexia Taylor Eichman coaches for all kinds of success, supporting people to achieve their vision of wellness and a happy life. Connect at Alexia@ONUWell.com or to learn more, visit ONUWell.com.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Boston Retains Top Spot on 2019 City Clean Energy Scorecard

The 2019 City Clean Energy Scorecard, which ranks cities on more than 50 metrics, has again ranked Boston first, earning 77.5 out of a possible 100 points.

Energetic Vibes

Beyond appearances and feel-good body sensations, we can learn to listen to our whole-body intelligence. We can use our body in an integrated way which means that each body part works in harmony with the others.

How to Treat Symptoms of ADD/ADHD via Self-Discovery

Those with ADD/ADHD should work to embrace their unique way of thinking and can gain insight into themselves by employing alternative treatment modalities.

Anxiety and Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback can be used to treat anxiety by targeting neural pathways and encouraging better, more efficient functioning.

When Pets Need Meds

Simple steps pet owners can take to ensure the safety of pets and children around pet medications.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »This Month

Panel to Discuss State of Solar in Massachusetts

The fourth annual Massachusetts State of Solar will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., February 7.

New Options for Sleep Apnea

Patients can be fitted by Yasmin Chebbi, DMD, for a customized oral appliance to treat sleep apnea that is non-invasive, comfortable, well-fitting and covered by insurance.

Petco Only Major Retailer of Pet Food to Not Sell Food and Treats with Artificial Ingredients

Last month, Petco began removing dog and cat foods and treats with artificial ingredients, both from store shelves and e-commerce, with a commitment to complete the process by May.

Dentistry Enhanced by Use of Ozone

Dr. Amparo David is excited to offer what looks to be the future state-of-the- art treatment for her patients: ozone therapy.

Losing Steam on New Year's Resolutions?

The brain is hard-wired to resist change. It wants to relax and wallow in familiar routines, which is why it is so difficult to change a habit.

Local Dietitian Recognized as Healthy Waltham Hero

Healthy Waltham, a nonprofit organization, recognized Bridgitte Carroll, MS, RDN, last fall as a Healthy Waltham Hero.