New Year New You?

After every New Year celebrations come the ubiquitous resolutions. ‘I will be more healthy’ or ‘I will stop smoking’.

But why is it so necessary to make these decisions at a time when we invariably are sick of over-eating and misbehaving?

Of course our will power is at it’s greatest when we feel as big as a house post-Christmas gluttony. What of a few days/weeks down the line? Once normality hits and we go back to our usual routines and habitual behaviours we find those New Years Resolutions have been all but forgotten.

I’m not saying Resolutions are a bad thing. Far from it, the New Year can provide an ideal opportunity to put into place those changes that we badly need. I do however think it important to have an understanding of the motivations that drive such life decisions. By understanding why we want to make any changes we can anticipate potential obstacles, for example why we might not want to make the change.

Such hidden obstacles may seem irrational, however they are a very common phenomenon in any behaviour change. When losing weight it is not uncommon for individuals to self-sabotage in some way because they don’t feel they deserve to reach their ideal weight. Perhaps they don’t believe that they are attractive and so must stay over-weight to prove so.

When we look at the reasons why change is being sought, we can also look at how realistic such beliefs are. Changing a belief from ‘I am fat and ugly’ to ‘I am beautiful and deserve to feel beautiful’ significantly increases any chance of permanent behaviour change.

It is also essential to check how realistic the goal is. If your intention is to lose 5 stone in as many weeks, chances are that you are setting yourself up for failure. Again, why are such unrealistic goals being made? Occasionally it is our subconscious way of proving our own ineffectiveness.

‘Even when I try really hard, I still can’t do it!’

Setting realistic, achievable (and maybe challenging) goals also significantly increases chances of success as well as feelings of pride and well-being.

So how are your resolutions going? If you’re struggling, perhaps it’s time to reassess.

Happy New Year.

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