I'm in the business of helping people make positive change in their lives. And I know how hard change can be. So it wasn't surprising to hear my friend say "I refuse to make resolutions. Every year I make them and forget all about my good intentions until December."
Sound familiar? Making resolutions is a popular topic, since it's what we are "supposed" to be doing this time of year. Dreaming up what we want to do better than the year before seems to be an obligation at the end of December.
Let's face it, change is hard. We humans are wired to repeat habituated patterns. BUT, thanks to neuroscience we know that our brains are plastic! That means we are capable of changing. So if you want to see yourself accomplishing something specific this year, I don't think it matters if you call it a resolution or a goal. You just need a plan to support your efforts.
I see positive change happen on a daily basis. My clients who suffer from an eating disorder do some of the toughest and most amazing change work I have ever witnessed. So the ability we have as humans to progress and become healthier, happier, and better is something I believe in!
So here are 6 things I learned to make change stick.
1.Dream big but start small. Choose 1 very very specific thing to work on. When you get good at that one thing, move on to the next.
2. Chart your plan. Once you identify that one small step, think through all the logistical details you need to make it a reality.
3. Be vocal. Let your family and friends know your intentions and how you'd like them to support your efforts.
4. Get support. If you are feeling stuck you may want to consider finding a coach, counselor, therapist, or dietitian.
5. Don't give up! It's hard work re-wiring our brains to stick to new habits. It's consistency that wins the race so stick with it.
6. Reward positive behavior (that helps reinforce those new neural pathways) but not with food!
Wishing you a health, happy, and safe New Year.
Photo Credit: I discovered this photo from my friend and colleague Leslie Schilling's facebook post. Check out her blog- you'll love her sensible and sassy nutrition expertise.
Health selfishness is about becoming clear on what you need, owning what you need whenever possible, and not apologizing for it. In essence, it’s about becoming attuned to your own sense of what is right for you . And the really amazing thing is that when you are attuned and responsive to your own needs, your capacity to give to others grows.
It may be helpful for us to break this down into categories. And when you are a tad OCD like me, breaking things down into categories always feels like the right thing to do! Let’s think about your wellness in three areas: physical, mental, emotional. You can imagine them like a Venn diagram because they are separate but have areas of overlap.
In order for you to become more clear about ways you need a little more healthy selfishness in your life, consider answering the following questions:
1. When it comes to my physical, mental, or emotional health what do I need more/less of?
2. What would it require for me to get more/less of that thing?
3. Am I willing to take what it requires?
4. If I have trouble justifying it for myself, would I think it seemed reasonable for someone else?
I’ll share with you one example but this type of “taking stock” can work in any area of your life. I’ll stick with food and eating since that’s what I know best!
1. I need to take 20 min and eat a balanced lunch during the day.
2. When I’m swamped at work, it may require keeping a co-worker waiting. At home, it may require me taking a break from paying attention to my kids.
3. Hmm, I’m not sure if it’s worth it. If I stop and eat I may feel like I’m losing time but there is a chance that having brain fuel will actually allow me to be more productive at work and may also prevent the frenetic snacking that happens in the late afternoon. I’ll try it out once this week so I can better assess the pros and cons of taking more time for myself.
4. Yes, I think it would be reasonable for pretty much anyone to stop for 20 min during the day and eat.
There seems to be a pretty consistent theme that I'm discussing with all of my clients...the holidays. There are so many wonderful things about the holiday season. But let's be honest, it's also a stressful time of year. And if you're struggling with food and feelings about your weight, it can all feel a bit overwhelming.
But rather than thinking about what you should/should not eat, can/cannot have, consider the Intuitive Eater's Holiday Bill of Rights. What do you need to feel peace about food and your body during the holidays? Take some time to think about that question for yourself.
Marci's Holiday Bill of Rights:
- I claim the right to enjoy the foods I love and pass on the things I don't
- I claim the right to sleep for more than 8 hours while on vacation
- I claim the right to take a break from family time in order to exercise, read, or do what I need to feel good
- I claim the right to laugh....a lot, which is always the best form of therapy. :)
I'm eager to hear what you're health "rights" are during the holidays.