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New Years Resolutions : Do they Work?

New Years Resolutions  So its a new year and the resolutions will be flying about all over the place. For me its the same one every year, no alcohol for January as a minimum and after that see how long we can last in abstention. This started would you believe 30 years ago this year and has been broken only once ( blame some fog, a fear of flying and a 4 hour delay in Amsterdam was also on the 28th of the month so it was four actual weeks which is kind of a month.)..I digress but it can be done.

I pick only ONE target and stick to it, this has meant over the years going to weddings and not even toasting the bride ( water just doesn't do it) , avoiding alcohol situations ( pubs, meals out , ) etc etc, its not been easy, temptation is always there, but I have been immensley proud of my achievements. During the period of abstention I become a bit of a preacher man , telling all and sundry that I am on a " mission" , I use this as a sort of reinforcement mechanism, reminds me and makes me sort of accountable to the person I am talking with.

Now back to you, I am not that interesting ! What is it about a date on a calendar ,in this case 1st January that sets people off in a frenzy of health related thoughts and activities. The gym owners  love January, the regular gym devotees hate the month, it lasts around 3 months , the persons resolutions wither and off they go, usually paying for a gym they aren't using for months after. I think I once read that by March only 5 % of January joiners are still going to the gym more than once a week, a massive 80% weren't going at all.

I have alluded to this elsewhere but for me its about behavioural change  and not about outcome goals, does anyone think that joining  a gym  ensures results ? So setting yourself a weight loss target is less of a good idea than setting yourself a goal of "attending" the gym 3  times per week and adding one extra hour of sleep per night ( the idea being that a change in behaviours will produce outcomes)

However,  change is difficult people , I hear all the time how much " I want to lose weight" , " I want to get fit (whatever that means ) again"  everyone resists change , even though going to the gym 3 times a week looks easy on paper trust me its not. If you are currently not going to the gym at all suddenly trying to attend 3 times a week is a big ask, HUGE...and what happens is people find themselves missing the target weekly, this causes stress and in turn opens up the " I am defeated " trapdoor and they drop off the wagon completely....A simple suggestion is to find some one to act as a coach to help you set up realistic expectations for you and to help you when things go wrong . All successful people have or have had coaching at some level . You may just make yourself accountable to a friend, show them your " goals" and ask them or indeed many people to check in on you periodically. You could do this via Facebook for example , there are other support group structures out there if you look around...

So stop asking yourself " why " questions because they don't have answers, asking " what  questions " ....for example " why don't I exercise more"? becomes " what can I do to exercise more"?...and if you find yourself " falling off " the path, wipe that slate clean in your head, refocus, change paths if necessary , get your support on your side  and get back on the path. A recent book by Ali Zentner, " The Weight Loss Prescription " is well worth a read.