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How to Support Long Lasting Healthy Changes

Change is of course uncomfortable, disruptive and even painful at points and who has time for that? While we have all heard change is inevitable that doesn’t make it anymore easier to accept at times, even if it is a change we know deep down is good for us.

When it comes to resolutions though how do we actually beat the odds and see them progress and be achieved? Is it even possible to be a winner at resolution or are we just wasting our time in setting them?

In my opinion, if resolutions were truly unachievable they wouldn’t be needed. Yet year after year we set them, sometimes the same one every year with the lofty hopeful wish that this year will be different.

So, why not make that this year?

But, we are naturally change resistant.

I believe this struggle with change can be one of the leading reasons we find things like resolutions, specifically those working with our health, so difficult to keep up. It is not that we don’t think they are important or even worth the work but rather we are not setup well to include these changes in our life and they can be rather disruptive.

Prime example is the gym membership for a resolution that said we were going to work out multiple times a week. By about week 3, we are sore, tired, hangry, and stressed. We take a night off and then it becomes two and then its a couple weeks. We struggle to return, fit it in our schedule and soon the gyms are back to their normal crowds by February. Happens every single year too.

It is not that we don’t have a great resolution or didn’t start out pushing hard at it. The problem is we thought we could layer it into our already busy life and it would sort itself out how we would achieve that resolution. Our daily life though with all it’s to-dos, deadlines, and mom taxi routes, didn’t just make room for that resolution. So we try getting up at 5AM and find that just adding another thing to do in an already very busy long day doesn’t work for long either. Not to mention

it’s very dark and cold at 5AM in January and who wants to be out in that going to the stinky gym?

How do we achieve our resolutions?

If we had to name the number one barrier to achieving any health goal, from losing weight to just feeling better, I know I would say stress. You probably would too. We have busy lives, stuff to do and people depending on us to get it all done. It is not just with resolutions this happens to but every Monday diet we start and every health change we want to make.

The ability to recognize stress and actively do something to manage it, can seem daunting. We so often feel powerless against all the things that cause our daily stress. Yet it is in this very situation we can find out best solutions to not only reducing stress but making progress on resolutions and health goals.

When I work with clients on improving health or dealing with a health concern, I start with their intake assessment. On this very lengthy form I ask a lot of questions about what happens in that person’s day. It is in that information the common theme of stress pops up easily. Yet when I ask about stress the typical answer is it’s just adulting or it’s not that bad.

Until we get honest about the stress, no amount of pushing harder to fit it all in will make those results appear or make us healthier and happier in the long run.

Stress management has to be part of our plan for better. This means more than just blocking our calendar to make time too. It is an action plan that deals with:

  • How we will handle the tough days and struggle to keep up

  • What we will do when we’re tired and need a break

  • Where we will get support and help

  • What are plan b is when things in our life get turned upside down (because they will)

Looking through the wide-lens on resolutions

The other part of making successful resolutions is our ability to be willing to look at them past January. Mapping our journey by week, month, quarter and half-yea