It’s been one full week in January and most of you who made New Year Resolutions are already feeling failed Don’t feel bad. I think the idea that once a year we decide to change our lives, is a set up for failure. That is why I don’t make New Year resolutions. Resolutions are simply good intentions. We all have them, but putting them into action requires understanding the process of change.
In order to really make a change, you typically go through these stages:
1) Precontemplation-This is the first stage of change. You may not be ready to even tackle something you would like to change. You have not given it much thought. It’s barely on your radar.
2) Contemplation–This is where most New Year resolutions fall. You know something in your life needs to change. For example, you need to drop those 20 pounds and you are thinking about it. But you have no real action steps to make it happen.
3) Preparation–Time to stop thinking and start acting. This means you’ve got to be intentional and develop ways to make changes that are short, behavioral and attainable.
4) Action--This is where the rubber meets the road. You have to behave in different ways. This step of change takes patience, time, energy and commitment. It requires the type of patience that says, if I fall off my change wagon, I get right back up and keep going in the direction I set forth.
5) Maintenance–This is probably the most difficult part of change. Think about this applied to weight loss. Most of us know what to do to lose weight, but keeping it off means preventing relapse and understanding WHY we do what we do. Otherwise, we revert to old behavior. We tend to do what is comfortable, not always the best for us. So if you’ve dropped a few pounds, start thinking about what it will take to keep those pounds off. Will you need to address emotional eating? WIll you need to get in the gym? Will you need to modify food portion? Etc.
If you are not ready to really go through these stages of change, a New Year’s resolution will feel like one more failed attempt that had good intentions behind it. If you are already there, regroup, review what is involved in change and ask yourself, “Am I ready to commit to the process?”
If you need help making changes in your eating, check out Dr. Linda’s Press Pause Before You Eat. Click on the picture above.