January 2, 2016

Going The Distance

By Barry Rudesill

It's now 2016 and, if you're like 45% of the country, you have some New Year's Resolutions. According to statisticbrain.com, the top five resolutions are:

  • #5 - Stay Fit / Healthy
  • #4 - Enjoy Life
  • #3 - Spend Less / Save More
  • #2 - Get Organized
  • #1 - Lose Weight

Of the 45% of people who make New Year's Resolutions, only around 8% of the people will actually succeed. To put that into perspective, 45 out of 100 people make resolutions each year, but less than four people will actually see them through! And yet, despite this failure rate, people still try.

The questions is...why? Why do people start out with good intentions and then fail? Why do people make promises to themselves that they don't keep? Even more importantly, if our health and happiness are important to us, why don't we take the steps necessary to see it through?

Everybody will tell you that losing weight, saving money, staying healthy, getting organized and enjoying life are important things. We know that if we're unhealthy, overworked and overdrawn that life can be very tough. The worries that come with doctor's visits, long hours and attempting to stretch money can make every day stressful. It's hard to enjoy life if we're living just for the day-to-day.

So why do we do it? It comes down to what we believe to be important!

I may WANT to lose weight, but if I keep buying chocolate-covered cherries, it's going to be very, very difficult. My want for chocolate conflicts with my want for healthy eating! Which one wins? Unfortunately the want that was there first: chocolate. It takes a real effort of will to actually make the change that I want to see. And change is hard…

This year, if it's important enough for you to begin, we want you to succeed! To do that, you need to replace the old habits and reactions with new ones. The simplest tool to help you “succeed” at your New Year's Resolutions is: baby steps! (Sorry, were you expecting something more profound?) Let me explain:

My goal for this year is to lose 20 pounds. It's a BIG goal, especially for a chocoholic!

First, I'm starting small. Instead of focusing on losing 20 pounds, my goal is to focus on losing around 1.5 pounds per month. For those of you who like math, it means that I have to lose around 1/3 of a pound per week. To do that, I need to eat about 250 calories less and walk about 20 minutes per day three times a week. Instead of focusing on 20 pounds – which is BIG – I need to focus daily on the little steps needed to make it possible. To reach your New Year's Resolution goals, aim small! Big is overwhelming; small steps are doable.

Second, I'm getting help. There's a free app called “My Fitness Pal” which helps me to track calories. Now, instead of guessing how I'm doing, I get feedback. If I enter the information, it tells me how I'm doing and helps me to adjust accordingly. If you can get someone or something that gives you feedback on a consistent basis you're more likely to make your goals.

Finally, I will celebrate my victories. If I go to an all-you-can-eat buffet (pronounced “Hu Hots”) and cram in ten pounds of food, I'm more likely to quit my resolution. Why? Because it's so easy to focus on my failure! But one event, one time does NOT mean I've lost! It means that I have an opportunity to learn. If I know that I'm going to overdose on Mongolian BBQ, then either I have to work harder that week to make up for it or I need to decide if Hu Hots is where I need to be. Either way, it's not a loss; it's an opportunity to choose differently next time.

If I even change my behavior one time, it IS a victory because for one moment I did NOT react in the way I always did! One step, the first of many, leads to big changes in my behaviors/habits later on.

This year, it's time to go the distance.  We're cheering for you!

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