With the New Year approaching, many of us are already making resolutions that we will never keep.
What makes these resolutions, although often they are the choices we know will make a positive difference in our lives, so hard to stick to?
Change can be challenging and sometimes seems downright impossible. Often we are motivated by a health goal – healthier looking skin, weight loss, being able to keep up with the grandkids, etc.
The motivation is coming from an intellectual or emotional place (and usually after a weekend or holiday full of indulgence).
Once a “diet” or resolution is put in place, our physical needs and dependencies start to demand more attention. Cravings and old habits come to the forefront and our willpower is put to the test.
Whatever you resolutions for change are, is it important to set realistic goals and to first explore any potential barriers that could hold you back from achieving these goals.
Before making any resolutions this year, consider journaling about the following:
– What are my intentions or expectations for making these changes?
– What are my triggers that may cause me to stray from these goals?
– How can I avoid these triggers?
Once you are clear about your limitations and barriers to wellness, consider visualizing your resolutions and ideals.
A vision board or collage can be a helpful tool and daily reminder of what your goals are. For more information and guidance on how to start this kind of project, visit: http://bravelyplayfulcreations.com or http://chrstinekane.com/how-to-make-a-vision-board.
After you’ve cleared your path of barriers, think about other strategies you can implement to improve your success.
– Involve a friend – accountability is key, and often this has to come from an outside source. Ask a friend to join you in your resolution – whether it be to volunteer, walk everyday, or drink more water – holding that commitment with another person often increases the chances of success
– Start small and make a plan – if you haven’t been exercising, starting with a marathon is not likely the best idea.
Although that may be your long-term goal, going from no exercise at all to a full out training program is a good way to set yourself up for disappointment. Why not make smaller, more achievable goals? 15 minutes a day for a month, then 30 minutes a day for 3 months and growing from there may seem like baby steps but you’ll be encouraged and proud of your growth and more likely to continue with your plan.
– Track your progress.
Sometimes when we are in the middle of it, it’s hard to see the forest from the trees. Although real change takes time, find a realistic way to track your success and find a healthy reward to keep your motivation strong. Don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back with a spa treatment, new book, or movie night as your achieve milestones along the way.
– Surround yourself with support and ask for help – form a team of people who know what your goals are and are willing to support you in them. Depending on your goals, this may include a naturopathic and/or medical doctor, counselor, life coach, family members, and friends.’
Naturopathic medicine offers many solutions for improving resolution success. Stress management, craving reduction, and detoxification support are all part of a follow-thru plan that your naturopathic doctor can help you with.
One final note: before making any changes, try loving yourself as you are today. Although a few resolutions here and there may improve the way you feel and your health level from the inside out, we really are perfect just the way we are.
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year.
Dr. Melissa Blake completed her pre-medical studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax where she received a bachelor of science in biology and psychology. Since graduating in 2006 from the four year medical program at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, she has been practicing at The Pear Tree Naturopathic Clinic located in Dieppe.