How to stay on track with your New Year resolutions

It doesn’t matter

Start the New Year armed with this mantra. When things happen that you cannot change, use the magic words of the positive thinker. Keep saying it, even though your inner voice will try to argue that it does. If you say it often enough you’ll believe it. Why? Because it’s the truth. Whatever was going on that seemed catastrophic at the time will soon be forgotten and seem trivial in hindsight. Over-reaction to small matters causes us undue distress and upset which can easily lead to poor eating rituals. “It doesn’t matter” is a simple rational phrase which has a huge effect on making life more harmonious without using food to fill a void.

Figure out how 

After deciding on a New Year Resolution you must engender the belief that you can do it. Wishing is not enough, you must direct your mind fully towards the specific goal. We are all goal orientated creatures, drifting and hoping will end in failure. Firstly there needs to be commitment, time and energy to fulfill the task in hand. A weight related goal should be written down alongside a list of reasons why you feel this will be worth achieving. This list should be personal, honest, given a lot of thought with as much detail as possible. It should be copied, carried and read every morning and every night. Read it before you eat, or when faced with a challenging or tempting situation. You must forget past efforts or perceived failures and use the power of repetition to move forward with self-belief.

Get support

No matter what we put our minds to, there are times when we need encouragement from like-minded peers. This is especially true if or when we relapse and feel guilt which is the most destructive negative emotion and leads to unnecessary self-punishment. Slipping is inevitable, it doesn’t equate to failure. The all or nothing approach to setting resolutions is the main reason for quitting. We are not machines! We are humans with ever changing moods and emotions so even the most committed will deviate from time to time. This is when a positive, encouraging word is invaluable. A call or text is all that’s required. Someone to rationalise the situation, talk through what preceded it and how it might be avoided next time, and spur you on to getting up and back on track. Sometimes we need to be reminded of our own strengths and abilities, then we’re likely to utilise the potential within us to succeed and enjoy the rewards of our perseverance.

Know your weaknesses 

Look back, just for a minute. Have you made resolutions in the past? Did you keep them, were they realistic, achievable and maintainable? Don’t set yourself up for a fall. You can know a lot of things and have wonderful intentions to make positive changes in your life, but if you don’t know yourself, what makes you tick and more importantly what drags you down, then you’re on the road to nowhere. High risk times, places, situations and people need to be realised and managed. For example if daily exercise is the goal then knowing the time of day that you have more energy is the time to go. If that’s in the morning great, but will you keep to that if a friend wants to go for coffee at that time, or at night, will you go if your favourite programme starts as you go out into the dark and cold? If you’ve tried to commit to something in the past but gave up, what was it that made you lose your focus? Study yourself, and the kind of person you are. A commitment takes time and effort, which part of your attitude needs work to make that happen. Perhaps learning to be more assertive when expectations from others make you abandon your own plans, or trying to juggle too many balls makes you drop the one that affects your own happiness. Learning to say no is not easy if you’re a people pleaser but putting unrealistic pressure on yourself usually results in self-sabotage and ultimate resolution abandonment. Life is full of pressures, some positive, some negative. How you react to these is key in fulfilling the goal you want to achieve. Triggers are part of life, reaction management must be practiced for long term success.

Choose self esteem over self pity 

New Year resolutions are traditionally about giving something up which can evoke a sense of deprivation. Why not make a vow to yourself to add in something this year, something positive, something to enhance your own sense of achievement and self-esteem. Think hard. What would put more zest into your life, fire you up and make you get up and do it? Do you spend enough time and energy on yourself? Often people who put pressure on themselves to achieve are those who need to reassess their lifestyles and the voids their busy lives have caused. What about a pledge to take up a form of relaxation or engage in a group activity that you enjoy. Spending time with like-minded people is enjoyable and a new skill will give you a great sense of achievement. Resolutions for the year shouldn’t add pressure, these are the ones which are abandoned fastest. Remember you’re looking at the next 52 weeks. It would be nice to look back in December and feel the goal was followed through. So keep it simple, enjoy the little things and have a happy, healthy New Year!

To find out about Motivation Weight Management, with clinics in Castlebar, Westport and Sligo call (1890 ) 989895 or go to www.motivation.ie

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