The majority of new year resolutions tend to focus on health and physical fitness. The excess of Christmas often prompts a desire to detox from sugary and rich food, many sign up to ‘Dry January.’ The new year triggers the best of intentions and a steely determination which may have disintegrated by the end of the month. There is often impatience about wanting quick results and any success achieved along the way may not match up to the effort put in.
Feelings of demotivation can kick in resulting in not only throwing in the towel but a “better to be hung for a sheep than a lamb” philosophy.
Motivation to make changes may be at a high in January but remember that change is an ongoing process and can be instigated at any point rather than when there is less pressure and expectation. Small behaviour changes take less effort and steady consistent progress is more sustainable. Small changes to daily habits such as drinking more water, eating more fruit and veg and going for a 20 minute walk are positive changes that are achievable and can be maintained.
Support networks are key. This can be in a structured group setting or by declaring intentions to friends and family. As well as help and support, there is a degree of accountability when others are aware of your aims and goals.
When considering changes to improve physical wellbeing, thoughts and feelings of being deprived are often triggered. There is a risk of becoming consumed with cutting down or cutting out, the trick to success is shifting thinking to “introducing” healthy daily and weekly habits so there is no space for the unhelpful behaviours. Assess readiness for change, if there are more ‘buts and barriers’, this suggests any action will be embarked on begrudgingly and therefore will be short lived. When changes are being undertaken because of external influences or pressure there is resistance from the beginning which doesn’t bode well for a positive result or outcome. The process of making changes should not be one of misery but of celebration, it may not be that the goal is impossible but that the approach needs to be altered and adapted.
As a therapist my purpose is to facilitate and support positive change in order to feel better. I’m all for change, growth and development but it doesn’t have to be restricted to physical wellbeing.
There is much more awareness and focus on global wellbeing including emotional health and the importance of self nurturing. Rather than focusing on what you don’t want, consider what you do want.
Be the person you want to be in 2019. Widen your intentions to include; Self care, making time for people important to you, trying out new hobbies & interests and exploring new places.
Consider fast forwarding to December, what would you want to have achieved during 2019? If you list your achievements and celebrations from 2018, this can be used as a platform to build on for aims and goals for 2019.
Choose more, not less. More laughter, more fun, more friendship, more love, more adventures, more energy and more happiness.