Turn Your New Year’s Resolutions into Finding Solutions!
The New Year is here, and with the holiday season in the rear view mirror, many people are indulging in retrospection, reevaluating some of their life choices, and making “New Year’s resolutions.”
New Year’s resolutions are part of almost everyone’s life. Are you thinking of taking on a resolution or two? You might want to broadcast your new goals to as many people in your life as possible because sharing them with others makes them real and creates accountability. The added bonus to this practice is that you might even get a friend or two to join you on your
journey. Nothing is better for a New Year’s resolution than good company.
While I certainly don’t want to dissuade you from making a resolution or from keeping it, I do want to give you a new idea and run some statistics by you.
Studies show that at least one in four Americans make a New Year’s resolution, but by the end of the year, only 9 percent feel they’ve succeeded. Why so few? After all, a New Year’s
resolution is a great reminder that you are going to take care of yourself all year long.
There are many reasons why resolutions can fall short. A change in health, family responsibilities, finances, or work can waylay the best intentions. There are many people who forget about their resolutions. I know it sounds funny, but it happens. Additionally, creating new habits takes time, patience, and a level of self-discipline and self-awareness that many decide they can’t sustain, so they quit. Whatever the reasons may be, I have always felt like a New Year’s resolution—while a good thing—is also an added pressure to an already pressure-driven society.
Resolutions are deals we make with ourselves, are they not? Maybe you need another way of looking at making that deal.
The New Idea
I’d like to flip the script on the notion of making a resolution. I’d like to start the New Year by suggesting you make this deal
with yourself: along with your resolution, find a solution.
For example, one of the most common New Year’s resolutions is losing weight. Maybe you’re someone who is overweight, and over time, you have started to experience other symptoms, such as fatigue, brain fog, achy joints, acne, and maybe even hair loss.
Through no fault of your own, you’ve now got a cupboard full of medicines and supplements that were prescribed by a physician or purchased over the counter to provide relief from these symptoms and/or aid you in your weight loss journey. But they don’t seem to help. Yet, you continue taking the most obvious visual symptom of your decline in vitality, hoping to lose weight. This is a wonderful idea, and it can be done. But what I want you to think about is this: what changed in your life before the weight gain, and are these excess pounds truly the root cause of how you feel today?
I’ve coached many patients through their weight loss journeys, and their success rate is always directly related to taking a deep dive into root causes, which are typically more than just diet choices.
Staying with the weight loss example, sometimes weight gain may be linked to a stress hormone reaction to other things going on in your life. If you have been living in a state of fight or flight for a long period of time (years, in fact), your entire body has adapted to this condition: your hormones, your cells, your neurons, every part of you. Weight gain could be a symptom of the years of stress you’ve been under.
Weight gain could be your body’s way of self-preservation, as we know stress hormones can hinder your body’s ability to absorb and process nutrients from your food. And because you’re stressed, you probably aren’t eating the healthiest, so your gut health is struggling as well. I’m trying to illustrate how one thing leads to another and another and another.
As part of your New Year’s resolution to lose weight, quit an addictive habit, get into shape, or whatever it may be, consider treating yourself as a whole picture and not just one detail. I also recommend going easy, being patient, and taking one step at a time. The solution to keeping your resolution may take more than a year, and that’s okay. I think it’s also advantageous to be aware of your stress triggers and the bad habits you have developed to cope.
Remember that while you’re on a path for change, your body may not respond the way you’d like it to as fast as you would like it to, which, as we know, can lead to disappointment and add pressure to what is supposed to be a healthy resolution.
Looking at your resolution in another way means you’ve given yourself permission to take action steps to solving a problem.
Action steps imply it may take you some time. Action steps imply there is plenty of room for exploration and discovery. Action steps allow for stumbling and for learning!