Being Resolute – Making New Year’s Resolution Stick

By Dr. Scott Colasanti

It is that time again: a time for new beginnings, turning a new leaf, starting a new chapter etc. etc. The fact of the matter is that the New Year serves as a good marker to start something new or different. It marks not only the beginning of a new year but hopefully also the new beginning of a better you.

The gyms are packed with new members, the grocers can’t keep the healthy stuff on the shelves. We are on our best behaviour after having endured another holiday season of sloth, gluttony and just plain overindulgence.

So why is it that many of us, perhaps most of us, fall off the proverbial wagon, and fall into old habits?

They say that old habits die hard and it is likely human nature to default to things that are less work and generally make us feel good (temporarily). For many of us, this is a type of feedback or reward cascade that is not unlike an addiction, however we know that the temporary pleasure that we derive from this is often not worth it in the end. The way out is to realize what is going on and then to do some ‘re-programing’, so to speak. Of course we know that this is not always easy.

As I have said in previous blogs, we cannot assume a passive role in our heath care. We must take a proactive role. A little bit of effort does go a long way. It is important to realize that when we make changes for the better, we must welcome these changes as they should become part of our lifestyle.

If we approach our health in a way that we are making some temporary changes for the better, or if we are unrealistic or unclear about what we are trying to accomplish, then we are doomed for failure. This is the all too common ‘yo-yo’ effect that the diet industry depends on for their bottom line.

To help us put things into perspective, we should ask ourselves questions like:

How would I like to feel?

How would I like to see myself?

Would I like to be around and in good health for a long time?

Finally, it is important to keep in mind that a healthy change this does not mean that we can’t enjoy life. I often recommend trying an 80:20 rule to live by, meaning that if you can be ‘good’ about your health and lifestyle 80% of the time and indulge a little around 20% of the time, then that’s not too shabby. Too difficult? Perhaps try 70:30 for a while and work your way up.

Like any seed that you plant, if you nurture it, you will reap the rewards of the harvest for a long time to come.

Have a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year!

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