It’s the time of year again to reflect on the changes that you want to implement into the New Year. Every year around this time most people prepare for the holidays ahead and have a resolution in mind. Whether it is to lose weight, quit smoking or to start exercising there is an idea floating around. The person who wants to lose weight usually has the plan of binging on the food during the holiday time with the inner agreement that starting January first they will start their fad diet and go to the gym. This agreement relieves the guilt of overindulging. If this sounds like you, be assured that you are not alone. The exercise clubs and equipment companies are making a killing this time of year. Usually the exercise bike that you got for the holidays last year is now a place to hang your clothes. The exercise club that you signed up for is now a painful memory of a monthly payment and a broken dream.
Sorry to disappoint those with this plan in mind but resolutions rarely work. If you go back on your history of resolutions it may seem like the movie Ground Hog Day. Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If you fall in to his definition of insanity, then you are just like most of the people who set resolutions. In fact, research shows that most people keep their resolutions for just three weeks and only eight percent keep see them all the way through.
Why not try a different approach? Do not set a resolution but instead to set goals. The difference between a resolution and a goal is that resolutions are statements of something you want to change and goals are specific statements to achieve something that is measurable by amount or timeframe. A resolution would be when a person says “I want to lose weight this year” and a goal would be “I want to lose two pounds in a month”.
When you set goals your brain works overtime to try to achieve them. Upon achieving your goals, the hormone dopamine flows into your brains reward pathway and inspires you to repeat the activities that caused the pleasurable response. Achieving your goals not only gets things accomplished, it also boosts your self-esteem and increases your happiness. Setting small goals will make achievement easier and will store a reservoir of valuable information that will enable you to tackle and achieve the bigger goals. If you start by setting big goals that are difficult to attain, it can be counterproductive since failure drains the brain of dopamine which in turn makes it difficult to concentrate on what went wrong.
Do not fall into the resolution trap and do not wait for January first. Start setting small realistic goals now and work on achieving them. Set a goal to make this a happier new year by setting goals.
Gemma Nastasi is certified in holistic nutrition, applied positive psychology and coaching. She uses her passion and life experience to help others live happier and healthier lives. Gemma’s philosophy is that adversity is the key to open the door to positive change and that happiness can be created. Her business is Gemma Health Coach, LLC located in Red Bank, New Jersey. She offers individual sessions as well as workshops and positivity groups. Gemma is the author of two books "Happy, Healthy Life" and “The Positive Psychology Diet: 21 Days to a Happier and Healthier Life” which is available to purchase on GemmaHealthCoach.Com and Amazon.com.