By now we’ve all celebrated the New Year with a bang! Most of us had fun eating too much and relaxing too much during the holidays. We joyously reflected on the past and with anticipation look forward to the New Year. We rekindle our internal dialogue with thoughts of eating better, working out again and just de-stressing. That’s where the big “resolutions” come in to play. You know what I’m talking about; those grandiose internal promises that we attempt to keep in order to better ourselves and the lives of others. Most of us make them, few of us keep them. Improving your health is usually number one on that list. In order to proceed with your resolution you have to commit to change something in your life. Your internal dialogue right now is saying, “why does change have to be so hard?” Let me tell you that CHANGE doesn’t have to be so hard or painful.
Here are three valuable tips that I teach my own patients on how to create lasting positive change with regards to their health:
1. Deprivation doesn’t work! You cannot deprive anyone of their bad choices (ie doughnuts, alcohol etc) and expect a positive lasting change. Their ‘bad choices’ are actually feeding the pleasure centers in their brain. As humans, it is the number one thing we seek – pleasure. Depriving someone of something they love no matter how bad it is for them will lead to frustration. Which brings me to point number two…
2. You must change their belief systems. This is a big one. Behavior modification doesn’t work. You can’t change a behavior until you change the belief system that supports that behavior. Until you realize how devastating a doughnut is to your health you will never change. So how do you change?
3. Add healthy choices first! Adding healthy choices before indulging in the bad ones will over time rewire your brain and those guilty pleasures will be replaced with healthy pleasures. It really is that simple.
Here’s an example. One of my patients loved doughnuts. She also knew it was not a healthy choice and was a major contributor to her obesity. Instead of depriving her of doughnuts I asked her if she could eat an apple before eating the doughnut. She obliged. Two months later she is now eating apples and her doughnut cravings are gone. Hello better health. Good bye chronic illness.
So your New Year’s resolution to create change the right way. Now enjoy the process!