Do you make a new year resolution every year? Have you made a new year resolution already this year? If you are like most people, a resolution is made and then within a few months forgotten or given up on. Research shows that about 40% of us actually do make a new year resolution and according to a Harris Interactive poll, that 21% of those resolutions involve losing weight, 14% involve exercising and 7% resolve to eat a more healthy diet. The good news is that people are at least thinking about and making an attempt to improve their health. The bad news is that according to John C. Norcross, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Scranton and author of Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions, 60% of people who made resolutions in January have given up on them by July. Norcross cites a study from the Journal of Clinical Psychology as showing that people who make a new year resolution are 10 times more likely to be successful in making the change they desire than those who may want change but don’t put it into a formal resolution. This is encouraging for those who do make resolutions, but there are still a lot of people wanting change and not getting results quickly enough to encourage them to keep at it. This is where some planning and gaining a new perspective on issues can help make your resolution more successful.
Change Your Way of Thinking
Heidi Reeder, PhD, author of Commit to Win: How to Harness the Four Elements of Commitment to Reach Your Goals, says most people think they need willpower and motivation to achieve their goals, but that actually what is needed is commitment to accomplish a long term goal. She suggests breaking long term goals down into smaller goals and rewarding yourself for each step along the way. When making your goal plan, look for the things that prevent you from achieving your goal and have a back-up plan for when those things come up. If your goal has to do with losing weight, David Grotto, RD, author of The Best Things You Can Eat, suggests that you make your resolution about eating healthier and not saying that you are going on a diet. Eating healthier is a lifelong commitment and lifestyle change whereas being on a diet implies that there is a start and a finish to it. When it comes to losing weight psychologist Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD has a good tip of rating how hungry you are from 1 to 10 and eat if you are in the middle of this range. This will prevent eating when bored or from habit when you aren’t really hungry and help avoid overeating when you’ve gone too long and are really, really hungry.
It may just be that you need to change the way you look at your body and make sure you are setting realistic goals for your body type. This is an especially good concept to pass on to young girls and teens. People who have a positive body image are happier, more comfortable with themselves and more realistic about themselves. Those with a negative body image are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and even eating disorders. The main thing is that your body is healthy no matter what size you are. Sure, it doesn’t pay off in health benefits to be over flabby and severely overweight, but this doesn’t mean that we all have to be a size 3 either. Healthy bodies can be a variety of sizes and shapes. Rather than concentrating on the parts of your body that you don’t like, begin looking for things you can appreciate about your body. This might be gaining appreciation for what an intricate and complex system the body is or the various functions and sensations it provides for us. Adequate rest, exercise and a healthy diet can also help raise self-esteem, energy levels, and give you a better body image perspective.
Boosting Self Image
Alice Domar, PhD, director of the Mind/Body Center for Women’s Health at Boston IVF, suggests one way to change your body image is to start with making a list of alternative statements to the negative ones you usually make about your body or that others may throw at you. Become aware of the words you use when describing your own looks and others’ looks. Also stay realistic about your body type and other factors. For example, it is not realistic to think that a 60 year old body can look the same as it did in its 20’s. Studies show that practicing good posture can help improve body image and confidence so start being aware of sitting and standing up straight. There is also research that supports keeping track of your goal progress as you are more likely to be successful if there is a system of accountability or monitoring in place. Susan B. Roberts, PhD, professor of nutrition and of psychiatry at Tufts University suggests making substitutions for unhealthy snacks with a healthier option and that doing this 10 times consecutively will start your body craving the healthier snack. Managing stress is also an important part of boosting self image. Make it a priority this year to find a way to deal with stress. Be sure to take vacation days that you have coming to you as we all need a break and the time to relax. For those with an active and stressful lifestyle there are whole food supplements that can help provide supportive nutrition to keep the body running at its peak. This supplement combines vegetable-based glucosamine, chondroitin, UC-II® undenatured collagen and AFA bluegreen algae to help the body keep up with all you do. This supplement combines a proprietary blend of plant-based proteolytic enzymes–bromelain, papain, protease, lipase, and serratiopeptidase, and organic AFA bluegreen algae to provide the nutrition necessary for the body to reduce the risks of inflammation and recover from physical exertion.
Even if you didn’t make a resolution on New Year’s Day, it’s not too late. Make your resolution today to change your attitude about your body and work towards a healthier body and a healthier lifestyle. Learning to love yourself and your body could be the best gift you ever give yourself.