I get really excited around this time of the year. The weather today was absolutely beautiful with the right amount of sun and the wind to put you at ease and enjoy nature. The other reasons I get excited about this time of year are the holidays and spending time with family and friends. I was reminded today that many individuals start thinking of their New Year promises, whether it is to quit smoking, lose weight, eat healthier, increase physical activity, travel more, go back to school, and others. The sooner you know what behaviors you want to change, the sooner you want to start changing. You do not have to wait until the New Year. For example, if your 2017 resolutions are to lose weight, and you will not start until January to eat healthier and increase physical activity, you could easily add more pounds to the weight that you already want to lose. If you wait until 2017 to quit smoking, how much more damage will you cause to your lungs prior to 2017? Here are some thoughts to consider:
1. What do you really want and is your change realistic? On a day when you are feeling your best, not tired, hungry, tired, etc., what do you really want? Do you just want to lose weight for a particular occasion or be at a healthy weight for as long as you live? One of the options is temporary and the other is for a lifetime.
2. Why do you want to change ((quit smoking, weight loss, etc.)? There has to be a desire to change your behavior. Were you just told that your heart is damaged or not strong enough to keep living the way you are living? Was your blood sugar up, and you are close to being diagnosed with Prediabetes or Diabetes? Did someone close to you have a medical scare, and now are you scared you may be headed down the same road of medical problems? The change cannot be primarily for someone else. It’s good to have motivators to pick you up or give you that extra boost. However, you have to have the desire to lose weight, to quit smoking, and /or to eat healthier. You have to be the number one reason to quit smoking. For example, if you are wanting to quit because someone else tells you to stop or because you desire to be like someone else, what happens when that person is no longer there or disappoints you? Will you go back to the same habits?
3. Do you believe you can change? If you do not believe you can change, what do you need to do to start believing in yourself? Is your internal dialogue negative or positive? What about the people in your circle of influence? Do you hang around negative or positive people?
“Whether you believe you can, or think you can’t, you are right.” –Henry Ford
“The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a record of successful experiences behind you. Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” –William Jennings Bryan
4. Research those programs that promise results overnight or with very little action you need to do on your part. During many of my diabetes education courses, many individuals would ask about “diets”. I would remind them that healthy eating has to be a lifestyle and not just a “diet.” Even hearing the word “diet” has a negative meaning to some individuals. Some individuals would get frustrated, depressed, or angry because they felt as though they were limiting themselves and could not enjoy some of their favorite foods. Many of those same individuals, in due time, were able to see that they could still enjoy some of their favorite foods in moderation and lead healthier lives.
5. Prioritize and plan. What time of the day or you at your best—with the most energy and motivated to carry out your goals? Are you a morning, afternoon, or evening person? Making your goals visible to you (bathroom mirror, a sticky note on the refrigerator) will help keep you accountable. I am reminded of the 5 P’s when it comes to setting and achieving goals.
Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance –Nancy Pelosi
6. Do you need support? Is there someone who has helped others in your situation and/or was able to overcome what you are going through? Do not be afraid to seek support? It takes a lot of courage to ask others for support.