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Small Changes. Big Rewards

PostedJanuary 23, 2018

Well, Santa has left the building. Now that the holidays are in the rear view mirror, what are your personal goals? Have you made New Year’s resolutions this year?

Yep, it’s that time of the year again… January has an inevitable rhythm to it, whether you make New Year’s resolutions or not, we all march into the New Year waiting for something epic to happen, right? This is the time when most people reinvent themselves, often setting (somewhat unattainable) goals and making plans on how to reach them.

If you have made a few resolutions, congratulations! Research indicates that you will be 10 times more likely to successfully alter behaviour than you would if you didn’t make a start. But, will you see it through? Truth is statistics are dismal, 92% of us quit before we accomplish whatever we promised ourselves to do!

Thing is, when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, most of us shoot for the moon. “This year I’ll finally lose those extra kilos, get that promotion, become a vegan and find “The One” … Sound familiar? Setting overly ambitious and restrictive goals – like quitting sugar when you haven’t already been making small changes in your diet – is one of the major causes of failure.

Too often we make resolutions that are impressed upon us by social pressure and by what we think we “should” be doing. Yeah, we listen to the voices in our heads telling us what we ought to do instead of listening to our inner wisdom. Truth is when our goals are not fully aligned with our life purpose; the chances of success are greatly lowered.

So, before you go any further, ask yourself, what do you really want? Interestingly, a Harvard study shows that loving relationships give the most joy and good health, and that other successes come from that. Does this change your resolutions? Definitely something to think about!

But, one thing’s for sure, there’s a new chapter waiting to unfold in 2018. The calendar gets flipped and we get another shot at life. A refreshing start if you will, because it’s much more than just adding another year to your life, it’s another opportunity to live the life you want.

So, how do you join the select 8% that actually make their pacts stick?

Make small changes that can be maintained throughout the year.

Be specific. Avoid vague goals such as: “I want to lose weight.” Rather pledge to reduce your cholesterol by 10%. Get down to the details and map out a plan on how to get there. Once again, baby steps, maybe start by eating only good fats and paying attention to portion control.

Set sub-goals Commit to a walkathon for charity before training for the Comrades.

Celebrate small successes. Awesomeness should be rewarded.

Share it with the world. Be accountable. Write it on your Facebook wall. Promise a monthly update on your progress.

Make it visual and keep it real. Have unavoidable daily reminders pop up on your phone. Write it down on a post-it and stick it everywhere.

Pencil it in. Can’t find the time? Nobody has time. We all choose how we spend our time – whether it’s grabbing a burger or joining a spinning class.

Make it fun. More pleasure less pain, always.

Stop “all or nothing” thinking. If you can’t save R500 this month, save R200. Any effort towards your goal is better than no effort.

Don’t give up. If you’ve made the same resolutions since 2012, don’t despair! Appreciate your humanity and keep trying.

So, will one set of push-ups transform you? No. But if you do 30 days of 10 push-up sets, you’ll add 300 push-ups to your overall activity level, and that will make a difference!

As small goals become habits, you’re setting yourself up for slow and steady, sustainable success.

So, what is the one small change that you can make today to promote a healthier lifestyle in 2018?



DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.