Remember Jan. 1?
You decided to trade in your pumpkin pie for chicken salad and your party dress for your sports bra. New Year’s Resolution Mode was engaged.
Research says 41 percent of us make New Year’s Resolutions, but only nine percent of those people make it to their goals. The fact is most people bite off more than they can chew. When we try to implement too many new things at once, we end up in a Catch 22.
On one hand, we might be able to see results very fast if we choose this approach. On the other hand, we are also more likely to burn out, back slide and end up in a place worse than where we started. If this sounds like anything you have experienced before, let’s take a look at some approaches that might mean you don’t experience that again.
The magic bullet that everyone is searching for is simple: eat fruits and vegetables, be physically active, sleep well and have healthy strategies to deal with stress.
The good news is that you do not (and probably should not) need to implement all these pillars at the same time.
Here is a step by step process to get you to the finish line of this marathon:
Create Your Optimal Health Vision
Before you get started, you need a clear vision of where you are going. Close your eyes and imagine the healthiest and happiest version of yourself. What is happening in your life that makes it so great? What are you doing in your vision that you are not doing now in terms of nutrition, physical activity, sleep and stress reduction? How do you feel? Write down everything you see in as much detail as possible.
Identify The Differences
Think about your current health versus your Optimal Health Vision. What are you doing? What are you not doing anymore? Write down everything that is different.
Pick One Adjustment
Looking at the list of differences you made, pick just one
thing to work on first. You need to start this process with a slam dunk, so pick an area where there is no doubt that you can accomplish it. If there are a few you feel confident about implementing, choose the one that will have the biggest impact on your health.
Hyper-focus On That One Thing
This is the key to this method. After you choose this one thing, let yourself off the hook for everything else
. As long as you accomplish this one
thing you have chosen, that is success! Research is conflicting but on average it takes anywhere from 21 to 66 days
to form a habit. The plan will be to hyper-focus on this one goal until it feels automatic.
Move Down The List
Now that your first goal has become second nature, look back at your list of differences. Pick the next item that you feel will be easiest to implement and have the biggest impact. Hyper-focus on this new goal (making sure your old habit doesn’t drop) until it becomes automatic. Repeat until you reach your Optimal Health Vision.
The process may seem oversimplified, but it is a great way to attack the issue - piece by piece. Stay engaged in this process for the rest of 2018, and you will be at least four steps closer to your Optimal Health Vision.
Laura Greenhow is the founder of Summerfield Custom Wellness, a Wilmington-based nutrition firm counseling employees toward a shift in health-consciousness.She and her team facilitate programs wherein healthy choices begin to come automatically and are aligned with what the body needs.They see individuals and also work with companies ranging from five to 5,000 employees as they strive for a healthier workforce and a healthier Wilmington.Laura holds a master’s degree in Public Health from UNC-Chapel Hill, with clinical rotations that included New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Learn more at www.summerfieldcustomwellness.com or call (910) 663-5166.