Happy New Year! Once again, it is that time of year that we all start thinking of New Year’s Resolutions. It is also that time of year that we commit to better health, being more focused, nicer, eating more vegetables…blah, blah, blah. Then when February comes and statistically gym attendance goes into a deep decline. Why?

Firstly, I just had to investigate the word Resolution. Where did it originate and what does it mean?
The word Resolution came from the Latin word: resolvere, which means to loosen or release. Late Middle English translated to “dissolve, disintegrate, and solve (a problem)”. Modern definitions include:
● A firm decision to do or not to do something. “She kept her resolution not to smoke” Synonyms include intention, resolve, decision, intent, aim, plan, commitment, pledge, and promise.
● The action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter. “The peaceful resolution of all disputes” Synonyms include a solution to, answer to, end to, ending too, settlement of, the conclusion to. In medicine resolution often means a disappearance of symptoms or conditions like inflammation for example.

New Years Resolution

Now let’s look at the definition of a New Year’s Resolution. According to Wikipedia, “A New Year’s Resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life.”

New Year’s Resolutions have been around for over 4000 years. The ancient Babylonians are said to be the first people to make New Year’s Resolutions. They made promises to the gods to pay their debts and return any objects that they had borrowed. A similar practice occurred in ancient Rome and the Romans were the first people to establish January 1st as the beginning of the New Year. For early Christians, the first day of the new year became the traditional occasion for thinking about one’s past mistakes and promising to do better and be better in the future. New Year’s Resolutions today are mostly made to oneself and focus purely on self-improvement. So if we’ve had 4000 years of practice, why are resolutions so difficult to keep?

Resolutions

According to recent research, as many as 50% of people make a New Year’s Resolution but only 8% of people actually succeed. Yikes!!
In an article in Psychology Today, Dec 27, 2010, author Ray Williams cites 3 main reasons why New Year’s Resolutions fail:
“1. Timothy Pychyl, a professor of psychology at Carleton University in Canada, says that resolutions are a form of “cultural procrastination”, an effort to reinvent oneself. People make resolutions as a way of motivating themselves, he says. Pychyl argues that people aren’t ready to change their habits, particularly bad habits, and that accounts for the high failure rate. Another reason, says Dr. Avya Sharma of the Canadian Obesity network, is that people set unrealistic goals and expectations in their resolutions.

2. Psychology professor Peter Herman and his colleagues have identified what they call the “false hope syndrome”, which means their resolutions is significantly unrealistic and out of alignment with their view of themselves. When you make positive affirmations about yourself that you don’t really believe, the positive affirmations not only don’t work, they can be damaging to your self-esteem.

3. The other aspect of failed resolutions lies in the cause and effect relationship. You may think that if you lose weight, or reduce your debts, or exercise more, your entire life will change, and when it doesn’t, you may get discouraged and then you revert back to old behaviours.”

New Years Habits

It’s been my personal experience that if the WHY behind the change is not powerful enough, there won’t be any motivation. For example, when you say that you want to lose weight, you have to ask yourself why. What is your reasoning? If someone has had a heart attack and has been diagnosed with peripheral vascular disease and they are told by their doctor that if they don’t lose weight and quit smoking, they will die. That is a very powerful why compared to…I just want to feel a little more confident in my bikini!! So, I’m not suggesting that you wait for a life-threatening diagnosis to increase your motivation. I am suggesting that you explore your WHY in more depth. Dig deep. Find some emotion.

Why New Years Resolutions?

For me, I know I want to reduce the appearance of cellulite on my legs, but it has never been quite enough of an emotional motivator for me to actually change my habits and give up eating cheese. Seriously… My love for cheese is so much stronger than my dissatisfaction with my slightly jiggly thighs. When I ask myself why I really want to change my appearance so much, I come up slightly short… Will having firmer, tighter thighs really change much about my day to day life? Maybe a tiny bit, but the root of the problem may actually not be with my thighs at all. My true why is the need to be in love with myself.

The problem may be with my body confidence. My true WHY to reducing the jiggle in my thighs is the desire to be in to truly love myself and have confidence.

Now, I do have to say… I was lucky enough to cheat my way through the holiday season just a bit. I had CoolSculpting done in October and November and my thighs and abdomen continue to shrink. For me personally, I have been eating a relatively clean diet and exercising with personal trainers for years. My age seems to work against me in some ways because though my physical fitness has improved immensely with diet and exercise, there are still some missing components. So, CoolSculpting is an innovative way to contour your body by freezing unwanted fat away without surgery or downtime. The treatment propels forward for me to continue working hard to see results. It’s almost as though seeing those changes in the mirror keeps me feeling positive and driven to move forward. Click here for a more in-depth description.

One of my favorite speakers and authors, Simon Sinek says that “your WHY is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you to do what you do. When you think, act and communicate with WHY, you can inspire others”. And yourself! For an in-depth explanation, watch his TED talk or read his book Start With Why here.

My interpretation of his thoughts is that if you can add your WHY to your behavior change, it is way more powerful. He gets you to explore your roles and add emotion. For example, if you say that you want to lose weight because:
● It will give me more confidence in my relationship with my partner. I want to have a closer more loving relationship with my partner because he/she means everything to me and I know that my confidence in my body holds me back from fully loving.
● I want to play with my grandchildren and have tons of energy and life. I’m excited about these opportunities to be an awesome Grandma.
● I’ve spent years looking after everyone and I now have the time to look after me and become the best possible version of myself.

Many experts in the area of goal setting and New Year’s Resolutions agree in several tactics:
1. Make the goals bite size
2. Celebrate small successes
3. Have measurable goals with timelines
4. Share your goals with those close to you (an accountability buddy)
5. Focus on positive behaviours (what you’re doing well)
6. Keep a light heart and laugh along the way
7. Be grateful along the way

You can do it!

When I think about my own goals this year, I’m not in a panic. I really have spent years working towards better health and happiness. I just keep improving my behaviors. I do have a Mexico trip in February that I want to be a bit firmer for!! I always say that a spray tan fixes so much!! On a more personal note, I want to have a better balance between work and pleasure time. It has always been one of my struggles! Making time for a yoga class or curling up with a book without feeling guilty is so important to overall well being. So, this New Year, I am just putting it out to the world! All who know me. please hold me accountable! Though, I really love working as well! Time for me to master the process of finding balance.

So, who else has a New Year’s Resolutions? All of us at EA would love to hear from you. If we can help you achieve your goals, please book in for a consultation. We are also launching the new EA Slim Weight Loss Program. Or maybe you just need us to cheer you on with your goals this year!

Wishing you happiness & health,
Becky Wilkins RN, Clinical Director
EA Medical Spas

YOUNG AT HEART (4)
RN, Clinical Director
EA Medical Spas
[email protected]
www.externalaffairs.ca