Dr. Sharolyn Dihigo, DNP, RN, CPNP // Jan 05, 2018

Why is it our New Year’s resolutions go flying out of the window 3 weeks into the new year? Why can’t we stick to our diet or exercise plan? What is it that makes change so hard?

Changing our behavior requires a “self overhaul,” and usually the first thing we need to change is our attitude or the way we are thinking! Changing behavior is one of the most researched subjects and probably because it’s one of the hardest things to accomplish. Here are 3 tips to consider before making a change:

  1. Attitude is everything! Our negative thoughts often get in our way. Thoughts of regret, guilt, and failure often side rail our efforts at making a positive change. We start thinking, “I can’t do this; this is too hard; I always quit; I just can’t stick to anything.” Positive thinking is the #1 reason why successful people are successful! So turn that frown upside down, and start thinking positive. Feed yourself good thoughts, “I can do this! I achieved by weight goals! I can exercise longer than I ever have in my life. I am strong!”
  2. We try to eat the whole elephant! Oftentimes, we set too lofty of a goal for ourselves and then wonder why we aren’t successful. Set small, achievable goals so you can celebrate small successes along the way. Has anyone ever asked you, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer is, “One bite at a time.” Achieving any big goal requires accomplishing baby steps one at a time. It’s easier to stay focused on smaller, achievable goals while working toward the bigger goal. Example Big Goal: I have lost 20 pounds over 6 months. Smaller goal: I lost 5-7 pounds per month. (Notice how I worded my goals as if they have already been accomplished! This is reinforcement of positive thinking.)
  3. Trying to Change Everything All at Once! Set one goal for change and don’t try to change multiple behaviors all at once. Telling yourself that you are going to drastically change your diet and start running 5 miles a day while stopping smoking is going to set yourself up for failure for sure. Attack one thing at a time. Once you are successful, then tackle the next behavior on your list. Remember to start small and success comes in small, incremental change over time.
Change is often difficult but so worth it! So set some goals, make sure they are realistic and achievable, and get started today!

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