Many people set resolutions for the new year. It will not surprise you to know that approximately 80% of those resolutions fail. One reason it will not surprise you is that one of those people who failed is likely you.
There are many reasons why resolutions fail. One of the biggest reasons is that the goals set are too big. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of setting and achieving big goals. In fact, I believe most people are unaware of just how powerful and capable they are, and often come up short in meeting their full potential. But when I hear the goals and resolutions people set, I hope they will be successful, but know they likely will not. Why?
Well, if someone has not been to the gym and has not worked out for years, sleeps until 9 a.m. every morning, and eats fast food at least twice a day, and then he or she sets a New Year’s resolution to get up at 5 a.m., work out six days a week, and eat salads for lunch and dinner, it’s too extreme of a change to be sustainable.
Humans are hardwired to avoid pain and seek pleasure. Pain and pleasure drive human behavior. This is why we avoid the things we don’t like (i.e. sweating, breathing heavy, and sore muscles) and migrate toward the things that feel good (i.e. laying around, eating sweets, sleeping in).
What is exciting is that the human body craves and thrives on real, whole foods. It also absolutely loves vigorous physical activity. And our brains long for the stimulation that comes from setting and achieving goals. What the body and brain hate is being overloaded with these things. These things are associated with pleasure and are desirable in appropriate amounts, but associated with pain if dumped on too hard and too fast.
To be successful with setting and achieving New Year’s resolutions, or any goal for that matter, make sure you start at a place that makes sense with where you currently are. I recently heard a great quote from personal trainer Billy Beck… “Stimulate, don’t annihilate.” If you want to get in shape and lose weight, but haven’t worked out in years and are forty pounds overweight, start with three days a week. And start with walking for thirty minutes each day. That may sound too simple, but it’s something that you will stick with, won’t get hurt doing, and WILL see results. From there, you can ramp up the time and intensity quite rapidly, but it must be done in a sensible way.
Another quick tip is to choose things you enjoy, or at least do not hate. With exercise, choose an activity that appeals to you. With food, choose foods that are heathy and nutritious, but also foods you enjoy eating. There are so many options when it comes to foods and exercises, you are bound to find ones that you really like. If you hate the exercise or food choices, how long do you think it will last? (Remember pain and pleasure drive human behavior.)
So… you may have given up on your resolutions, but do not wait until next year to re-set new ones. Set new goals right now, just make sure that you know where you are starting from, and make sure you don’t overload the body!
If you are looking for fast and dramatic weight loss, DO NOT do it alone. I run a weight loss program where you will lose 20 pounds in just 6 weeks. This may sound contradictory to what I was just talking about above, but it is physician-supervised, completely safe, and proven to be effective long-term. If interested, you can call 330-405-2751, and set up a time to come in and learn more, or sign up for our Informational Workshop on Wednesday, February 19th at 6:30 p.m. at my office in Twinsburg, Ohio.