by Kimberly Allen, RN
The New Year isn’t just a time for breaking “bad” habits it’s also a time when people think about their future and starting new healthier habits. However, just like those that begin the New Year determined to stop that “bad” habit many are unsuccessful. Sure, everyone’s excited and fired up that first week, but soon just like those trying to stop habits those that are trying to start habits start coming up with reason’s, more like excuses, for not continuing with their new habit. You know how it goes, first work got really busy and you didn’t have time, then your kids got sick and the next thing you know that habit that you had planned to create is a distant memory. However, not everyone fails to create a new habit. Your neighbor’s not only exercising everyday he/she is losing weight and looks healthier. So why is it you see your neighbor still exercising every morning and you’re back to the same old routine?
So what’s your neighbor got that you don’t? Nothing. we all know how and why it’s important to eat healthy and get in shape. It’s the approach that you take to accomplish your goal that sets you up for success or defeat. The first mistake most people make is they make “the list”, I’m going to get up at 5AM, start eating a healthy diet and run 5 miles a day. Well, good luck with that. If you’re someone that’s never gotten up at 5AM in your life, let alone run and have no idea what healthy eating even looks like you’re in trouble already. You might make it a week before you become so overwhelmed with it all that you just throw your hands up in the air in defeat. Then you add to that the fact that in today’s society we’ve become conditioned to not only expect but receive instant gratification. Are you hungry? Just go to the drive thru of your local fast food place or toss a frozen dinner in the microwave. Want ton watch a movie? Just “click” and there it is on your TV or computer. So when you don’t see dramatic and noticeable results a week after you get discouraged. Everyone forgets that it took years of living an unhealthy lifestyle to get us to the point we’re at now.
So how can you increase your chances of success? The first thing that most people forget is to plan and prepare yourself physically and mentally, then start with only ONE habit and make it small, like as in tiny. Then concentrate on that habit for 3 weeks to a month. For example you want to start exercising everyday. Start by exercising for just 5 minutes a day, that’s all. Soon that 5 minutes will become so much a part of your routine you’ll want to increase your time. Another key factor that plays a role in whether or not you succeed is accountability. If no one knows that you’re starting a new habit they won’t know if/or when you fail. Right? The flip side to that is that if no one knows they can’t offer their support or celebrate the victories with you. But, I think the most important thing is to not give up. Disruptions are a part of our everyday life, don’t let them interfere with your new habit. If you mess up and don’t make it to the gym today that doesn’t mean you can’t go tomorrow. Everyone messes up and misses that day at the gym or grabs that extra doughnut that no one ate just don’t let that incident determine whether or not you succeed.
Kimberly Allen is a registered nurse with an AND in nursing. She has worked in ACF, LCF and psychiatric facilities, although she spent most of her career as a home health expert. She is now a regular contributor to HealthAndFitnessTalk.com, dispensing advice and knowledge about medical issues and questions. You can reach her with any comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.