Changes that Last

What are you going to do differently this year? What are you willing to change? What will you give up that you have been holding on to? These are questions you have to ask yourself if you want to make changes that will last.

About 40% of Americans will make resolutions for the New Year. About seven out of ten will still be on track after two weeks, and a couple more will drop off after a month. After that, 40-46% will manage to hang on into the Summer. We are one month in to 2015 -  which category are you in? Are you still on track or are you part of the "drop off" group? 

As a gym owner I see this pattern all the time; the enthusiastic new member, all pumped up and ready to GO FOR IT! They are so excited to get started they could lose five pounds from the giddiness. They show up for a week or two, maybe three, and then the gradual disappearing act begins. When they do come in after an absence, the guilty face comes too, along with the unsolicited reasons why they have been away. "My third cousin twice removed from another mother's step-aunt was in town for the baptism of my great nephew's identical twin daughters." There is always more information then you asked for!

And then the periods of absence grow longer until the phone rings with the quiet voice, "I need to cancel my membership. I'm not using it." What happened to that motivated new member?  Here are 7 Steps to making lasting changes:

1. Choose a theme instead of a resolution

Choosing a theme makes it more of a long-term commitment rather than a single event. Commit to better health or abundance rather than giving up candy.

2. Eliminate all-or-nothing thinking

Moderation is key. Stop labeling certain foods as "bad" or "absolutely never"  - you will just want them more and binge on them.

3. Set SMART goals

Make your goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound. They must be measurable so you can track them. Don't say, "I am going exercise more." How much more? Three days a week? Four days a week? Make them attainable so you don't set yourself up to fail. They should be relevant to your overall wellness. Tie them back to your theme. Place realistic periods of time for achievement to create a sense of urgency. 

4. Engage a buddy

Having someone else on your workout schedule keeps you accountable to show up! It is a great support system, and can be a healthy competition.

5. Focus on the positives

Build upon your past successes, don't focus on your shortcomings. Stop beating yourself up for what you have not accomplished. The past has passed - move on!

6. Visual reminders

Post notes with positive expressions and reminders where you can see them every day. "I am powerful." "I can do this." "My health and wellness is my number one priority." 

7. Celebrate small victories

No matter how small, celebrate victories with healthy rewards. Give yourself a half hour of "you" time, go to bed early, get a manicure, buy a new lipstick. A reward doesn't have to be a slice of pie!