I’d like to welcome guest blogger and friend Brett Blumenthal, a wellness expert and coach, and bestselling author of A Whole New You: Six Steps to Ignite Change for Your Best Life (Dec 2012) 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You (Jan 2012). Read more from Brett at sheerbalance.com. Here, Brett shares the challenges that come with trying to change–but why it’s worth sticking to.
If you’re struggling with some of the changes you swore you’d make this year, there may be good reason for it.
Change is difficult, no matter how you slice it. And the evidence around this is undeniable, especially around this time of year. When January 1st hits, people get a new spark of enthusiasm for being healthy. Gym memberships soar, health oriented websites surge in traffic and personal trainers don’t have enough hours in the day to see the new clients who’ve signed up for sessions.
Unfortunately, the enthusiasm rampant in the beginning of January wanes after a few weeks and before you know it, gyms have membership cancellations, websites see drops in traffic and personal trainers have a more manageable number of clients. This trend is as predictable as the ball dropping in Times Square New Year’s Eve.
If you are finding that your passion to keep your resolutions and changes are burning out, you are likely falling victim to three very typical reasons people fail:
1. You Are Biting Off More than You Can Chew: Many of us yearn for instant gratification and as a result, we try to make major change all at once. Yet, when something takes too long, we give up or move on. In 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You, I discuss how this instant gratification we crave is the exact thing that hinders us from achieving success in our quest for change. The secret to making change that lasts is to acknowledge and accept that change takes time and that patience during the process is essential. Don’t try to over commit yourself too early. Ease into your resolution so that you don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged.
2. You Are Using the Wrong Methods to Change: If weight loss is your goal, pretending to love running when you don’t, is not going to encourage you to exercise. Further, forcing yourself to eat rice cakes when you don’t like rice cakes is only setting yourself up for failure. Choosing the wrong methods, activities, foods, avenues, etc. to help you in making your change is only going to deflate you and keep motivation levels low. Instead, find and use the resources that you enjoy using or being part of and make them part of your change plan.
3. You Are Trying to Change Something You Don’t Want to Change: And the biggest reason your change isn’t working is because somewhere, deep down, you don’t want to make the change. In A Whole New You: Six Steps to Ignite Change for Your Best Life, I discuss the importance of passion for change. Many of us fall victim to the “shoulds,” the “I need tos,” and change out of guilt. Unfortunately, these reasons to change are the absolute most ineffective and least motivating reasons to do so. If, for instance, you are quitting smoking because your family hates the fact that you smoke or because your doctor tells you it is good that you do, but deep down you really don’t want to make the change, your long-term success is doomed to fail. Whatever resolutions you have made, dig deep. Are you seriously passionate about the change? If not, it is time to reevaluate. If, however, there is a fire in your belly about the changes you’ve embarked on, you are in much better shape.
Brett Blumenthal is bestselling author of A Whole New You: Six Steps to Ignite Change for Your Best Life (Dec 2012) 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You (Jan 2012) and Get Real and STOP Dieting! (Dec 2010). She regularly speaks at conferences, spas and wellness centers on topics of change and wellbeing. Her writing is regularly featured on her site www.sheerbalance.com and other popular sites including: Huffington Post, Yahoo!, Shine from Yahoo!, Divine Caroline, Intent and Gather. She has also been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Spa Magazine, Stuff Boston, American Fitness, The METRO and Organic Spa Magazine. Brett has appeared on NBC, FOX and CBS. She has 20 years of experience in wellness promotion and 10 years experience in management consulting; including change management for Fortune 100 companies. Brett received her MBA and her bachelors degree from Cornell University. She is certified by WELCOA (Wellness Council of America) and AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America).