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“This is the year!” I’ve got to lose 20 pounds and keep it off”. If this sounds familiar, then New Year’s is here and it’s time for resolutions to be made and broken. Resolutions are sadly short-lived.
Why is it that so many people who strongly want a change for themselves give up after only a few weeks? The answer is because the brain wants to lose weight, but the heart wants ice cream! Rationally we know that eating less and exercising is how to lose weight. Unfortunately, just the knowledge or awareness of how to lose weight isn’t enough. It’s not even close to enough. It’s the emotional side of ourselves that is in control and eventually wears down self-control saying, “we deserve ice cream after the day we had!”
Resolutions fail because when left to willpower is an exhaustible resource. Once used up, the mind takes a backseat to emotion who steps in to guide our decision making. The heart’s will is stronger than the brain and will win every time. Does that mean we should just give up on long term goals and assume short term gratification will always win? Not a chance.
Emotion isn’t always the bad guy. The heart is behind the energy and drive of our actions. The key to behavior change is to motivate the heart. What fuels emotion? Love, compassion, sympathy. Now, how can we re-frame our resolution to lose weight? Maybe our child is overweight too and we know that they are self-conscious and would be happier at a healthier weight. Then resolving to eat healthy and exercise to be a role-model and influence to better our child will put the heart in charge. Then when willpower is gone for the day and we see the pizza delivery magnet on the fridge, we throw it out and cook a chicken breast and vegetables for dinner because it’s what is best not just for us, but for our loved one.
Once you find your “heart” motivation, follow these steps to achieve your goals:
- Choose a reasonable goal. What do you want and why do you want it? Don’t aim to high and keep it realistic.
- Create a plan. How will you handle set-backs? Who will be your support?
- Stay on track. Find things that keep you motivated; write down reminders of why you want this change.
- Stay flexible. Expect the unexpected. Priorities change and circumstances beyond our control creep in. Don’t abandon your goal in tough situations, try to adjust your expectations.
Whatever your employees’ resolutions in the coming year, Inspired Perspectives can help them successfully achieve their health goals through motivation, inspiration and connecting them to resources to take action!
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