Kim Bear, MS, LPC, NCC & Dr. Kara Beair, DO
Inspiring Strategies for Success by Friends and Experts You Can Trust
“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called “Opportunity” and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce~
New Years Day is every day, because God willing, one year will come and go from today whether we are ready for change or not. Is there something you want to accomplish in this New Year as we embark on January 1? New Year’s Day is upon us bringing hope (or fear) in the heart of anyone desiring positive change!
Sure, it’s possible you have fallen off the resolution wagon on more than one occasion. The good news is now is the PERFECT time to consider getting back on track. The holidays are in the past, the next round of fun (yet stressful) events is in the future; spring break, graduations, weddings, vacations, and the like.
Various studies suggest only 10% of people keep their New Year’s Resolutions. You now have the secret weapon to success – 5 Tips for Resolution Success:
Step 1: Re-think your failure as part of your success. Evaluate issues which caused your lack of total success, and use those as your “Evaluation Phase Trials” of your personal resolution strategy. January through March is perfect for this all important aspect of your plan. You haven’t failed at all; you need the experiences that trip you up to make a good plan for success moving forward.
Step 2: Plan for realistic goals – then REWARD. It is very important to have long term goals, but smaller chunks of tiny goals and rewards up front will solidify your success, giving you the confidence and self esteem to finally succeed. Give up only one or two cigarettes a day. Cut out 200 calories a day by giving up sugary drinks or cutting a couple of portions down slightly while eating all the same things. Clean or sort during 3 commercial breaks at night, or simply commit to 10 minutes of doing simple sorting or organizing each day. Pray or meditate while you are in the shower or driving. You get the idea. At the end of the day or week, reward yourself with something special.
Step 3: Trick your brain before it tricks you. Tell yourself “I can have what I want!” The brain HATES deprivation and change. Say “I can have 10 cigarettes a day” rather than “I have to give up 2 cigarettes a day.” “I can have all the foods I love” rather than “I have to cut out 5% of what I eat.” Instead of “I have to spend evenings studying,” say “finally I am able to spend some evenings bettering myself.”
Step 4: Always add something before taking anything away- this will give you a head start. A couple of weeks before you end something, start something that makes you feel good about yourself – and counters the effects that the take-away will bring. For example, two weeks before you give up 1 or 2 cigarettes each day, walk around the block once a day, get up and around during commercial breaks, or add some healthy food choices to your diet. This will combat the lethargy and prohibit the weight gain that results from losing nicotine in your system. This way, when you start, you aren’t feeling tired and drained, causing you to feel more successful in your goal. The same goes for weight loss. Ensure you start moving before the diet, and incorporate some healthier choices before cutting back on the unhealthy ones. Prior to starting a class or a new job activity, begin some extra reading for fun or research that gets you in the right frame of mind prior to your new intellectual endeavor. You get the picture – you can apply these strategies with moderation to anything you want to change.
Step 5: EMBRACE SETBACKS as part of your expert planning! A setback is just one more example of what to watch for in your ultimate success. As long as you are watching the obstacles that trip you up, you can make a plan to jump over them the next time. When letting go of bad habits, the brain thinks in all or nothing mode. “I ruined 45 days of healthy eating” is language your brain will use to keep you down, so don’t go there. Change that negative self-statement to “I have had 45 days of healthy eating” and one “respite” day from my program. Now I am ready to embark on the next 45 days.”
As always, if you are making changes to your diet, exercise routine or drug and alcohol consumption (yes, nicotine and caffeine are drugs), consult your medical and/or behavioral health team members first to ensure the changes you are making are medically and behaviorally sound for YOU.
Happy New Year, and CHEERS!
Dr. Kara Beair, DO, is a Resident Physician in Internal Medicine/Pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine
DISCLAIMER: The information presented in this email or blog and any related links is provided for educational, informational, and entertainment purposes only. You must never consider any of the information presented here as a substitute for consulting with your physician or health care provider for any medical/mental health conditions or concerns. Any information presented here is general information, is not medical advice, nor is it intended as advice for your personal situation. Please consult with your physician or health care provider if you have concerns about your health or suspect that you might have a problem.