During the start of the New Year most people make resolutions about lifestyle
changes - mainly covering smoking cessation, exercise, eating habits, coping
with stress at work etc.
However, still filled with good intentions, by January 3rd these resolutions
either fail or falter. This article aims to add support to your New Year
or not-so-New Year's resolutions.
Experts have shown that designing a detailed plan you will dramatically
increase your success rate. For example, a crew cannot construct a building
without a detailed plan. Why should you view your health program any differently?
A baseline is a measurement of the existing behaviour and noting when and
how often that behaviour occurs before treatment. Examples include, how
often and when a person uses tobacco, or eats high calorie foods, or displays
outbursts of anger. The baseline measurement of the behaviour, will helps
you set realistic goals and identify future improvement levels.
A trigger is simply anything that causes or increases the likelihood of
behaviour. Therefore, if we know when and what is motivating behaviour,
we can create future interventions by planning alternative coping mechanisms.
If you have attempted to change your behaviour in the past but have not
succeeded, what exactly went wrong? What will be different this time? Therefore,
when you previously tried to reach a goal, you should have learned something
about yourself and the behaviour, which can be applied, to your new attempt.
Two of the most frequently cited reasons for personal failure are inadequate
time management and/or increased levels of stress. Changing behaviour is
hard enough without the additional difficulty of trying to balance out work,
interpersonal relationships, family, and everyday life situations. Unfortunately,
when things get stressful, people often relapse back to their old unhealthy
behaviour's. Knowing this ahead of time, you must plan and prepare strategies
for such future events.
Research concludes that the people who succeed at making lifestyle changes
typically have exceptional support systems. Consequently, telling others
about your goals and objective increases your accountability to the behaviour.
From the very start, your should begin by telling those around you about
your fitness program, this way you will increase your likelihood of success
by enlisting greater levels of support. This contract will not only increase
the support of those around you but it will also makes your commitment public
and help to convince both you and others that you are serious about this
As part of the strategy explained above, initiate ways to increase the involvement
of others in your efforts. For example, you could always lure a friend into
joining and committing to behaviour with you. Having someone to workout
with or quit chewing tobacco can drastically boost your success rate. No
matter if it a spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, roommate, co- worker, or even
an acquaintance, being accountable to someone other than yourself will help
to keep you on track.
With any new venture or attempt it is imperative to have the right mental
attitude. For instance, winners always have the mindset that their goals
are possible and within reach. Not everyone has this positive outlook, but
it can be improved through both positive self-talk and visualization. Thus,
you must visualize yourself already achieving your new lifestyle. You must
develop a mental image of who you want to become and then act as if you
are that person. See yourself as a nonsmoker, as a fit - healthy person,
as an emotionally pleased human being.
Starting an exercise regimen can be physically and mentally draining, with
few immediate results. An effective coping method would be to link an alternate
activity that you find personally rewarding with your exercises. Therefore,
you should find something to look forward to that can be combined or achieved
with your exercise program. Choose something that makes you feel intrinsically
great about your exercise commitment and you will increase you chances of
success. Whether it is a deserving massage, hot tub, or a satisfying healthy
meal, your behaviour needs reinforcement so you can feel good about your
Another way to increase your success and motivation is to keep a visual
record of your accomplishments. This can be done by simply writing on a
calendar or using a daily progress chart. : Although, most people today
choose to track their achievements and setbacks by writing in a daily journal.
The journal works because it further holds you accountable to your daily
behaviours. Therefore, if you write about your efforts, then you are more
likely to follow through on your goals.
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