How To Make Lifestyle Changes That Are Both Healthy And Lasting
Are you one of the many people who are contemplating making some changes next year? Many in the world find that saying goodbye to a pretty rough 2009 and ushering in a hopeful 2010 comes quite easily.
Most long-lasting and meaningful lifestyle changes take hard work and commitment. Why then, do so many who desire changes fail at achieving and keeping most, if not all, of their resolutions? The health clubs, jogging trails, weight loss centers and smoking cessation programs have sudden surges in use for the first few weeks of the year. This increased use is often followed by a high dropout rate within days or weeks.
One of the reasons that people do not succeed in their attempts to change is because of the irrational, distorted thinking that they employ when they make their planned changes.
For example, “I want to lose at least four pounds per week on my diet. If I don’t lose weight at this rate, then it’s not worth it, and I should quit trying.”
Why not set a more reasonable weight-loss goal and learn to accept variations in weight loss over time as a normal and healthy part of a successful diet?
Another example is the procrastinator’s desire to change. Ineffective thinking may include such beliefs as, “I want to quit being so much of a procrastinator next year. However, I have been this way for so long that I don’t know if I can change. If I do quit procrastinating, it can only be done if other people change, too.”
A better recipe for success will be to commit to the ability to change and then learn the skills that decrease the tendencies to procrastinate. The procrastinator’s change is not another’s responsibility. People can only change themselves.
Finally, there is the individual who desires to be more financially responsible.
“My New Year’s resolution is to be on a budget and save money. However, my friends have seen me spend a lot of money, and I don’t want them to think that I am broke.”
A healthier perspective instead will be to think “being financially responsible is a sign of maturity and responsibility. If my friends judge my abilities on the amount of money I spend, then I probably need another set of friends.”
Are you preparing to make some changes during 2010? If so, consider your thoughts and plans carefully. Make them reasonable, sensible and healthy.
Harold H. LeCrone, Jr., Ph.D. Copyright © 2009