6 ways to train your brain to stick to your resolutions for a healthier new year
The new year always brings feelings of motivation and inspiration, to start new healthy habits and make this year the best year yet!
But alas, 2 weeks in and most of us have fallen off track already.
Why? The weather…. It’s cold and gloomy. The economy…. We are broke from holiday spending. The business and the kids. Your aching joints.
The list goes on and on.
In reality, failure comes from trying to bring the old "You" into the "New" year and expecting change. The same physical, mental and emotional machine that was there before the clock struck midnight is still going to be there after the champagne pops.
For the New Year to deliver permanent healthy habits in your life, it's necessary to retrain your body and reprogram your brain to approach things differently and with a greater purpose. It's not a matter of working harder. It's a matter of working smarter.
It’s time to Re-Train your Brain!
Here are six of the most common debilitating “old” beliefs you may try to bring into the New Year, and how you can retrain your mind, body, and soul to overcome them.
1. YOU SAY TO YOURSELF, "I NEED TO STOP STRESSING"
Re-Program: The day-to-day "stress" we experience is not inherently bad. It's merely our physiological reaction to demand, expectation, challenges and new situations. Consequently, these are all of the things that give our life purpose and help us grow.
You cannot eliminate stress in your life and anyone who says you can is wrong. You can, however, link the expectations, demands and challenges in your life to a bigger purpose.
When we believe all of the things that cause stress in our life are working toward this purpose, we are fueled instead of failed by the natural physiological response of stress.
So when you start to feel stressed about being stressed, just stop and think “it’s ok, this too shall pass and it will lead me toward my purpose”.
2. "I WOULD [INSERT HEALTH RELATED ACTIVITY HERE], BUT I DON’T HAVE TIME."
Re-Program: You have time for the things you prioritize. "I don't have time" means "It's not a priority." It's true that you can't do everything. However, we inherently do the things we believe are essential.
Consider the things prioritized in your life ahead of your health. What do they need in order to continue? The answer? YOU! As a matter of fact, these things don’t just need you to show up, they need you to perform. You can do neither without your health, so you must make your health a priority!
For example, your job and your family. To be efficient at work, and to take care of your kids and your husband well, you need to take care of yourself first! You can’t pour from an empty cup. You can’t keep giving and giving when you’re never re-filling the source.
If you can’t find the motivation to make time, just remember you are doing this for your family, your kids, your co-workers, etc. You want to be able to be the best YOU, for THEM.
3. "I CAN'T [INSERT HEALTHY HABIT HERE]."
Re-Program: The things we fail to do in our life fit into two distinct categories: The things we literally cannot do and the things we won’t do. In reality, the bucket of "I won'ts" is astronomically larger than the actual "I can'ts."
The "I can'ts" quickly get in the way of new healthy habits. This year, instead of using the phrase, "I can’t," try "I won't" and see how that feels. If your healthy habit goal is essential to you, "I won't" is unacceptable.
“I won’t workout in the mornings. I won’t clean up my diet.” Feels different when you put it that way, doesn’t it?
4. "I'M STARTING A DIET."
Re-Program: When it comes to your health, "diet" should always be a noun, never a verb. As humans, we require energy, and food is where we get this energy. The way we choose to energize ourselves with food is our “diet.” Low-energy (low nutritional value) food severely limits our energy capacity. High-energy (high nutritional value) food expands our energy capacity. When we eat something that isn't "food," it doesn't really do anything positive for us.
Considering all of the above, your daily diet should be a reflection of how you would like to feel from an energy standpoint. There’s room for high-energy, low-energy and even no-energy food in every diet. Focus on adjusting the ratios of each to feel the way you would like to feel.
5. "I CAN'T GET TO THE GYM"
Re-Program: The "gym" is not a magical land of health. We were without gyms for thousands of years, and managed to stay seriously fit. As a matter of fact, obesity rates have risen dramatically since the advent of "gyms."
To improve your physiology, psychology and overall health, research suggests at least 140 minutes a week of relatively intense exercise. This can include walking, hiking, dancing or even rollerblading.
The more active we are, the more positively it affects our health, whether it's done in a gym, basement, pool or on the slopes of a snow-covered mountain.
Yes, resistance training, high-intensity intervals, flexibility, etc., are awesome options. However, a base of 20 minutes a day of anything that elevates your heart rate significantly will not only save your life, but also make your daily life feel like it’s worth saving.
6. "I NEED MORE WILLPOWER."
Re-Program: When it comes to creating healthy habits in your life, you take action based on one of two choices: You care or you don’t. You need a purpose for change that is so essential it makes you care. Willpower has no part in this.
We can’t care about and take action on everything all the time. When you select a habit to change, pick one thing at a time. Identify your purpose for creating change. Why is it essential? Why do you care?
If you experience failure, examine your purpose. Did you identify something truly near and dear to your beliefs and values?
Re-Programming your brain for the New Year starts today. Start building your mental, physical and spiritual machine that creates success in every area of your life.
Live extraordinary in 2018!