Showing posts with label change. Show all posts
Showing posts with label change. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Successful Change


By Marissa Winters, MA, RDN
Integrative Nutritionist

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new”-Socrates.

Did you know that less than 10% of people successfully achieve their New Year’s resolutions? According to one study, about 80% of resolutions fail by the second week in February. So…. how are you doing with your resolutions? Or did you not even make any this year, because, why bother?

Change is challenging because it is uncomfortable. It forces us to practice new behaviors, and a part of us resists this because we don’t like feeling the discomfort that comes with a different approach. The brain prefers the known to the new. Successful change depends on being very clear about what the change will bring to your life. What is the underlying value you anticipate? So often, we don’t take the time to address this. For example, you may want to lose weight because you know you “should”. But the pivotal issue is, how will making this change affect your life? Losing weight because you “should” is not as powerful a motivator as is losing weight so you can feel more confident in your clothes, or be more energetic so you can play with your kids or grandkids, or experience more ease when you move. Being clear on the values supported by your intentioned change gives the framework to measure your behaviors. The feeling you are after becomes your guidepost. Does each action you are choosing bring you closer to the things you value and want to have in your life?

Focusing on the values brings clarity about how you want to feel in your new life. How does You 2.0 feel when you wake up? What does You 2.0 feel when you eat lunch? When you run your end of the day errands? When you get home? When you get in bed? How do you want to feel?

Once you get clear on the feelings you are working towards, put it in writing. No, really - it needs to be expressed, not just kept in your head. Make a vision board (on your phone, on Pinterest, or on paper) or write a description of your perfect day. Look at this tool often to keep yourself focused on where you are heading. People who write things down have a 50% greater success rate than those who carry it in their head. (This includes diet journals.)

By focusing on the feelings you want to generate, you get better at recognizing when your actions are out of alignment with your goals. It is akin to turning a large cruise ship. It takes persistence and a consistent tugging on the wheel to move through the prevailing current. When you notice yourself slipping, keep turning the wheel. Take one minute to step back and remind yourself of your desired goal and the feelings it brings. In a few weeks, you’ll realize that the “old” way of doing things becomes uncomfortable. When that happens, you’re on your way. Congratulations!

Learn more about nutritional counseling at Hackensack Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine and call 732-994-7855 to make an appointment!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

New Year’s Resolutions and Goal Setting


By Lisa Sussman, Psy.D.
Health Psychologist
Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine

Happy 2017! As the start of a new year naturally turns our attention towards taking stock and setting a new year’s resolution, you have probably started to think about what you’d like to accomplish or change over the course of this year. “I want to be healthier” or “I want to be happier” are all examples of the first step of resolutions, yet they lack a focus and a structure, which makes them tougher to accomplish. Goal setting is a great tool to guide you as you hone in on the specifics of your resolution and how to get there.

Before you set your goals though, you want to think about the level of commitment you can make towards achieving this resolution. What are your priorities, and how much time do you realistically have to devote to this endeavor? Current work, family, finances, other interests, and health status all need to be considered, as, from year-to-year, goals change due to these factors. The last thing you want to happen is setting the bar too high and feeling disappointed or giving up. You want to set goals that are challenging and help you rise to the next level, but that aren’t too lofty that you are setting yourself up for failure.

Your goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. For instance, the New Year’s resolution, “I’m going to live a healthier lifestyle” is a good start; however, the lack of specificity may hinder your focus and ability to accomplish this. One way to transform the resolution into a SMART goal is: I’m going to meditate 10 minutes a day and eat 7 servings of fruits and vegetables every day (specific). I will keep a daily log to measure my progress (measurable). I’ve never meditated before so I’ll start by downloading a meditation app, learn the guidelines on how to meditate successfully, and listen to the guided meditations provided. I will pick out and buy one new fruit and one new vegetable to try each week (achievable). I will meditate in the morning before I get out of bed, and I will talk to my family about incorporating more fruits and vegetables into our meals (realistic). I will do this and log my progress for the next six weeks and then assess where I’m at, and make new short-term goals (time-bound). When you turn your resolution into a SMART goal, you will know exactly when you accomplish it, giving you that boost of encouragement to move to work towards the next step as well as the chance to savor the moment and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.

So, for 2017, what is an exciting yet realistic goal for you to reach toward? It would be helpful to first brainstorm and write down your ideas, then choose a couple to start with, and rewrite them into a SMART goals format. You can revise them anytime you’d like. Posting your goals in a place you will view them frequently, such as taping them to your computer, the fridge or the steering wheel will help to keep you on task and motivate you.

May you accomplish your resolutions and learn along the way, and Happy New Year!