FREE 5 BIG Food Mistakes GuideGET IT NOW
Lose Weight Now!


Forget New Year's Resolutions. Here's why...

Do this instead, because it works.

FREE Food Mistakes Guide

5 BIG Food Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Get It Now!
by Wendy Goldman in Healthy Eating, Seasonal Eating

Happy New Year! You’re probably being bombarded with messages about setting and sticking with New Year’s resolutions about now. My advice – forget about them. Here’s what really works…

Resolutions don’t work for the vast majority of people. A study showed that 92% of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions. 92%! Only 8% of people actually stick with them. Despite people’s good intentions, by the end of January, they’re back to their old habits, and the resolutions went out the window.

The key here is habits. Habits are behavior patterns that are unconscious, so we’re not consciously aware of them. Whatever our good intentions, once we get back to our regular routine of life, and stress happens, we automatically fall back into our old unconscious habits.

That’s why resolutions don’t work for most people. In order to change a habit, you have to become consciously aware of the habit, and consciously work to change it. That may sound hard, but it’s really not.

I had a patient who ate pretty healthy most of the time, and when she got stressed at work she’d eat chips and drink soda. She never ate that stuff normally. And she didn’t want to eat that stuff, ever. But, she had an old unconscious stress behavior that was the default setting in her unconscious mind of how to cope with stress.

We wanted to change that default setting to something healthier. (We all have these, by the way, and you can change them!)

The first step is to become consciously aware that they’re there. When you find yourself doing a behavior that you’d like to change, become aware of what you’re doing. What triggered the behavior? Was it stress, or a particular thing happening? There’s always a trigger, so first figure out what triggers the habit.

Then figure out what you’d like to do instead, that’s a healthier choice than the old habit. In the example above, we came up with some healthier options to manage stress than eating chips and drinking sodas.

For example, taking a break and going for a walk, doing deep breathing, or taking a few minutes to do something else that worked for her. Other things than eating, which is a really good way to put on unwanted weight.

The idea is to break the pattern and replace it with healthier choices.

Like the law of physics that says “nature abhors a vacuum”, so does the unconscious mind. You can’t just stop doing something without consciously replacing the habit with something you’d rather do. For example, a lot of people stop smoking, then eat when they have the urge to smoke, then put on weight. They removed the old habit of smoking, but didn’t consciously replace it with a healthier choice. So the unconscious mind filled the vacuum with eating when they weren’t hungry, another unhealthy habit.

You can use this to change any habit. Here are the steps:

  1. Decide which habit you’d like to change.
  2. Figure out the trigger(s).
  3. Come up with at least three healthier options/ behaviors you can use when you notice you’re in the old habit. (Do this in advance. It won’t work if you try to come up with options when you’re stressed or triggered.)
  4. Every time you catch yourself doing the old habit / behavior, consciously do one or more of the healthier options you came up with in step 3.

Over time, you’ll replace the old habit with the new one you’d like instead. It does take a little time, but it works.

The good news is that it gets easier over time, and you’ll notice that you’re becoming aware of your triggers sooner, so you can stop the pattern before it even starts.

Let’s say “x” trigger happens, and that triggers “y” feeling, and then you overeat, or eat junk food, or whatever unhealthy behavior. This is the unconscious behavior pattern. It looks like this:

“x” trigger —–> “y” feeling —–> unhealthy behavior

At first, you catch yourself eating junk food, become aware of it, stop, and do the new behavior instead. Maybe after you do that a couple of times, you notice you’re having the feeling that in the past would have led you to eat junk food. Instead of eating the junk food, you stop yourself at the feeling, and do the new healthier behavior, and never even get to the point of eating junk food.

A little later, you notice “x” trigger, stop the pattern immediately, and never even get to the feeling. You don’t feel bad, and you don’t eat junk food. You catch the pattern at the start, and never even go down that old path. Instead you do new healthier behaviors. You’re actually reprogramming your unconscious mind to do the new healthier behavior. Pretty cool, huh?!

One important tip, though: start with something small. Don’t pick your worst, biggest, baddest habit. Start with an easy one, so you get a feel for how it works, get a small win, then as you get better at it, you can move to bigger habits.

So forget resolutions. Pick a habit to change and start there.

This is a powerful technique. Imagine where you could be this time next year…

What one habit are you going to change now? Let me know so I can cheer you on!

FREE Food Mistakes Guide

5 BIG Food Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Get It Now!