Well, here we are, again…it is the beginning of another year and the resurgence of New Year’s resolutions and commitments to healthier lifestyle choices permeates the thoughts of many. Gym memberships hit record highs in the month of January, the sale of nicotine patches soars and the excitement of a new beginning…a reset…provides a chance to try that diet or weight loss program once, again.

Nearly 50% of all Americans will make New Year’s resolutions, I think this is an amazing and inspiring thing. What is NOT so amazing is that something like 88% of those making the resolutions fail to follow through and achieve their desired outcome. Boredom, fatigue or other distractions arrive, and for so many, the enthusiasm, willpower and commitment to themselves for a healthier year ahead wanes, fizzles and fades as they find themselves back in the old patterns once again…

At this point you may be asking yourself, “Why do so many resolutions just remain unresolved?” Is it really all about a lack of willpower or weak convictions? What makes sustainable change so difficult for so many? How do I make my resolutions (goals) a reality so I can achieve my desired vision or outcome?

Author and speaker, John Maxwell, says that change is all about timing and the recognition of the willingness to make a change. As a long time coach, teacher and, now as a physician, I have learned to recognize the timing of that “willingness to change” in my patients and watch for one or more of these critical elements:

They hurt enough that they have to change…

They learn enough that they want to change…

They receive enough that they are able to change…

Once the desire and willingness to make a change arrives, it is vitally important to establish a vision, goals and a plan to make it happen. Creating a vision employs the imagination and creativity- it becomes the “photograph” of the desired outcome- it should be specific and full of details. The goals become objectives that are met on the way to attaining the vision. Goals need to be tied to specific behaviors or habits and are rarely achieved without intentional planning. Prior planning allows a way to navigate along the journey and often helps to prevent lost time, money and other valuable resources. Without these key elements of creating a vision, setting some goals and planning for success steps, so many often fail to live the life they dream.

So before you become discouraged or frustrated because you have been unable to maintain your New Year’s resolutions, take a moment to see if you might have missed a few critical steps that could get you right back on course.

Is the timing right? Do you have a vision so you know where you are going? Have you determined what key behaviors and/or habits that need to be developed so that can measure your progress toward your vision? Have you made the plans or taken steps that will help you succeed and achieve your goals?

If you are unable to answer one or more of these questions, then stop and take the time needed to create your vision, set your goals and plan your steps to ensure healthy vibrant life this year and for years to come.

The information contained in this article is for information and education purposes only and is not medical advice. Do not use this information as an alternative to obtaining medical advice from your physician or other professional healthcare provider. Always consult with your physician or other professional healthcare provider about any medical conditions you are experiencing. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, contact your local emergency services for help.


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