Join the 8% – A Resolution Revolution Part 2

Last week we talked about some of the reasons why only 8% of people are successful with New Year’s resolutions. If you haven’t read it yet, go here before you read any further. Today, I am going to give you some tools to help make your resolutions a success, and help you become a part of the 8 percent.

1. Start out Slow and Do Something You Love. We talked about self-efficacy. When adopting a lifestyle change, how you feel about your ability greatly determines how much success you will have. For example, exercisers who do not believe they have the skills to exercise have dramatically higher attrition rates, than those people who have a greater belief in their ability to perform certain skills. The same can be said for people who do not believe they can make other changes to their lives. Here are two easy ways to help get you started in making healthy life changes.

First, start out slow! Be realistic about what you are capable of right now. You do not have to shoot for the ultimate goal right now. Once you have established a certain comfort level, begin to slowly implement bigger changes. You should be challenging yourself, but it is ok to start where you are comfortable. Second, do something you love! No one said resolutions had to be a bad thing. Make two resolutions: one to do more of something you love, the other to make a healthy lifestyle change. As you find success doing more of what you love, you will feel more confident about being successful in other aspects of your life.

2. Set Goals. Goal setting has been shown to be an effective tool in helping to establish new habits and behaviors, and guide people to positive outcomes.

There are a few things to consider when making your goals. Your goals should be….

Specific: Be precise in what you want to accomplish.

Measurable: Goals should be quantifiable and measurable on some scale.

Attainable: It needs to be possible!

Realistic: Start where you are now; be rational and pragmatic.

Recorded: WRITE THEM DOWN.

Timed: Goals need to be on a timeline.

I intentionally misspelled “SMART” because that is how important it is to write your goals down. Post them on your mirror, on your refrigerator, or on the visor of your car. Make sure they are someplace you are going to see and read EVERY DAY. They do not hold any weight if they are not a tangible reminder of what you want to accomplish.

Follow up and adjust your goals accordingly. Your goals should be living, and growing, and changing with you! Were you too ambitious in your goals the first time around? That’s ok! Set new goals more appropriate to where you are right now. Evaluate the reasons behind not reaching your goal, and take what you find into consideration for your next set of goals. (Here’s a goal setting worksheet to get you started!)

3. Self-Monitoring: How will you know if you are accomplishing your goals? Keep track! My favorite method is old school: get a notebook. Write down what you accomplished that day that contributed to your resolution. Keep the notebook accessible and update it regularly. Write down how you felt that day, what was going on in your life, and what you did. Keep your goals in here, too. A notebook is a great, tangible reminder of your progress and the work you have put in. If you are diligent with keeping track, your notebook will provide a good source of accountability. (I am obsessed with this Habit Tracker, it makes keeping track and holding yourself accountable SO easy!)

4. Set Yourself Up for Success: In the land of psychology, we call this “stimulus control” which in this context means changing your environment to make it more conducive to making healthy choices. To me, “stimulus control” sounds too clinical; “set yourself up for success” has the same implication without the lingering smell of a doctor’s office. Small changes to your environment can make a big difference in your resolution “stick-to-it-iveness”. Is your resolution to get more exercise? Set out your exercise clothes the night before. Are you trying to spend less money? Only grab your Starbucks on Monday mornings. Are you eating healthier? Clean out the pantry (you’ve meant to do it for months now, anyway!) Making these changes will help to make your environment more conducive to change, and help to better encourage success.

5. Involve Significant Others: Incorporating people you like into your resolutions can help you to be more successful. You don’t have to splash them all over social media, but telling the people you care for about your goals can help to build your support network, giving you someone to turn to when you have a challenge, and someone to celebrate with when you have success! Involving other people in your goals also adds another level of accountability.

6. Change your Mindset: Attitude is everything! Remember what we said about being mentally ready for change? This is where that comes in.

Find Your Motivation: Motivation is a dynamic concept; it changes on a daily basis. Think about WHY are you making this resolution? Make a list of your personal reasons for change. Take time to really think about it. Why this? Why now? Really dig in. You have a purpose; everyday you should be living it. Make a list of the reasons why you get out of bed in the morning. Put that list with your goals. Make a dozen copies; keep one in your wallet, put one in your gym bag, have one in your phone. Anytime you think “I’ll do it tomorrow,” pull out that list. Read it. Reread it. Keep reading it until you remember why you are here and why you strive to make these changes.

Tackle Obstacles: Let’s face it: life happens. We make mistakes; we fall off the wagon; we lose focus. Obstacles are not what define us; it is how we overcome them that make the difference. Address your challenges through problem solving. Look at the problem in detail, break down the series of events that led to it, brainstorm a solution. Make a pros and cons list. Choose the best solution, and give yourself a deadline to complete it (Grave et al., 2010). Write everything down; include your challenges in your journal. Above all else, do not be discouraged by obstacles and challenges. (Yup, there’s a worksheet to help you Take Down Your Obstacles, too!)

Positive Self-Talk: Your thoughts greatly influence your moods and behaviors. We all have a constant monologue running through our minds. This self-talk; “positive self-talk” is literally affirmative comments you are making to yourself. Keeping your inner monologue positive will help you to face down your obstacles, and build your confidence in your abilities. “I can do this.” “Great job, keep up the good work!” Statements as simple as these can work wonders on your outlook. Maintaining a positive, rational, and functional way of thinking can greatly improve your adherence to a healthy lifestyle.

 

Establishing a behavioral change is difficult. Find your motivation. Set goals. Do something you love, involve people you care about, improve your environment. Be patient and optimistic. Accept challenges; learn from failures. Grow. Celebrate your success. Implement these tools and you will be part of the 8 percent of people who find success in their resolutions.

You’ve Got This!

Katie

 

 

References

Baechle, T. & Earle, R. Essentials of Strength and Conditioning, 3rd edition. Human Kinetics. 2008.

Dalle Grave, R., Calugi, S., El Ghoch, M., & Marchesini, G. (2010). “Cognitive Behavioral Strategies to Increase Adherence to Exercise in the Management of Obesity.” Journal of Obesity, 2011, 1-11.

Levy, A., Polman, R., & Marchant, D., “Examining the Revised Theory of Planned Behavior for Predicting Exercise Adherence: A Preliminary Prospective Study.”www.athleticinsight.com. Vol. 10, Iss. 3. (2008).

McAuley, E. (1991). “The Role of Efficacy Cognitions in the Prediction of Exercise Behavior in Middle-Aged Adults.” Plenum Publishing Corporation. p 65-88.

“The Psychology of Exercise and Fitness” (2008).psychcentral.com

“The Exercise Effect.”www.apa.org. Vol. 42, No. 11, December 2011.


Join the 8% – A Resolution Revolution Part 1

8 percent. That’s how many people report being successful with their New Year’s Resolutions. 8 percent. Out of 100 people you know, only 8 of them will be successful in their resolutions. Yikes. So what is it about resolutions that make it so hard for them to be successful?

Behavioral change is hard. It takes time. And patience. And dedication. And mental fortitude. And determination. And will power. And accountability. It seems daunting. Challenging. Impossible even. Well, its not. Impossible that is. Change is still hard, and it can be daunting, but I’m hoping that after you read this post, you will have a little bit better understanding of WHY these changes can be so hard; and after next week, you will feel prepared to conquer your resolutions and become part of the 8 percent.

We make resolutions in an effort to incite a change in our lives be it to get healthy, lose weight, quit smoking, read more, spend less, the list goes on. No matter what the actual resolution is, the process all comes down to behavioral change. Change tends to be uncomfortable and when you’re changing something about yourself, it can be even more so. Let’s face it: we don’t continue a bad behavior because it’s good for us! We all know what we should be doing, so why don’t we? There has been a lot of research into behavioral changes, specifically around fitness and sticking with an exercise regimen. The concepts that I’m covering are rooted in exercise adherence research, but are hugely applicable to every aspect of your life.

1. Self-Efficacy: When studying exercise adherence, researchers have found that a contributing factor in peoples’ likelihood to pursue and stick with regular exercise is what psychologists call “self-efficacy,” which is a fancy way of saying a person’s belief in their ability to perform a specific action or behavior. It is important to note that self-efficacy has nothing to do with actual abilities but your belief in your abilities (McAuley, 1991). Substitute “exercise” with “change” and this information is just as applicable to your resolutions. Research shows that people with higher levels of self-efficacy tend to have better success in implementing healthy behavioral changes. These people also tend to put forth more effort and persist longer when faced with obstacles and adverse situations (McAuley, 1991). Simply put, people who believe that they are “good at” something, tend to try harder when things become difficult or uncomfortable, and are more likely to implement healthy behavioral changes. And yes, you can increase your self-efficacy.

2. Goals and Expectations: Being realistic in your expectations is important when beginning anything new. Focusing on the outcome, or being too ambitious in your expectations can actually lead to higher rates of attrition. Change is a slow process. When people do not see the results they want as quickly as they want to, or their expectations are not met in the time they expect them to be, they become discouraged, and often give up. Setting appropriate goals is vital in successfully changing your life. Monitoring and adjusting your goals, as necessary is an important step in the process. Being mindful of your expectations, and being patient with the process will help to set you on the path to success.

3. Psychological State: Current psychological well-being is often a determinant in how likely a person is to adopt behavioral change. Making a resolution for the sake of having a resolution is a recipe for failure. You have to be ready to tackle a new change. You have to be prepared to put in the work and face the challenges. In order for a positive change to take place, you have to WANT to change. Change your mind, and your life will follow.

 

So, what does this all mean? And, more importantly, what does this mean for you? For one, it means you are not alone! Many people struggle with the same challenges every day. Two, it means we’ve got some work to do! You’ve set your resolutions. You’re here – reading this – that means you already have some interest in making changes to your life. So let’s take the next step together.

Next week, I will be outlining some tools you can use to help set yourself up for success and join the 8 percent!

Let’s Do This!

Katie

 

 

References

Baechle, T. & Earle, R. Essentials of Strength and Conditioning, 3rd edition. Human Kinetics. 2008.

Dalle Grave, R., Calugi, S., El Ghoch, M., & Marchesini, G. (2010). “Cognitive Behavioral Strategies to Increase Adherence to Exercise in the Management of Obesity.” Journal of Obesity, 2011, 1-11.

Levy, A., Polman, R., & Marchant, D., “Examining the Revised Theory of Planned Behavior for Predicting Exercise Adherence: A Preliminary Prospective Study.” www.athleticinsight.com. Vol. 10, Iss. 3. (2008).

McAuley, E. (1991). “The Role of Efficacy Cognitions in the Prediction of Exercise Behavior in Middle-Aged Adults.” Plenum Publishing Corporation. p 65-88.

“The Psychology of Exercise and Fitness” (2008). psychcentral.com

“The Exercise Effect.”www.apa.org. Vol. 42, No. 11, December 2011.


Holiday Party Survival Guide

small survival guide

 

Two weeks ago, Dr. Rob sent a blog highlighting ways to increase your immune system including proper dietary choices this Holiday Season. However, as you gather for holiday parties with family, friends and co-workers, it seems like everyone is insistently eager for you to try their pie, encourage you to drink glass after glass of eggnog, and add another helping of potato latkes to your plate. So how do you politely decline their generous offers so you can maintain your health, without being rude or insulting to your host?

Here are some of our helpful tactics and lessons we have learned that will help you maintain your health integrity and ensure that you are re-invited to the next social gathering!

1. Don‘t arrive on an empty stomach! If you know you are going somewhere there will be lots of temptations, eat before you arrive so you are not hungry and won’t cave into eating everything that is set before you. However, there may be some hosts that simply won’t allow you to come to their home or party without eating something (if your family is anything like my Greek family, you know exactly what I mean). In these cases, rather than appearing ungrateful, allow the person to be hospitable in other ways. If they offer you cake or a cocktail, politely decline but ask for some fruit or a cup of coffee/tea. By accepting something, you will appease your host and stay true to your nutrition plan.

2. Offer to bring something! Prepare your own healthy and delicious meal or appetizer. If other dishes don’t fall in line with your eating patterns, at least you will have something you can eat. You can also be a positive influence on your friends and family by showing them that healthy food can be really tasty! This also works with beverages. Rather than consuming eggnog and cocktails, you can bring your own organic wine, fancy sparkling water or gluten free beer.

3. Don’t stand by the food! If you spend your time socializing with those that are gathered around the food table, it will be all too tempting and easy to eat. Even worse, because you will be enthralled in conversation, you won’t be mindful of what you’re eating, and will no doubt overeat. Instead, visit the food table, take what is appropriate, and then step away from the table! If it’s out of sight, it will be less tempting to pick up.

��4.��Avoid the food pushers! I’m sure we all have those relatives and friends that love to pressure you into eating. They come over to you in an innocent way, encouraging you to try the indulgence they are sharing, convincing you that, “it’s the holidays, just have one, a little won’t hurt you.” It’s hard to face pressure like this from your family and co-workers. Although they typically say such things innocently and out of love, it puts you in a difficult position, as you don’t want to appear ungrateful, but you also know that if you eat that fruitcake it will be toxic to your body and lower your immune system. So, if you see that notorious food pusher at the party, do your best to avoid her. If she sneak attacks you, you can politely decline what she is offering and try one of the tactics above, such as asking her for something else. If she insists you take it, and even worse, waits in front of you as you take a bite, scrutinizing your facial expressions in hopes of a positive reaction, then take a small bite, compliment her cooking, and she will be off to find the next unsuspecting guest. If all else fails, you can always go with, “I’m sorry, my chiropractor gave me strict instructions to eliminate sugar for the next few weeks in order to enhance my care and help me reach my health goals.” Usually if you say doctor’s orders, people will back off.

5.Have a food plan! If you didn’t have an opportunity to eat before arriving or to prepare your own dish, know what to eat and what to avoid. Focus on eating vegetables, fruits and proteins (meat, nuts and some cheese) instead of breads, crackers, cookies and other treats. Having a plan will allow you to make more confident food choices during all of these “off-track” opportunities. You can also offset some of the negative and inflammatory effects of these party foods by ensuring your other meals that day, and the next day, are composed of high quality, low toxicity foods. Lastly, be sure to take your Vitamin D, probiotics, and make yourself a glass of Dr. Rob’s fizzy lifting drink.

 

If you are still confused about what constitutes as a high quality food choice, be sure to register for our next workshop on January 26th, 2017, “The Fuel Project: a revolutionary look at food requirements and the human body”.

 

Have any tricks of your own? Please share them in our comments section!

Be well,

Lea

 


Reimagine the Power of Giving: 2016 Holiday Giving Guide

small final-giving

 

What do you get that special person who has everything for Christmas or Hanukkah? Does a new scarf or sweater enter your mind? Chances are the ones you hold most dear aren’t wishing for more “stuff”. This holiday season, we are exercising the power of giving. A gift can have the potential to change someone’s health or life forever. Below, we highlighted 4 of our favorite ways to give, aimed at elevating the health and life of those who have much less. Let us help you re-imagine the true meaning of these holidays with our 2016 Giving Guide!

Charity Water: Clean water. It’s one of the most basic needs of life itself. But how many people in this world live without this most basic resource? Imagine the entire population of the United States x2! Unclean water, and the plethora of diseases cultivated from it, is said to kill more people than all forms of violence annually worldwide. This single statistic is what drives Charity Water. They assist communities throughout Africa, Asia, and Central and South America in gaining access to this simple, but vital, resource by helping them to establish clean water supplies throughout their communities. Charity water prides themselves on being 100% transparent where all donations go directly to the field instead of organization costs. Learn more here.

We donate regularly through our Amazon purchases by linking our purchases to Charity Water through Amazon Smile.

Heifer International: The gift of a goat isn’t just the preferred Greek wedding dowry any longer. Today, you can give the gift of a goat, water buffalo, honey bees, an alpaca, (or more!) to help communities in need throughout Africa, Asia, and the Americas. “Heifer links communities and helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty. [Their] animals provide partners with both food and reliable income, as agricultural products such as milk, eggs and honey can be traded or sold at market.” Learn more here.

Watch their video here.

Cradles to Crayons: As your kids receive more clothes and gifts from relatives this year, there are children out there who would love the neglected clothes, toys, and games sitting deep inside your closets with the price tags still attached. Cradles to Crayons actively collects and distributes new or like new clothing, school supplies, and toys to give underprivileged kids a head start and has the potential to send ripples of hope and optimism throughout their lives. With locations in Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia (and pickup locations throughout these greater metro areas) donating to this remarkable organization is easy. Learn more here.

Gift Cards for Homeless: We’ve all been approached by homeless individuals here in Boston asking for help. Depending on their timing and where our mind was at that moment, we either didn’t notice them, stopped and opened up our pocket, or walked past with a bit of guilt. Coming back from a recent trip to Chicago and seeing shanty villages under the expressway in the 20 degree freeze, I thought to myself, “I have a couple of millimeters of free space in my wallet! Why not always keep a small gift card to a local restaurant or coffee shop to give to them?” A simple idea, with a big impact.

 


 

Want to directly impact the life of someone special to you? Our current practice members can still purchase the 2016 Gift of Health for a limited time only! Get them started on the road to health this new year!

 


 

Not a practice member? Find out about how we may be able to help you by visiting our website.