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Making Your New Year’s Resolution a Success

Posted in Fitness, Health & Wellness

Many Americans make the same mistake at the beginning of every year by positioning themselves toward inevitable failure. Researchers have estimated that 88 percent of New Year’s resolutions quickly fall to the wayside.

When it comes to resolutions, there are very few that are bad ideas. The most common involve losing weight, eating healthier, reading more and other goals to make us better or healthier individuals. So why do all of these great plans usually fail?

The Mental Overload

Professor Baba Shiv, of Stanford University, conducted an experiment with her undergraduates. She split them into two groups and gave Group 1 two digits to remember and Group 2 seven digits to remember. After a short period of time, the two groups were offered a choice between two snacks: fruit or chocolate cake. Group 1 chose the fruit, the healthier choice, while the majority of Group 2 chose the chocolate cake. Her experiment proved that Group 2 were experimenting a “cognitive load” which made it harder for them to resist the least healthy, yet tastier option.

People with really good, personal intentions often choose to take on several life-changing tasks at once. Hit the gym, change the diet, eat more vegetables and run at the crack of dawn every morning, among other things. The “cognitive load” creates this 88 percent failure rate, which leads you right to the chocolate cake. The old adage of “too much too soon” fits perfectly with this January-induced scenario.

Just Pick One

For those of you who picked several resolutions and are already slipping, the best option is to whittle your resolutions down to just one. One single, well-defined resolution. What is most important to you? Is your personal health at risk? Do you want to bulk up or slim down for the summer?

Everyone has an ultimate goal. Picking that one, and just that one, ensures that you won’t experience a sensory overload. New Year’s resolutions shouldn’t be about multi-tasking, but about making the effort to improve your life one step at a time and become the best and healthiest you can be.

The 21-Day Myth

Society has created a myth that habits become solidified in just 21 days. (The idea stemmed from Dr. Maxwell Maltz’s research on people’s self-image in regard to task-to-completion in 21 days.) As much as we wish the 21-day suggestion were true, creating or breaking a habit isn’t that easy. It takes effort, even failure, to achieve those goals.

Removing snacks from your diet cold turkey makes the task all the more impossible. Forcing yourself to run every morning when you hate even the thought of waking up creates more obstacles to overcome. Life-altering achievements aren’t accomplished overnight and creating a healthier lifestyle is just that – a lifestyle. It is a daily effort. When you fail to go to the gym on your scheduled day, then just go the next day or your next scheduled day. It isn’t over just because you fail. Just keep working at it. Keep eating right even if you do slip headfirst into a chocolate cake scenario.

30-Day Challenge

Many people find that they don’t so much fail at their resolutions as simply forget about them. Daily life crowds out thoughts about your goals, and the next thing you know, it’s June and you never lost that weight. To counteract this all too common occurrence, try making a resolution at the start of each month. Set an achievable goal every month, then renew it each month or move on to the next goal.

There are numerous ways to tackle your New Year’s resolutions, but the traditional, scatterbrained method has proven to leave a majority of Americans feeling the sting of failure. Success is right around the corner, just avoid the “cognitive load” and keep your goals manageable.

Cosmetic surgery and skin rejuvenating procedures can be the perfect way to give your resolution some momentum – or to reward yourself for achieving a goal. For a consultation with Dr. Livingston, contact us today.