BRING IT TO BARB Answering your questions on mental health, relationships and life issues

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Dear Barb,

My New Year’s resolution seems to be the same every year and I refuse to make it again this year and not see a little progress toward the promise I make to myself. Any suggestions?

Signed,
Tired of Failing

Dear Tired of Failing,

First of all, don’t feel like the lone ranger. You have not failed if you made an attempt each year with honest intentions to accomplish your plan and attain a goal or New Year’s resolution. The truth is, different strokes for different folks. Just one of the many methods people use to try to make changes in their lives is by a New Year’s resolution. People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions. Stating what you want out loud to yourself and to others is extremely imperative to reprogram your brain in order to accept something as normal, expecting a new demand or behavior. I remind my clients often one important fact about the brain which is “you move in the direction of your most dominant thoughts.” Your actions will always follow your thoughts and words! No surprise that the number one New Year’s resolution for 2017 at (21.4 percent) is “lose weight/healthier eating.” In this case your dominant thought should not be thinking about an ice cream cone. In the morning you may see Dairy Queen as you drive by but if you keep thinking about it off and on all day, I can guarantee you that by the end of the day you will be having an ice cream of some kind.

Your brain is the game changer that is essential in order to accomplish your goal and be successful with any New Year’s resolution. Just as the habit of thinking negatively continuously causes the synapses in your brain to trigger a “bridge” which gets stronger and easier with every negative thought, likewise dominant thoughts will form the easiest pathway and soon become normal. Your brain is very efficient and naturally lazy and will follow the pathway that is dominant and well traveled. Train your brain and think of a New Year’s resolution as an agreement for a new venture or a startup business project. Let’s use eating healthy and relate it to five major reasons a business will fail.

  1. You start your business for the wrong reasons: Clearly defining your reason for your resolution and why it is better for your life or happiness will increase your determination and belief in success

2.  Poor management: This requires you to educate yourself on skills needed for success. Eating healthier for example; care must be taken to regularly study, organize, plan and control all activities involved in meal planning and eating. This may even include enlisting meal services such as HelloFresh or Blue Apron delivering fresh meal kits to prepare at home with ingredients and steps for preparation.

3.  Insufficient capital – not an issue for Healthier eating: Trader Joe’s may be out of your budget, however, produce and raw ingredients will always be less expensive than pre-prepared processed foods.

4.  Location: In the case of eating healthy, the location you keep your available healthy snacks for a quick grab-n-go and where you can be located on a Friday night for happy hour and tempting appetizers will determine your success.

5.  Lack of Planning: Never waiting until you are starving to go grocery shopping or out to dinner just makes good sense. Make meal planning the normal.

Any New Year’s resolution will have an element of difficulty, but perhaps treating it as a business endeavor like it is a new, fun and exciting venture will take away the emotion when it becomes more challenging. Go ahead and make that New Year’s resolution one more time. What you think you become!

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