Research shows that only about 8 percent of people are successful in achieving their New Year’s resolutions. A google search on New Year’s Resolutions shows the same ten resolutions rise to the top.

Three desired lifestyle changes consistently show up every year.

  • Get Healthy: a 13.77 percent increase over last year
  • Live Life to the Fullest: spiking by 13.04 percent from last year
  • Spend Less/Save More: up 17.47 percent from 2016

One reason we see the same resolutions year after year is that we’re terrible at seeing them through.

Here are 5 common mistakes you make when trying to make lifestyle changes. Number 5 may surprise you.   

1. Youre too restrictive

A commitment to get healthy often involves a restrictive mindset of elimination or deprivation. We inherently want more of what we can’t have as soon we can’t have it. Whether it’s food, alcohol, cigarettes, television, social media, people or something else, when your mind feels restriction it increases desire.

2. You’re too aggressive

Remember “slow and steady wins the race”. Especially when becoming active and even if you aren’t racing. If you haven’t been active and you start out too aggressively you’re more likely to become sore, injured or exhausted and unable or unwilling to keep it up.

3. You’re not clear on WHY you want to make the change

If you’re making the change because you think it’s something you should do versus something you want to do you will be less likely to maintain your commitment. You need to know WHY the change is important to you.

It’s one thing to say I’m going to lose 10 pounds. It’s quite another to say I’m going to lose 10 pounds because I want to be able to run and play effortlessly with my child/dog/friend.

Success comes from knowing WHY you want to make the change.

Make sure you know WHY and what’s in it for you. Maybe getting fit isn’t about losing weight, maybe it’s about having the energy to enjoy a more active lifestyle with your family and friends.

4. You’re not clear on HOW you’re going to make the change

Having a goal to become more active is nothing more than a nice idea if you don’t know HOW you’re going to do it and then commit to when.

Success comes from knowing HOW you will make the change.

It’s one thing to say I’m going to get fit. It’s quite another to say I’m going to exercise three times a week. And yet another to say I’m going to go to yoga on Mondays at 7pm, swimming on Wednesdays at 7pm and play tennis on Fridays at noon with Mary.

The more detailed you are with your commitment the more successful you will be. 

5. You try to change without understanding what’s driving the habit in the first place.

Most people focus on changing a behavior by eliminating it or replacing it. What you may not know is every unhealthy habit or debilitating routine is the result of your emotions. Your emotions are triggered by your thoughts which are usually related to unresolved events of your past.

Researchers suggest that only 10% of our thoughts involve fond memories of the past. The remaining 90% are regret and remorse. If not tended to regret and remorse can lead to depression. When it comes to thinking about the future we spend 10% of our time planning and 90% worrying about, or fearful of, the future.  If not tended to, worry and fear can lead to anxiety, panic attacks and more.

The reason we are unsuccessful in mastering change is this: we focus on the behavior without understanding what is driving the habit in the first place.

THE KEY TO MASTERING LIFESTYLE CHANGES IN THE NEW YEAR

Your ability to make lifestyle change will be fueled by developing self awareness first.

This exercise will help you to see how your thoughts and emotions have been driving the behaviors you have been trying to change and support you in mastering lifestyle changes in the new year.

For the next week ask yourself these questions:

  1. What are the unwanted habits that I have been trying to change? (i.e. eating too much, drinking too much, self-medicating, retail therapy, gaming, gambling, social media, any other form of fantasy or escape).
  2. What thoughts are triggering my emotions most of the time? Are my thoughts about the past or the future?
  3. What emotions are triggering me when I indulge in the unwanted habits? (i.e. joy, sorrow, fear)
  4. What is the overall theme of my thoughts and feelings:  anger, sadness, disappointment, unmet expectations, loss of hopes and dreams, heart break?

Unresolved emotions are sneaky little thieves of energy, time and money.

Unresolved emotions of the past prevent you from mastering lifestyle change by making you do things like; eat too much, drink too much, spend too much and sleep too much.

Here are 3 bonus questions that will help you identify how unresolved emotions are secretly robbing you of your vital energy, time and money:

  1. When, why and what do I eat?
  2. When, where and how do I spend my time?
  3. When, how and why do I spend my money?
  4. What are the unresolved emotions driving these habits?

Whether you make New Year’s Resolutions or not, the key to mastering lifestyle changes starts with self awareness of your emotional triggers that are causing you to indulge in the unwanted habit in the first place.

If you were unsuccessful in making the changes you wanted to last year, why not try something different this year? It can be as easy as starting to notice how your emotions are driving your behaviors.  Are you yearning to bring more joy into your life this year? I have special gift waiting for you if you do.  Click on the link to claim your gift of joy.