How to Succeed at New Year’s Resolutions : Part 1

A powerful mixture of acupuncture, naturopathic medicine and change

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One of my greatest pleasures in performing the powerful mixture of acupuncture & naturopathic medicine at our Phoenix clinic is to witness change. Change occurs by eliminating the chronic pain of migraine headaches, reducing pain from angry soft tissues, and inflamed nerves in the neck and back, or reversing the devastating effects of anxiety and depression.

Many of us find change is an elusive, powerful force just beyond our reach. We want to be:

  • Healthier
  • Happier
  • More Organized
  • A Better Spouse
  • etc…

But so often our hopes for change remain just that; hope.  Why is that so many of our aspirations go unfulfilled?  Why cant’ we finally just lose the weight, control our anger, get to bed a half-hour earlier, pray/meditate daily..?

Why do our resolutions fizzle?

We need to look closely at what is motivating us to change to understand why so many of our resolutions fizzle out so quickly we need to look closely at what is motivating us to change.  That’s right, the motivation behind the change is the key to it’s success or failure – it’s the engine that makes the whole process move.

Self-change is typically motivated by one of two forces; Self-Hate (“I can’t stand my thighs“) or Self-Love (“I deserve to be healthy, it’s time to start paying more attention to my eating habits“).

Change motivated by self-hate always fails. This is why diets have a 90+% failure rate. You think no-one’s figured out the science of weight loss yet? No, in truth most any diet book in the discount bin will get the pounds off if you do what they say, the problem is – as always in life – the follow-through.

What are the odds against change?

So let’s say Peggy Perspiration wakes up January 1 with a fire-in-the-belly to finally get-in-shape!  What kind of odds would the boys in Vegas give her on actually achieving her goal?  Pretty slim.  In fact, the Gym industry counts on this time of year to sign-up tons of new members who they know they will never see past February.

So how do they know that Peggy is going to fail?  Are those bloated gym rats psychic?  Are all those protein shakes making their brains as big as their biceps?

Actually, they just know the simple truth that most attempts at self-change fail and they have the statistics to prove it.

So what do we do about poor, sweet Peggy?  How do we make this the year the year that she finally succeeds at her health & fitness goals?

Motivation to change

We start by asking her to be honest about her motivation.  If she thinks she’s going to motor through 12 months of calorie deprivation and Spin classes fueled by “My butt’s too big!” motivation, she’s simply kidding herself.  The bottom-line is; even with all our negative self-talk, we actually love ourselves too much to punish ourselves for any real length of time.

Self-protective mechanisms swing into full gear and pretty soon Peggy’s rattling off excuses like “I need to work late; it’s that time of the month or I’ll work out extra hard tomorrow…” and that shiny new gym card that she clipped to her key chain gets used less and less and less.

Peggy’s New Year’s Resolution is all about how she’s not good enough. “Not Good Enough” energy burns hot and bright in the beginning; It’s can blast you off the couch and into action. But at it’s heart, it’s a mirage. It burns out as fast as it ignited. Soon it turns on you and becomes self-recrimination; “See, I’ve done it again, another diet failure, relationship failure, etc.”

Only Self-Love can provide the energy for lasting change. It may not burn as bright in the beginning, but it’s a steady flame that helps you put fork-to-mouth, sneaker-to-pavement, head-to-pillow day after day after day.

Part 2

In Part 2 we’ll talk about how to cultivate this subtle, powerhouse energy of Self-Love.  And we’ll look into our Naturopathic toolbox for some Acupuncture & Nutrition tips to help us keep moving steadily towards our goals.

What changes are you thinking about for 2012? Please share some of your  ideas about change with our community. It’ll mean a lot to all of us.

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year.

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