By now half to more than half of those who made healthy living (losing weight and getting fit) their New Years Resolution have either quit or have cut back on their new habits. Before the year is out only about 10% will keep going with their new vibrant lives.
The initial excitement of changing for the better has worn off and people realize they miss their old habits of inactivity and unhealthy eating.
The healthy habits were never truly embraced; seen only as temporary means to end, and that end poorly defined to begin with.
When risk and reward are misappropriated between healthy and unhealthy choices we’re doomed to failure.
What does this mean exactly?
A strong sense of reward is connected to eating large meals and to physical inactivity, euphemistically referred to as chilling out or being a couch potato. At the same time the health risks and harm of these actions is not completely front and center in a persons mind.
A strong sense of resentment is associated with eating healthy and exercise. Exercise is seen as time consuming and arduous, something that interferes with other priorities. Eating healthy is seen as a personal affront that interferes with otherwise more rewarding unhealthy food choices.
When we think like this we set ourselves up for failure.
An interesting thing about sense of reward and harm in those who made it though the challenging transition: Exercise makes them feel really good and they look forward to it. Eating healthy feels rewarding and eating unhealthy is a turn off.
Eat healthy foods that taste great and remind yourself how good it is for your health as well- make that connection stick.
Avoid exercise that feels like a military drill Sargent is forcing you against your will and leaves you feeling tired and sore. Do exercise that makes you feel good so you look forward to doing it again next time. Avoid the most common error of going hard when starting out as this leads to burn out most of the time. Instead build yourself up over long periods. You can go hard later when you're more fit :-)
There’s no rush, you’ll be doing this for the rest of your life. Can’t get your head around that last sentence? You will fail.
You will succeed though, if you take it one step at a time, gradually build your fitness, build your own personal menu of healthy foods that you like, and gradually work through the divorce from your old habits.
Keep it up, think positive, and work on making the emotional reward connections with healthy choices: everyone can succeed