Remember Your New Year's Resolution?
I, Dr. Osborn, have been in practice now for about 12 years, and after this long period of time, the one area I continue to struggle with in helping patients is helping them find ways to change their bad habits into goods ones... on a permanent basis. We all get "gung ho" for a little when we want to change something. Remember your New Year's Resolution. All of them. How many of them stuck? How about this years? Most of us realize we have to make this change, but with work, and kids, and a million things to do... Well, here are some tips to help you turn those best intentions into a new way of life and a new you.
1. Keep things simple don't try to fit too much into one day. There's work, dinner with the family, and homework or sporting events with the kids, but believe it or not that still leaves a couple of hours in the day for you. With a little planning, you can get a quick 30 minute workout in, and pack your food for the day, all in less than an hour. Set an appointment with yourself to focus on your goals.
2. Get advice from reliable sources. The internet is a blessing and a curse. For all the good information out there, there's at least three times as much bad. I can't tell you how many patients come to me having tried diets or exercises that have no sound basis whatsoever. There are also a lot of well-intended people with bad information. If you're one of my patient, ask me. Otherwise, a great place to start for reliably certified people in the nutrition and exercise realm is the American College of Sports Medicine.
3. Change your beliefs, I am surprised how many people try the same things over and over expecting different results. Remember that old saying about insanity? Change is hard, (don't ask me about my bad habits), so pick one thing and set some goals to change it. Maybe you don't eat well. Set a goal to begin meal planning for the week, and just make this one change for about 6 weeks. By then it will become a new normal.
4. Communicate with someone who is helpful. One of the real benefits of working with patients in our wellness program is I get a great deal of communication and interaction with them, more than I do in the normal day to day drudgeries of medicine. You can also team up with someone, a friend or a spouse, to be your motivational buddy. Work with this person to communicate and help stay focused.
5. Measure your progress On any path to success, you have to know your starting point and your goal. In between these two points, you have to measure if you're getting there. We often use the scale as a measure, but I encourage people I work with to
avoid the scale and simply measure how many days they stuck to their diet in a week, and how many days they made it to the gym. I rarely find people who adhere to their diet 6 days a week, exercise 6 days a week, and eventually don't find success on the scale.