While millions of people attempt their resolutions, what is often missing is an awareness of the unconscious minds resistance to change and the ability to cope with uncomfortable feelings of trying to achieve something new. Unconscious reasons that people sabotage their New Years resolutions include problematic behaviors that are often solutions to other problems, says San Francisco psychotherapist Michael Halyard. For example, problematic behaviors may play a role in meeting unfulfilled emotional needs or numbing painful feelings. When a person stops the behavior, those emotional needs may become conscious and painful feelings may emerge.
Take the popular New Years resolution of losing weight - overeating may play a role in satisfying a persons unmet emotional needs, Halyard says. For example, if a persons relationship lacks affection or physical intimacy, eating may serve as a substitute for physical contact. Eating can also numb uncomfortable feelings like resentments, grief, and anger. People suffering from depression may try to relieve their symptoms with food. Thus, eating can function as an unconscious defense mechanism to avoid painful and uncomfortable feelings.
Begin And Keep Your Resolutions
- If you are beginning a diet, look at the ways you might be eating to avoid uncomfortable feelings.
- Keep a journal to get in touch with those feelings and get emotional support from friends, family, partners, or a therapist. Use self-soothing behaviors like going to the park, a museum or a movie, or doing things at home like taking a hot bath, getting a massage, listening to music, drinking herbal tea, meditating or joining a 12-step group to provide support and tools to make major changes.
- Anticipate the stress associated with beginning a new behavior. Adding time to implement a new healthy behavior may cause stress because it could reduce leisure time. Its important to acknowledge this and figure out ways to mitigate it.
- Clarify the reason why you want to change to provide stronger and lasting motivation.
- Set realistic, specific, rewarding, time-limited and measurable goals, and break them down into smaller parts and write down a detailed step-by-step action plan.
- Record your progress so you are accountable.
The top New Years resolutions are typically directed toward losing weight, renewing good health and reducing stress. Health Food Emporium owner Gail Bowman says, Everyone is interested in doing better for the new year. But the biggest gift you can give yourself is better health. Bowman has five top resolutions that can help people to get better health for themselves and their families this year.
Five Top Resolutions For 2013
1) Work on losing weight.
2) Eat better quality, more nutritious foods and look for low-sugar and low-carb foods made entirely of foods that you can recognize.
3) Avoid toxins in your foods and in your environment.
4) Do some sort of exercise every day - moving in a way that gets your heart rate up and gets you out of your usual rut for at least one hour every day.
5) Reduce your stress. Eat healthy meals and feed your body so you can fight off the effects of stress and consider taking herbal supplements that help your body to respond in a healthy way. Find a job that is less stressful or that gives you more feelings of achievement and set out to reduce your debt load.
By choosing to improve your lifestyle, diet and financial position, you can make 2013 your best year ever! Start by making and keeping resolutions that will improve your life by improving your health.
Learn more about Michael Halyard
Learn more about Gail Bowman