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A new year.  A new decade.  Could it also be time for a new, improved you?

Many of us see the new year as a chance for a new beginning of sorts. It’s a time when weight loss businesses surge to achieve record sales and revenues. Gyms are filled to capacity the first few weeks of each new year. Organic foods and odd-sounding products from obscure places in faraway lands fly off the shelves as purchasers seek the elusive secret ingredient to change their life.

Readers that have seen a New Year celebration or two before know all too well how these great intentions are likely to work out. Unfortunately, New Year’s resolutions are often doomed to fail before they’re even begun.

The goal setter has the greatest of intentions and is sure they can use sheer will and determination to see their way through obstacles, temptations and defeats to attain their objective.  They have the desire, the will, the drive, the intent … and yet most New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by mid-February.

The weight loss businesses will begin to lay off the temporary staff they hired to help them get through the New Year’s rush of sign-ups. The regular gym crowd will welcome the disappearance of the resolution rookies. Now they can return to their ordinary workouts without having to wait in ridiculous lines for machines. Life as we know it will return to normal. Except for a few sighs of disappointment from the earnest folks that really intended to make their resolutions stick this time.

Why is it so hard to make a positive change in our lives? Why can’t we be successful in changing our diet, exercise routine or other things that we aren’t satisfied with in our lives?

Experts have pointed out that there are several common problems with setting bold ambitious New Year’s resolutions. They define a few reasons that the plans are almost always destined to fail quickly.

One problem is that the ambitions are almost always set too high to be reasonably accomplished.  People tend to fell a sense of inspiration with the beginning of a new year that this time, they can do it … whatever it is. We fall for a feeling of perceived ability to accomplish great things, simply because we decide that we can. 

In our minds we hear the “Rocky” theme and envision ourselves climbing steps in sweaty workout clothes with the vision of eventual triumph in our brains. The lyrics of “Feeling strong now …” or something similar playing through earbuds into our brain perpetuate our vision and strengthen our determination.

In fact, that kind of motivational preparation actually does help us overcome personal obstacles for a while. It just doesn’t last long enough. Whatever habits that have held us back for decades prior to this new beginning soon take over and we resume our normal life, and nothing changes.

That last part is important. The part about habits. That is really what we need to address if we want to make positive changes in our lives. It’s our habits that brought us to the place where we are now. And it is our habits that will take us to whatever place we will end up in six months, a year or five years from now.

Here is a tip from the experts for anyone that really desires a significant change in their life in 2020.  Identify the habits that can bring you to a result that you desire and address the habits.

Recognize the habits that are keeping you from achieving the outcome you desire. Those are negative habits that you must replace. Experts agree that the best way to get rid of an undesirable habit of any sort is to create a new habit that is more positive and replace the old with the new.

Simply start the new habit and repeat it with consistency until it is a part of your normal routine.

Another tip is to begin with the end in mind but realize that there will be numerous small steps over time to achieve any meaningful change. First accept the circumstances as they are. It is what it is. You are who you are. Then decide what reasonable changes you desire and map out a strategy of small achievable steps to take you from here to there.

Baby steps have led far more people to accomplish great dreams and ambitions that grand wishes and unattainably bold resolutions.

Happy New Year!

Dr. Mark Kestner is a licensed chiropractic physician in Murfreesboro. His office is at 1435 NW Broad St. Contact him at mkestner@DrKestner.com

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