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Why Don’t New Year’s Resolutions Work?

Written by: Deanna Goodson, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


It’s January 2023. Many of my clients come to me with New Year’s Resolutions. I try to get them to look at the concept of resolutions in a kinder, gentler manner. A resolution, to me, is often an unrealistic promise we make to ourselves. Let me explain. For example, a common New Year’s Resolution is to work out more. People who make this resolution are well-intentioned, but their goal is often too lofty to maintain.

Very few people do things by half measures. It’s either all or nothing. With a New Year’s resolution, a client may say to me that they want to work out for six days a week for an hour at a time. That’s a wonderful goal. However, if you spent the previous year not working out consistently or at this accelerated rate, then you may not be able to maintain or sustain the habit.

Although it’s not sexy or exciting, habit-based change is made slowly, over time. If you hadn’t worked out the previous year at all or fell off the wagon in February like most New Year’s exercisers do, then it doesn’t make sense to upgrade this much.

Wouldn’t it be easier and more sustainable to start at two sessions of cardio a week, lasting no more than twenty minutes? Yes, yes it would be.

When I weighed over 400 pounds more than six years ago, I began exercising twice a week for five minutes at a time on a workout bike that I’ve since had to retire. You would’ve thought that I had run the Boston Marathon by how difficult even this little bit of activity was and the amount of sweat I generated from just this little bit of exertion. There was no way I could work out for an hour a day on this same bike at that point.

Cut to today and I do work out for 45 minutes daily on the bike (I’m on my third one now) and alternate yoga and rowing for up to 60 minutes (or more) of daily activity. How did I achieve this? Well, I went up slowly and incrementally. Until I felt comfortable at a benchmark, I did not move up.

I understand that this is not going to get major results right away and it’s not supposed to. Losing weight and exercising to improve health is an ongoing process. It doesn’t happen overnight. If you want to begin a habit that will lead you to a six day a week, one hour at a time workout regime, wouldn’t it make more sense to start slow and build up? By the end of 2023 you could be doing exactly what you set out to do in January and are more likely to stick with it.

The same goes for dietary changes. I don’t recommend that my clients do anything drastic at once. Try by adding in an additional fruit or vegetable every day. Begin by drinking 8 ounces more of water a day for a week or two. When these changes become second nature, then increase difficulty by adding in more challenges.

Today, I eat a gluten-free, reduced sugar, low dairy and no artificial sweeteners plan. I did not get that way overnight. I am proud of my accomplishments and realize that the way I eat is not the way that others should or even want to. I work with people all across the spectrum of health-promoting eating.

We must meet you where you’re at and move along from there. It’s a process. Remember, as the old saying goes, “progress, not perfection.” You can achieve amazing results and lofty goals with time, patience, and discipline.

I’m happy to help you build and navigate a strategy that works for you. Set up a 60-minute complimentary session with me today here. I can’t wait to help you achieve your goals.

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Deanna Goodson, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Deanna Goodson is a professional life and mental health coach, nutritional counselor, and writer. She received her coach training at Rhodes Wellness College in Canada and received an ACC credential from the International Coaching Federation in May of 2019, which was recently renewed. As a mental health coach, Deanna is well-versed in Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Emotional Freedom Technique, aka Tapping. Deanna is also a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and has a certificate in Emotional Eating Psychology (EEP). She follows an intuitive eating approach for her clients and helps them repair their relationship with food.



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