Feedback from TappMD Expert
Erin Palinski, RD, CDE, LDN New Years Resolution
Have you slipped since your New Year’s Resolution to lose weight? It takes 21 days to create a new habit, and there are definitely more than 21 days left in the year. That means it’s not too late! Here are a few tips to help you get back on track!
OK, you’ve had nearly a third of the year. Lost that weight? Smoking a thing of the past? Nicer to your husband? If you are like many people, such resolutions have disappeared as completely as the bubbles in your Champagne toast. But you can start again.
We all have habits that we could stand to break. But desire isn’t everything, and it can be difficult to know where to start and frustrating to carry on through setbacks, temptation and outright failure.
Still, in order to live healthful and productive lives, many of us need to make changes. Experts range in their opinions about the proper way to confront bad habits, but all agree that it can be done.
Money and friends
Jordan Goldberg is co-founder and chief executive of the website stickK.com. The site, he says, is based on the premise that people are motivated to break old habits through their wallet and their social circles.
“Money and friends can influence behavior change,” he says.
Once a goal is set — be it losing weight or saving money, for instance — the goal-setter can place wagers on whether he will accomplish it. He can also opt to give money to charity if he reaches a certain objective or — in a kind of reverse motivation — to have money donated to a charity that supports a cause that he disagrees with if he fails. This, Goldberg says, is the site’s most popular motivational option.
“Money is a great motivator; everybody has a price at which they are willing to change their behavior,” Goldberg says. “For example, if you’ve got $50 on the line each week to lose a pound and you’d like a $5 cheeseburger, that now costs you $55 if you don’t make your weight that week.”
He notes that getting positive feedback from friends as well as being held accountable for your behavior by reporting it in the public domain is a huge motivator for many people.
Amber Rosenberg, a life coach based in San Francisco, adds that even having a support system through Facebook or Twitter can help you reach your goals. “Saying your goal out loud or even via social media creates outside accountability and increases your success rate,” she said via email.
Take small steps
In trying to break bad habits, many people encounter a tendency to bite off more than they can chew, then get overwhelmed, Rosenberg said via email. She suggests focusing instead on small steps.
“If you’re trying to stop overeating, for example, your end goal may be losing 20 pounds or fitting into your skinny jeans,” she said. “It’s much more realistic, however, to focus on … replacing one cookie in the afternoon with a healthier alternative like a piece of fruit or a handful of baby carrots.”
These small steps can be difficult to achieve, though, and little failures might result in wanting to quit. Try to keep that mind-set at bay, Rosenberg says.
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