Are you already frustrated with your New Year’s resolutions? Do you find you're having less success than you hoped for? Or are you setting yourself up for failure? Chances are, it is not your fault.
We need to focus on the month that changes the most, for change in our lives. I am referring to March, known for its tendency to come roaring in like a lion.
Researchers told NBC news that it takes longer than you think to form a good habit. “There isn’t a magic number — and even if there were, it would be more like 66 days, according to one recent study, which means getting out of bed early to go for a run isn't going to come easy until March at the earliest.”
A 2010 study out of the United Kingdom found that it took nearly 70 days for a new healthy habit to feel like second nature. They did things like, “eat a piece of fruit with lunch, or drink a glass of water after breakfast.”
The study was led by University College London research psychologist Pippa Lally. “This involved testing a weight loss intervention based on habit-theory and also examined the process of habit development for diet and activity behaviors.”
The American Psychological Association advises that you focus on changing one behavior before working on another.
“Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time. Thus, replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to reassess everything in your life. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time.”
So that's how you can help yourself to establish a good behavior. How about breaking a bad one?
Experts told NBCNews.com that we should figure out what is cuing the bad behavior. “Maybe you eat ice cream on the couch every night, and you'd really like to stop. Rather than trying to quit cold turkey, try to figure out what's triggering the ice cream.” Or chocolate. Or chips. Or wine, or ...
Maybe you need to replace sitting on the couch with something else like riding an exercise bike or walking on a treadmill while you catch your favorite shows.
David Neal, a social psychologist said, "It's being not just aware of the behavior, but understanding what things happen before that that might put your unconscious mind into that state where it's going to go to the refrigerator.”
“March Comes in Like a Lion and Out Like A Lamb – idioms.thefreedictionary.com.” The Free Dictionary. Web. 14 Jan. 2014.
“It will Take 21 Days to Make Your Resolution Habit – NBCNews.com.” NBC News. Web. 14 Jan. 2014.
Dr. Phillippa Lally – UCL.AC.UK” UCL Department of Epidemiology and Public Health
Web. 14 Jan. 2014.
“Making Your New Year’s Resolution Stick – Apa.org.” American Psychological Association. Web. 14 Jan. 2014.
Joanne Sgro-Killworth is a Television Fitness Expert, Certified Personal Trainer and Sport Nutritionist and Publicist. She is Certified in Pilates, Pre-natal/Post-Partum, Yoga and Senior Fitness. She specializes in Weight Loss, Post-Rehab and Post Cancer Training.
Joanne's fitness plans, recipes and lifestyle advice are available globally on her website www.happiwoman.com. She resides in the Phoenix, AZ area with her husband and son, where she runs her fitness and publicity business, Fitness Answer, LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith