What are your New Year's Resolutions?

Do you do new year’s resolutions? I usually don’t. I never keep the promises I make to myself as they are not maintainable. New year’s resolutions are usually short-term promises to fix long-term problems. If it took over 10 years to develop the problem, it will take some time to change the behaviour.

These resolutions are usually focussed on surface behaviours which have deeper roots. Permanent change is rarely instantaneous. It takes time to adapt our lifestyle to improve health. Making promises to ourselves to change our life does not work on chronic behaviours. The things we most want to change are chronic – obesity, smoking, alcohol addiction, gambling, drug addiction. In my case, resolving to lose weight each year came to nothing. I had no strategy, nor did I have any understanding of the motivation behind my overeating. I just wanted to reduce the guilt and shame I felt about it.

What if we changed the way we thought about these behaviours? The best strategy is to understand the guilt and shame we feel about them. How we perceive ourselves and what we do is a mix of our own core beliefs and cultural expectations. These influence our toxic feelings which bind us to the problem. Feeling bad about ourselves is painful and we don’t want to face these emotions. Instead, we think that if we stopped smoking, overeating, drinking, gambling, or doing drugs we would feel better and perhaps others would accept us.  

Disentangling the thoughts and feelings about my obesity was the core strategy behind my weight loss. The cultural expectation and my belief that I should be like a ballet dancer, or a runway model distorted my perception of myself. The answer lay in accepting who I was and adjusting my expectations to reality.

Remember, you are more than what you do. Your behaviour is a symptom of your beliefs and how you see yourself in the context of the world in which you live.

Feel free to message me if you want to chat.

In love, Jenny

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