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  • Writer's pictureRayne Roberts

Why I don't trust Resolutions but how you can make Changes

I've been thinking long and hard about addressing the bandwagon of "New Year Resolutions". It's a frenzy of differing opinions each year but hear me out. Sponsored ads have flooded social media and, having researched behaviour change, I'm pretty convinced that the pay "£30 per month for an online nutrition plan and some exercises" isn't going to cut the mustard.

Let me explain.

Resolutions for the New Year to drop a dress size, go to the gym twice a week or get back into your jeans from 2007 are likely to end in disappointment. And here's why. We tend to aim for BIG goals which aren't realistic, the timescales are too short term, and the methods we implement to meet our goals aren't sustainable.

There are lots of other factors involved and you can find out more by listening to Dr Rangan Chatterjee's excellent podcast - your mental state, your income, your family's norms ... all of these will influence how you deal with making big changes. In addition, having set your goals and prepared yourself, the ability to make changes to your life is also heavily influenced by your "social circumstances and cultural context"according to Liverpool John Moores University.

Sounds depressing?

I like to scale things down a bit for my clients so I use Susan Michie's Behavioural Change Wheel. After much research to understand what actually helps people to change their behaviours, to actually achieve their resolutions, she and her team of researchers suggest that it comes down to 3 things:

Capability - Opportunity - Motivation

Capability: you've got the mindset and physical ability, including the knowledge and skills, to engage with your resolution

For example, you've decided to go keto and lose a stone in 6 weeks (I can think of better ways, but read on ...). Have you actually got the know-how, the recipes printed, and the supermarket list sorted? Have the kitchen cupboards, fridge and freezer been cleared? Are you confident you can cook delicious meals to keep you on track? Do you know how to monitor if you're in ketosis?

Motivation: you're in a place where you feel energised by your resolution, that is, it's more than just a conscious decision

For example, you've decided to go to the gym twice a week and do one fitness class. Have you considered how you intend to stay motivated? Is this a one off resolution for a set amount of weeks or do you want it to become a habit? Have you made a chart to track your progress? Can you identify three time slots per week where it's non-negotiable that you go to the gym or a class so you can enjoy it?

Opportunity: you've identified and considered all the other factors that will make your resolution stick

For example, you've decided to eat your 6 portions of vegetables and fruit per day. Be aware that the lack of opportunity to eat your 6 portions may influence your motivation (as can capability). So did you research how include 2 portions of vegetables and fruit at each meal? Are the frozen berries on hand and, if so, can you make fruity overnight oats now instead of trying to whip something up whilst feeding the cat, getting your shoes on and leaving the house before 7.45am? Can you order a veg and fruit box from a local supplier to save you the hassle of carting food home on the bus? Have you got your friends and family on side to support you so that there are no nasty surprises when you they cook for you?

The act of considering these 3 key areas isn't meant to be off-putting. It's meant to help you to plan how you're going to make some changes in your life. It takes time to prepare and grit to keep going. If you need help by way of a personalised nutrition plan that comes with support then just get in contact to book a consultation.

Everyone has different ways of making successful behaviour changes and something may resonate with another. I'd love to know what worked for you, or didn't, and perhaps you'd be happy to share them here? In the meantime, best wishes for 2023 from myself and the team.

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