Posted by: Dr. Justin D'Arienzo, Psy.D., ABPP
A New You in 2022
A New You in 2022
December 29, 2021
Did you know that only 8% of people maintain their New Year’s Resolutions from January all the way to December? Chances are you are one of the 92% hoping this year you’ll be the 8%.
In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, I wanted to share a story about myself. When I was in my twenties, I quit drinking and struggled with the behavior change. I was eating unhealthy, I wasn’t exercising and I smoked like two packs of cigarettes a day. I put on a lot of weight but I had never realized how heavy I had become until one day, my late friend Danny asked me to meet him to go surfing. I showed up at the beach access with no shirt on and he said “Dude, what happened to you? You have boobs!” You might think that was rude but without him, I would’ve continued down a path of poor mental and physical health. The moment he told me I had boobs, it crystallized for me that I was actually overweight and needed to do something about it. This psychological phenomenon is called the Crystallization of Discontent.
Have you had a moment in your life when you realized you needed to make a change? It’s easy to say you want to change – especially when it’s the new year – but most people either don’t know where to start or lose motivation halfway through. I’m going to walk you through six simple steps that will help you achieve your New Year’s Resolutions.
First – Be ready for the change.
Second – Start small & have vision.
Third – Engage in behavior that you find intrinsically rewarding. For me, I chose to run because I truly enjoyed it – not just the fact that it helped me lose weight.
Fourth – Be accountable. Everybody needs an accountability partner – no matter how motivated you may be. It’s not easy holding yourself accountable on days you don’t feel your best so lean on others for support.
Fifth – Reciprocal inhibition with future focus. Making a change creates lots of anxiety. You will want to avoid that anxiety by not going to the gym or eating comfort food. This is when you can use the reciprocal inhibition technique. You tell yourself you have permission not to go to the gym or eat that piece of cake – which lowers anxiety about what you want to change. Most of the time, you will be laying in bed or staring at the piece of cake and realize that you are allowed to relax and eat but you don’t want to anymore. You want to continue your New Year’s Resolutions and you end up going to the gym or not eating that piece of cake.
Sixth – You can start over at any time. If you get off track, don’t give up.
I challenge you to be bold and publicly proclaim what your New Year’s Resolutions are so we can hold each other accountable. Life is not a dress rehearsal – you have one life to live so make every moment count.