New Year’s jitters can have the same effect as the summer approaching.
You’ll find yourself re-examining your life, looking at all the things you’d like to finally change for the better. No, you’re not just saying that from now on you’ll do things differently; now is the time for truly taking action. You may decide to lose weight, quit smoking, change your level of exercise, or all of the above.
These days, finding tools that can help you implement those life changes has become a lot easier, because you have access to this virtual world of thousands of on-line programs and support groups telling you exactly what to do and how to do it.
On the other hand, you probably won’t be looking at your online forums or smartphone apps when you are shoveling down your third chocolate bar or trying to convince yourself that your lungs will be fine, because auntie Jo lived to see a 105 on 3 non-filter packs a day.
This is why I often use a physical coaching tool with my clients.
Take Maureen, she has always struggled with her weight, is addicted to sweets, and finds the lure of a quick hamburger irresistible. She knows all about diets and different ways of cooking, she knows all the healthy snacks she can replace the sweets with. In the course of our coaching sessions, she has come to realize that she often overeats or indulges in the “wrong” foods because she is bored or because she is postponing something on her to-do list.
When Maureen told me that she struggled with sticking to her weight loss regime, I recommended that she wear a charm bracelet as a physical reminder of how far she has come already. Each charm represents a step on her journey. For every big success, such as a week of trying out new healthy recipes, or losing a certain amount of weight, she has rewarded herself with a small new charm. The charms remind her that she can actually make those changes in real life. As her bracelet is getting heavier, and Maureen is getting lighter, she has started using the sentence “I am making changes” as her personal mantra. The extra benefit of the many charms is that the tinkling sound of the bracelet will also remind her that she’s actually in control and doesn’t need that extra ice cream load, when she reaches for the fridge.
Another client of mine, let’s call him Frank, has been smoking for over 20 years and has always wanted to cut down on his smoking. Yet, time and again he finds himself only becoming aware of the fact that he has smoked a cigarette when he’s putting out the butt. The habit of smoking has become so ingrained in his daily life, that Frank no longer notices he is doing it, nor does he enjoy it. In his own words: “I actually don’t need or want to smoke.” He has started to wear a small black bracelet/band and whenever he’s going to smoke a cigarette he looks at the bracelet and asks himself: Do I really want to smoke? He uses his own mantra: “I do not need a cigarette”.
Frank has cut down the number of cigarettes he smokes to half of what he was smoking before using this technique. Both Maureen and Frank have managed to not only fulfill, but also maintain their resolutions of living a healthier and happier life.