By MAria Savino
Tis’ the season for health and wellness resolutions. While there is no shortage of diet plans and exercise regimes to follow in a New Year, I believe the most important aspect to achieve any health goal is the mindset you have going into it.
Many wellness resolutions are created from a place of lack and restriction.
For example: “I am going to cut out processed foods,” “I’m going to give up soda” or “I am going to stop sitting all day.”
Although these goals have positive intentions, the mindset behind them is not setting anyone up for success.
As a health coach, I instruct clients to set wellness goals from the mindset of positivity and addition, rather than restriction and subtraction. This mindset shift is a key component of their long term success for two reasons.
The first reason pertains to how we are naturally wired. As human beings, it never feels good when things are taken away or restricted, especially if those things have given you a sense of comfort or happiness in the past. For example, overeating can be a form of comfort, binge watching hours of television can provide stress relief, or grabbing that afternoon chocolate bar can promote a sense of joy during an otherwise dull or stressful day.
Understanding that your not-so-healthy habits do in fact have positive intentions, and that restriction doesn’t come naturally, makes it clear that goals like those above are not the most effective.
Secondly, setting goals from a place of positivity and addition allows my clients to feel inspired rather than punished by their goals. During this time of year we are bombarded with messages about how to “fix” ourselves, or “pay penance” for our health and wellness sins from the previous year.
These types of messages may be an excellent marketing tool, but the truth is that improving your health is an opportunity, not a punishment! Starting a health and wellness journey should feel fun and inspiring, not dreaded and terrible.
If your new year’s resolution sounds like the examples above, I want to challenge you to shift your mindset. Ask yourself, “What positive things can I add to my life that will help me reach my goals?” as opposed to “what do I need to take away in order to fix myself?”
If we re-think the examples above using this positive mindset, they turn into goals that are much more fun and attainable.
For example: “I am going to cut out junk food” becomes “I will start eating more whole foods.” “I’m going to give up soda” becomes “I am going to drink 2 full bottles of water every day.”
“I am going stop sitting all day” becomes “I will add more activity into my day by going for an afternoon walk.”
At the end of the day, improving your health is all about improving your life and your overall happiness. Restriction, deprivation and punishment don’t make us happy—or get us the results we want—but inspiration, self love, and positive additions to our lives absolutely do.
By MAria Savino