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How To Set Healthy Goals

From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

If you didn't exactly reach your health goal this past year, I have good news. The next year is standing right in front of you, and with it comes an opportunity for a brand new start.

That’s how we see it here at eDiets. This is typically a time for both reflecting upon the past and making new commitments towards the future.

As you get up and about today and begin to think about this new year, I suggest you be more mindful of your goals. Make this the year that you reconnect with your healthy self and leave the unhealthy past behind. As that old saying so accurately states, Today is the first day of the rest of your life. For some reason, that saying and its meaning always seems more powerful on the first day of a new year.

In the spirit of looking forward and committing to healthier living, I would like to offer you a concept that I suggest every year at this time. It presents a new and interesting way of looking at an old, well-entrenched problem. I’m hopeful that it will inspire many of you to grab a hold of your lives and take back control of your health. Let me give you a brief history of where this idea came from.

I was out running errands one day, when I passed by an establishment that I pass on a regular basis. This happened to be an eating establishment. When this particular place first opened, I stopped in and had dinner there one evening. It was a new business, and I thought I would give it a try. After being served my meal, I took that cautious and thoughtful first bite. For the restaurant, this is a very important moment. You see, they know if I like that first bite and enjoy the rest of my meal, I am likely to return and will probably tell others about the place as well. This is how a successful business makes its mark and prospers. Well, I was not impressed by the food or the service and never planned to return to the restaurant again.

However, a few weeks later, when I was driving by the restaurant again, I noticed a sign in the window that read “Under New Management.” After my disappointing experience there, I was not surprised to see such a sign. I knew that, if changes were not made, the business would surely fail. At any rate, a couple of days later, I decided to give the new management a try. Things had definitely changed, and I left with a much better impression this time.

Well, when I was thinking about that sign in the window, a light went on in my head. I began to think about how difficult and emotional weight management is for most people, and what a struggle it is to succeed. My contention is that most people fail at weight management, because they just don’t make the changes necessary for success. Just as that business had to change to be successful, so do you. As that old saying goes, “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten”. It’s really that simple.

When I was in private practice, I would regularly discuss this notion with my patients. The bottom line is that you will never become who you want to be by remaining who you are. If you are unsuccessful now and want to be successful later, you must change. Wanting your life to be different while, at the same time, refusing to make the necessary changes is a dead end. It’s a little like wanting to take a shower but not get wet. It just isn’t going to happen. If you want a different result, you must take different actions and make different decisions.

In reality, weight management is a decision-making problem. This is actually true about life in general. We are the sum total of the decisions that we make. Be they decisions regarding education, employment, marriage, eating or whatever. Where we end up is the direct result of the decisions that we make and the actions that we take along the way. The solution to weight management truly lies in becoming a better decision-maker. I know that it’s easier said than done, but it is absolutely within your ability to do. And it all starts with possessing a heartfelt belief that you can change.

The reality is, for most of you, your weight at this moment is a direct result of the choices that you made this past year. With that in mind, I have a suggestion for you, as we begin this new year and enter the season of new year’s resolutions. This idea came to me as I looked at that sign in the restaurant’s window. I thought to myself what a great idea to take into the coming year. Let’s make this our mantra for 2003 -- This Body Is Under New Management! I suggest you go to the nearest mirror, look yourself right in the eye and say out loud and with conviction, “This Body Is Under New Management!!” Try this and tell me if you can feel the power and taste the potential. It’s right there for the taking!

Think of it this way. Imagine that your body is your business and youre the new manager, whose been brought in to turn this business around. Its going to be difficult, and youre going to have to make some tough decisions -- but its your job and it must be done. This activity is called mental imagery, and it can be a very powerful agent for change. If you have been struggling with your weight, it may be time to fire the old management and bring in the new one. Use this new year and this new mental image to make the changes necessary for your success.

In counseling and psychotherapy, there is a term we use that refers to making something more real or concrete. It’s called “grounding.” The mirror activity I mentioned above is an example of grounding. Here’s another grounding suggestion that will help you incorporate this new image into your thinking. I suggest that you to take the saying, “This body is under new management” and make it tangible. I don’t care if you weave it into a tapestry, carve it into a piece of wood or simply draw it on a piece of paper. Just get physically involved in creating your sign. Then put it someplace, where you will see it often. Perhaps in the kitchen is a good idea. The important thing is to personally and physically involve yourself with this saying and this activity.

Let me end this column by wishing you all a wonderful new year filled with happiness, health and accomplishment. I know that weight management is a very difficult and emotional endeavor for you. I also know that you CAN do this. Make it happen! You are worth the effort!!

Dr. John Sklare, director of the eDiets Emotional Support Center, shares his expertise on "emotional eating" with the eDiets community. Dr. Sklare is also the author of the eDiets Audio Companion Program -- the powerful and innovative new offline support program for your online eDiets program. With the current emphasis on Mind/Body medicine and natural healing, Dr. Sklare stands firmly on the leading edge!

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