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New Beginnings – Sue Potgieter

‘A New Year, a New Dawn. . .’

Christmas is over for another year and 2018 has flown by! This time of year is awash with New Year resolutions, diets, goal setting or vision boards, none of which are bad in themselves but when we aren’t consistent with them we succumb once again to the endless cycle of guilt and shame and beating ourselves up over lack of willpower.

Why is it that some people can make a decision and keep to it no matter what, and yet others just can’t keep up the momentum? They fall by the wayside with a growing pile of broken resolutions that are always there to remind them of their failures. For January 2018 I wrote about the art of forming mini habits in place of New Year resolutions, and being successful each and every day because of these ’stupidly simple’ mini habits. How did you get on? Did you add something healthy into your diet every day? Did you file one extra piece of paper every day? 365 pieces of paper is a large pile of extra filing that would now take you hours!

As Anthony Robbins says ‘if you are discouraged with where you are in life, get excited because things are about to change!’. As human beings we are driven by either pain or pleasure. The need to avoid pain or the desire to experience pleasure. Why don’t we do the things we should or follow through on things we start? It’s because the perceived pain of doing it is greater than the perceived pleasure of having done it. How can we change it? By changing our focus.

Eating chocolate brings pleasure in that moment whereas denying ourselves equals pain, but we need to look at this in a different way. If we say yes to the chocolate, pastry, slice of cake or pizza there is pleasure for a few moments but what will the pain be if we continue for the next 5 years? ‘5 minutes on the lips, a lifetime on the hips’ they used to say. In 5 years we may have increased a dress size, our blood pressure may be up and we are heading for medication, we may be pre-diabetic or diabetic, our self-image will be worse and the guilt of not being able to say no will be compounded. Is that pain greater than the pain of not eating chocolate? We have to look at what drives us and change it, every day, one step at a time.

My pet hate is personal admin and filing and I put off dealing with bits of paper until I can’t stand it anymore. Usually because I can’t find something! When I organise it all, the pleasure is huge and I am more efficient and free up time previously spent searching for a document! I have to change my perception of what filing and admin are in my life…this is my resolution for the New Year. It’s a new beginning, a new way of looking at the tasks that I really don’t like.

In a study of formerly obese people, researchers at the University of Florida found that virtually all said that they would rather be blind, deaf or have a leg amputated than be obese again. That is the extent of our desire to be slim and yet two thirds of people in the UK, USA and Australia are overweight and one quarter obese. Diabetes is set to cripple our NHS and yet the disease responds so beautifully to a change to healthy eating habits. Why can’t people make the change? It all boils down to pain or pleasure once again.

Whatever we face in life brings pain or pleasure, but when perceived pain interferes with following through on an eating plan, it’s not our willpower that has to change but our mindset. As we head into another year we all have the same opportunities to make changes…we all have mindsets that sabotage our progress and our happiness so let’s look again at how we see our world. Let’s reframe our language about losing weight or eating healthily and stop some of the stories that we tell ourselves. You are amazing and you can do whatever you set your mind to…think of the rewards this time next year when you look back at your new beginning and see what you have accomplished. Here’s to a truly memorable 2019!

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