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January 2015

New Year Resolutions why do they fail?

We have all resolved on the 1st of January to change some aspect of our behaviour that we want maybe to stop smoking, lose weight etc etc.
Gyms see an exponential increase in membership as people resolve to lose weight and get fitter after an indulgent calorie rich Christmas. The gyms are crowded for 3 or 4 weeks and we continue to pay membership fees long after we stop going because our priorities change and we find less energetic ways to pass time.
So we know why we do it, the new year is a fresh start, turning over a new leaf. So why doesnt this resolution last? Why dont resolutions last?
If we look at the ego states involved the impulse to change or stop is likely to originate in the Parent ego state which tells you " You are too fat" "Stop smoking or you will die', "You drink too much' any of this sound familiar?
The Child ego state resents the deprivation of food, drink and relaxation and undermines the Parent decision or contract to change and ones determination begins to wobble. "I,ll miss today at the gym because..... or I can have one cigarette or drink it wont hurt, I can stop anytime I want to."
The energetic dialogue takes place between the Parent and Child without the Adult ego state involvement. The Adult here and now rational ego state problem solving part of us can look at how we might sabotage ourselves and involve the Parent and Child in self care decisions. The Adult  can look rationally  at our drive to lose weight " How much weight do we need to lose,  what is the realistic target?" and look at information such as a 2 lb weight loss per week is less depriving of the Child, whilst satisfying the Parent ego state. Getting all the ego states on board is likely to succeed. Rewarding and giving ourselves strokes for how we are doing keeps motivation going.
So consider a New Year resolution as a statement of intent and then plan how to make the change you want, think about how you might sabotage your plan, be kind to yourself and accept when you take a step backwards that you are ok and this doesnt mean you have failed. 
I hope 2015 brings you health, happiness and contentment.
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