Aim High, Start Low

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Contributing Writer
Jeffrey Barkstrom

The majority of Americans start the new year off with some type of New Years resolution. After six months, roughly 6% of people have achieved their goals. What gives? Research has found that there are several ways to increase your chances of success, so lets go over a few.
The first tip is: Aim High and Start Low. So what does this mean? It means don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start with a small goal and work to a bigger goal. Let’s say you want to lose 20 pounds for the New Year. The typical person goes on an extreme diet for a few weeks, loses 20lbs, then in a few months gains it all back again. The better long term option is to work on habits that you can maintain to lose 20lbs and then keep it if off.
A habit as defined by google is “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” Our habits are what make us fail at goals, so we need to change our habits to succeed at our goals. Habits change slowly. They do not change in a few weeks. It can take months and years to change deeply ingrained habits. If we try to change too much at one time, we will be fighting our deeply ingrained habits and they will always win.
How you change a habit is by sneaking up on it and changing it slowly. Start Low. Say for an example, one is drinking eight pops for day. (yes, this is based on a true story) We know pop is bad for us and we shouldn’t drink any, but we are both mentally and physically addicted to it. We can not easily go from eight to zero quickly. The easier way is just go from eight to seven for a week. The next week reduce from seven to six. Keep doing this until you feel deprived then stop. For example, if you cut down from two pops to one and you feel deprived at one. Stay at two and work on a different goal for a little while, like adding in more vegetables. I find that adding vegetables helps people kick their sugar addiction. After you have added vegetables for a few weeks, it will be much easier to cut down the pop more.
Second tip, write things down. Research has found that when we write things down and are responsible to someone else, i.e. we share what we write down. It is much easier to change. In our office, we have people write down everything that they eat and drink. I have heard hundreds of times from patients that they didn’t eat or drink something, because they had to write it down and then show me.
Good luck on your New Years resolutions! If you need help with any of them or if you have any questions call our office at (716)665-5015 or come to one of our free workshops.

Jeffrey Barkstrom has been helping people with health and weight loss issues for more than 12 years. He has spoken at colleges, businesses, non-profits, national conferences and on television about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. He currently practices at Barkstrom Acupuncture PC, Natural Health Improvement Center in Jamestown, NY. Learn more at www.barkstrom.net or at www.jamestowngazette.com.