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Melissa Campbell


January 1, 2024



(And some ways to actually be successful making a change)

“New Year – New You!” How many times have you seen that slogan pasted across windows of health food stores, gyms, or anything wellness related? While the end of the year may seem like a good time to make a change, for many people (yours truly included) it’s not. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but let’s look at some reasons why you should not set a New Year’s Resolution, and ways you can set yourself up for real success.

Reason #1: January 1st isn’t magic:

There’s nothing any more special about January 1st that will help you keep your resolution than any other day. There is no “perfect day.” Success doesn’t depend on whether you start on a Monday, or a Tuesday. The best time to make a change is when you’re ready. If that’s on a Wednesday in the middle of June, great!

Reason #2: We set unrealistic goals:

“I am going to make a radical diet change on the magical day of January 1 and that will be wildly and perfectly successful.” Sound familiar? It’s unrealistic to think that we can suddenly make a huge change, even with the best of intentions. Lofty goals are more sexy, sure, but also less attainable and successful. If you want to be successful making a change, start with a smaller, attainable one. Instead of “learning a new language,” try the goal of spending 5/10/15 minutes a day on it. “Small changes make big changes.” Right?

Reason #3: It’s not the right reason:

Ask yourself “why do I want to make this change?” We should all be students of ourselves. Just because we “should” do something, doesn’t mean we will. I “should” do many things I don’t. Reflect and figure out why you want to make the change and then do it for the right reason.

Real change is a process, comes in stages, and takes work. In the 1970s, two researchers, James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente were researching ways to help people stop smoking and identified 6 stages of change:

  1. Precontemplation: more commonly known as “in denial,” this is the stage where you are just becoming aware that there may be something that needs to change.

  1. Contemplation: this is the stage where you’re actively thinking about making a change.

  1. Preparation: in this stage you’re preparing for the change you want to make. You might make small changes like switching to low fat sour cream in preparation for your goal of losing weight.

  1. Action: This is when you actively make the change. You start the new diet/workout/quit smoking.

  1. Maintenance: You’ve made the change, here’s where you figure out how to maintain it. What do you order when you eat at your favorite restaurant? How do you adjust your schedule to allow for your workout?

  1. Relapse: It happens. Don’t let the set backs sabotage your self-confidence. Use this stage to reflect and identify what went wrong. What are the triggers? What are the future triggers?

Change is uncomfortable, and learning anything new is allowing yourself to be ok being uncomfortable.

If you are thinking of making a positive change in your health, congratulations! You’re already in Stage 2! If you’re in Stage 3 and actually taking small steps to make the change, the coaches at LEAF Gym can help you transition into the Action stage. They can help you identify the change(s) you want to make, have a realistic conversation about goal setting, and THEN they’ll help you reach it. The catch: you still have to show up and do the work. (Hint: that’s the Maintenance stage we talked about above).

So, instead of using this time of year to make a radical, unplanned change you feel like you should, use it as a time for reflection. What is a positive change you want to make, why, and what are some ways you can be successful?

You are not alone in this journey. We’re all at different levels of health, and have different fitness goals. I invite you to come and take advantage of the support and encouragement at LEAF Gym. Allow them to help you succeed with your resolution – whether it comes on January 1st or the middle of March. Come and find your tribe.

Melissa Campbell is a litigation paralegal by day, but a storyteller at heart. If she’s not at the office or creating new worlds, she’s probably spending time with her husband of 21 years or her children who still think she’s cool enough to hang out with. Otherwise, you can find her paddleboarding or in her gardens recharging in nature.

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