The 4 A’s to a New You!
By: Dr. Jean-Paul Bohemier
At the start of a new year the sense of change begins to arise in people. We start setting new goals, implementing new routines, and taking up new activities in an effort to make this year better than the last. There is no place where this sense of change occurs more intensely than in personal health. So why is it that after the first 3 weeks more than 90% of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions? Do people get pulled back into their old routines? Do they lose their original motivation? Is it just too hard?
In my opinion, one of the biggest reasons people do not follow through with their New Year’s resolutions is because of the way they were generated in the first place. Most people’s resolutions are nothing more than stated preferences. They represent how people would like to be and feel, but with none of the leverage that would create lasting change.
Key components necessary to create lasting change are what I term the 4 A’s:
1.) An emotionally charged goal or outcome
2.) Action plan for its accomplishment (figuring out what you need to do)
3.) Action (do it!)
4.) Accountability (review your results)
Almost anyone who has ever achieved a goal has either knowingly or unknowingly used the 4 A’s. To illustrate this point I will give you an example from my own life where the 4 A’s were implemented unknowingly.
About 4 years ago I was at my (future) fiancée’s house excited to try out her new Nintendo Wii Fit. I was creating my profile when the Wii had the audacity to tell me that I was overweight. Much to my horror the Wii had calculated my weight to be 198 lbs… and it was not because I was packing extra lean muscle! A healthy person of my height should be 165-170 lbs depending on muscle mass. I had always told myself that I would never let myself get above 200 lbs, so after a brief moment of grieving, my total focus became: how do I lose weight and fast?! (An emotionally charged and specific goal.)
As I drove the 3 hours back to
When I got home I immediately threw out everything that did not fit the criteria he listed and then went to the grocery store to purchase the right food (Action step 1). The next three days would be the hardest; all of my cravings would surface and make me feel miserable. The fast food signs would call me to come in and eat and I forced myself out of sheer will (the reason you need to be emotionally charged about your outcome) to follow the diet. (Action step 2). And then on the 4th day the weirdest thing happened; I woke up at 5 am with my eyes wide open! I thought to myself ‘What do people do with this much energy at 5 in the morning?’, and that previously dormant part of my brain spoke to me like an angel out of heaven and said… ‘Run, Genius!’
So I began to run, and it was invigorating. I started dropping weight at such a rapid pace that people wanted to know what I was doing. Over the next 3 months I monitored my weight loss each week and I eventually lost over 30 pounds (Accountability, review results). I felt fantastic, and it completely changed my perception on how I should eat and live my life. I am happy to say that I have kept the weight off and can’t imagine ever getting back to that state.
The lesson is that things can change. You can change temporarily, but true and lasting change only occurs when the right mechanics are in place. Anytime you have ever succeeded in attaining a goal you have implemented these steps whether you knew it or not - but by bringing them to your consciousness you can analyze and understand what you need to make it happen.
PS: Our office is hosting a seminar that is intended to give you the tools you need to make sustainable change. We will be joined by life coach Brian Baldwin to who will also share his secrets to help you make this year better than the last. Our Seminar is on Tuesday Jan 29th 2013; it is free and you can reserve a seat by phoning 403-247-4257.