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Episode 31: How to make holiday resolutions (really) work

Video Highlights

Hi everybody, Dr. Eric Cobb back with you.

Hope you’re having a fantastic holiday season.

I want to run something by you this week … just something to think about. It’s a little exercise, but it all comes back to logic and why we do things.

As you know we’re getting into the end of 2013, headed into 2014, and I don’t know if you’re a resolution person or not … and I know a lot a people aren’t. I’m not a big resolution person at this point in my life, but I do love talking about change in December, because even if you don’t make resolutions, a lot of people are thinking about what they want to have happen differently next year.

Now to kind of get us in the mindset, I want to share with you a quote. And it says, “It is not realistic to expect that people will change, even when the consequences for not changing are enormous. Everyone knows the consequences, and the change required is simple.” This is actually out of one of our courses where we talk a lot about behavior change, and the whole idea is that so many people try to logic themselves into creating a change in their life, and unfortunately logic usually fails.

Because I can tell you all the reasons why exercise is good for you. And if it hasn’t connected with you on an emotional, deep level, the likelihood of you changing is pretty small. I was reading something just 2 days ago. It’s a new study that just came out about a month ago and it shows that creative thinking is tied to exercise. Pretty simple and actually very, very direct. Exercise more… better creative thinking… in both versions of creative thinking, what’s called convergent and divergent thinking.

Exercise can make you a better problem solver, it can make your brain function better … and most people know that at this point, but knowing about that very often is not enough to create change for us.
So here’s a little exercise. Think about something that you want to do in 2014. Maybe it’s change your diet, change your exercise, exercise more, exercise less … do something differently than you’re currently doing. Then I want you to write down all the reasons, like, “Why would I want to do that?”

And once you’ve written down those reasons … and that can be anything from 2 to 10 to 20 different reasons why it might seem important to you … what I want you to do is go through with a red pen or something that you can really distinguish, and I want you to cross off every reason that comes from logic. I want you to cross off everything that you can that goes, “Oh, well I should do it because I’d have better health, because I’d look better at…” you know, whatever, “…better at the beach” … it doesn’t matter.

Anything that seems really logical, I want you to just cross out and get rid of because the high likelihood is that there’s a deeper, more profound reason that would help you create the behavior changes that you want … and it may not even be on that list. What I’ve found over the course of years of teaching people fitness, health, helping people rehab significant injuries, is we have to find the right lever point in order to create the momentum that we need in our lives. After you’ve done the initial exercise, and like I said, crossed off all the logical stuff that should make sense … that hasn’t helped you make a change so far … I want you to redo the exercise, and I want you to try and find something that you feel really deeply.

And I really mean that… and it can’t be something generic. As an example, you’ve got three kids … If you were imagining the one kid that would say, “Please change your eating, because I want you to be around for my wedding.” If you can visualize that, now all of a sudden you may start to find the emotional juice that you need to really begin looking at your habits in a different way.

I know that that may sound a little bit heavy, but like I said, we’re going into a change time anyway. I really want you to start to consider the idea that you can make deep, fast, long-lasting changes in your life if we find the right emotional driver … and give up trying to educate and logic ourselves into change … because for most people, that is actually not a good path to follow.

Those are my thoughts for you this week.

I hope your having a fantastic holiday season.

Look forward to talking to you soon.

Thanks.

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