Anything Is Possible in 2019 (... You Talkin' to Me?)

By Marilynn Preston

December 25, 2018 5 min read

Pop the cork and hail the new year. 2019 is upon us, and just like those massively melting icebergs in the Antarctic, there's no turning back. Instead, there's only looking forward: to longer afternoons, to more sunlight, to the promise of the rest of your life.

So let's talk about New Year's resolutions.

Personally, I'm fascinated by behavior change. I've trained to be a Wellcoach to get to the heart of the mystery: How is it that some people can slim down, sober up and let go of crippling emotions like anger and guilt, while others stay stuck in the paralyzing groove of woulda, shoulda, coulda?

My question for you: What do you wish for yourself this new year?

Stop, think and then go ahead: Start a journal and dream your dream.

"I want to play more, work less ... learn to cook ... try out for a community play ... start meditating every day ... cut out the sugar and diet sodas ... start eating breakfast ... restore my '67 Mustang ... take a yoga class twice a week."

It's your call, your choice, your personal vision playing out in your head right this moment, I hope.

But here's the core question: If you dream it, can you do it? The answer that serves you best is, "Yes!" Like plants turning to the light, we humans are hard-wired to grow, to heal, to make smart choices when it comes to our personal well-being.

OK, the odds are against you. Statistically speaking, backsliding is to behavior change as pot brownies are to the giggles. Neuroscientists report that the mind doesn't like change, actually resists it and will invent clever ways to throw most people off course.

BUT you're not "most people." You are uniquely biochemically organized to rewire your mind, change your life, and your body, too, in profound ways — if and when you are ready and can rally support.

How do you know if you're ready? The fact you're still reading this column is a very good sign . It doesn't matter how many times you've failed before. You can always begin ... again.

But this time, cheer yourself up with an understanding of how change happens. It's not linear; it's a process. Two steps forward, one step back, not unlike a country western line dance. Here are a few more observations about how change happens from "All Is Well: The Art {and Science} of Personal Well-Being," my Amazon best-seller.

—ONLY YOU. You can't quit sugar, lose weight and ditch your depression just because your doctor or insurance company wants you to. Lasting change happens when you decide to make it happen. You need to dig down deep and decide for yourself. Am I finished with the drama, the excuses, the need to feel shame and blame? What are the pros? What are the cons? Write them down. Think it through. If you need some personal coaching, fine. If that's beyond the budget, look for affordable community resources. If you're not ready, save yourself the aggravation. You're doing the best you can for now, and when the pros finally outweigh the cons, you'll be ready for action.

—BE SPECIFIC. Don't vaguely tell yourself to cut out sweets, for instance. Decide on the details: Snack on seven almonds instead of mini Snickers bars, or swap your morning muffin for a bowl of yogurt and blueberries. If it's physical fun — aka exercise — you want more of, be obsessively specific about what you'll do and when. Schedule workouts on your calendar: "Speed walk for 30 minutes in Lincoln Park on Tuesday, starting at 7 a.m." Details make all the difference.

—SET REALISTIC GOALS. Unrealistic goals — "I'll lose 20 pounds by Valentine's Day" — set you up for failure. Can you starve, deny, torture yourself? Sure. But it's dumb and teaches you nothing about a sustainable and enjoyable way of eating real food. Scale down your goals to bite-sized challenges that are doable: a meatless Monday, a three-minute meditation, a 10-minute walk. Be patient. The point is to feel successful on a weekly basis. Small victories will boost your confidence and motivate you to stay on track.

I know we're just getting started ... but it's time to say goodbye — for now. 2019 will bring changes in your life; that's for sure. Good ones, bad ones, unexpected ones.

But what change do you want to bring?

ENERGY EXPRESS-O! YOU'RE THE BOSS

"People don't resist change. They resist being changed." — Peter Senge

Marilynn Preston is the author of "Energy Express," America's longest-running healthy lifestyle column. Her new Amazon best-seller, "All Is Well: The Art {and Science} of Personal Well-Being," is available now on Amazon and elsewhere. Visit Creators Publishing at creators.com/books/all-is-well to learn more. For more on personal well-being, visit www.MarilynnPreston.com.

Photo credit: at Pixabay

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