Dear Janine,

I have a question regarding New Year’s resolutions. Every year I make a list of my goals, but I hardly ever reach them. Last Year I wanted to lose 30 pounds, I lost 8 then fell off the wagon. My goal this year is again to lose those same 30 pounds. Please help.

Regards, Motivated

Dear Motivated

We’ve all been there, filled with hope and enthusiasm as the clock strikes 12, fully motivated- only to lose steam after a week or 2 and then chuck in the towel defeated.

There are several possibilities why we don’t reach our goals, here is a list of the most common:

We’re not fully invested

Very often, especially when it comes to a drastic lifestyle change like weight reduction, stopping smoking or regular exercise, we’re doing it to please someone else, usually a partner and because doing it for ourselves isn’t the main driving factor, we simply aren’t fully committed. You have to want to do it for YOURSELF.

We’re unrealistic

It’s so easy to come up with a goal in the excitement of the moment, however often these goals aren’t realistic- particularly when it comes to weight reduction. We underestimate how much work it  will take and give ourselves unrealistic deadlines, creating unrealistic expectations and in turn disappointment. Shedding 30 pounds in 3-6 months is realistic, doing it in 30 days, not so much.

We don’t pace ourselves

Again using the example of shedding 30 pounds, often we go ALL in (which many people think is the only way to do it) and then burn out. Say your starting point is zero exercise and eating whatever you want and now all of a sudden decide you will:

  • exclude white processed flour

  • exclude dairy products

  • exclude alcohol and soda

  • stop eating sugar

  • exercise an hour every day

  • start drinking 2L of water

For many people the jump is simply too big, and they can’t maintain it.

Instead focus on ONE item per week. You could, for example, decide ‘This week I’m eliminating alcohol and soda and instead drinking water.’ Do that for a week or two and then decide on the next action. Whether it means starting with 30 mins of exercise 3 times a week or eliminating processed foods, the aim is to EASE into these new habits gently and realistically in a manner that changes your mindset to a marathon instead of a sprint. When incorporating habits in this way, it becomes a lifestyle change instead a desperate ‘quick fix’. You will be amazed at how these little actions add up. After 3 months you will definitely notice a difference as well as stay motivated as it feels easier to incorporate the habits one at a time.

Last, but not least, we don’t factor in our emotional drivers. Each and every one of us are driven by our emotions-whether we like it or not. What does this mean? I’ll use binge eating as an example, but it can apply to basically any habit or behaviour we want to change.

Often my clients will reach out and state they want to stop binge eating. Logic makes it seem simple, you just have to stop eating-right? Unfortunately our behaviours are driven by emotions, not logic. Binge eaters binge to self-soothe or distract themselves from feeling whatever emotion triggered the binge.

One of my clients was triggered by not feeling good enough. Each time anybody in her life whether it was her boss, her partner or a family member triggered that within her, her self-soothing response was to go to a drive-through, order 3 cheeseburgers and eat them there in her car, on the parking lot, where her partner, children and colleagues couldn’t see her. Now you can imagine if she was triggered on a weekly basis, what this did to her weight, health and self-esteem.

During a regression hypnosis session to find out where, when and how her subconscious mind came up with this emotional trigger we discovered that as a little girl, her alcoholic father would say the most awful things to her, how she was worthless, he wished she was never born and that she’ll never amount to anything in life. Now as adult, if someone said that you could brush it off, but that little 6 year old girl couldn’t. It cut her to her core that her daddy, who was supposed to love her unconditionally could say these awful things and make her question her own existence. Her mom, trying to make the best of the situation, would give her something to eat and rock her in her arms telling her everything will be OK and so an emotional trigger was born.

*Spoiler alert* Subconscious conditioning trumps logic every. single. time.

As an adult, every time she was made to feel inferior, worthless or not good enough she would revert to comforting herself with food. The good news is that once we identified the trigger, we could reframe that childhood experience and reprogram her subconscious to stop her binge eating behaviour.

I hope these tips help and if you’re reading this and recognise that your behaviours could be emotionally driven from a traumatic childhood experience do contact me, as I would love to help you, so that you can heal that and experience the results and outcomes you desire.