WE’VE ALL MADE THOSE GRANDIOSE NEW YEAR’S PROMISES TO OURSELVES THAT JUST DON’T SEEM TO PAN OUT YEAR AFTER YEAR. WHY DO WE SO QUICKLY LOSE OUR “RESOLVE” TO CHANGE THE THINGS WE MOST WANT TO IMPROVE IN OUR LIVES? WE SAT DOWN WITH FITNESS GURU NICOLE GUSTAVSON TO TALK ABOUT THE CONCEPT OF “CROWDING OUT.”
How can people maintain their January resolve well into the New Year?
Our strides for personal progress succeed when we make ourselves the priority. A common pitfall is that we have too restrictive a focus on what we can’t have, can’t do, or want to exclude, rather than what we can have more of, want to do more of and want to attract more of into our lives.
Can you give us an example?
Let’s consider one of the most-common New Year’s resolutions – to lose weight. In this effort, most everyone has a long list of foods in their heads of what they are not allowed to eat. What if instead, we focused on just a list of beneficial foods to incorporate into our diets. ‘Crowding out’ refers to the natural process that happens when you add more of the good stuff in first: the more healthy foods you add to your existing diet, the less room you’ll have for junk. Literally, we can crowd out the bad by just focusing on what we want more of, until we reach a balanced diet that is sustainable.
How does this concept work for other goals?
Take this one step further and examine the lifegiving foods that are not on our plates, such as healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career and a spiritual practice. Ask whether these ‘foods’ are in enough abundance to fill your soul and satisfy your hunger for life. Again, when we feel satiated and in balance, we supplement less, and what no longer serves us will lose ground.
What is your advice for those who have fallen off the wagon already in 2017?
It’s not too late to revise our 2017 ‘resolutions’ into personal goals to ‘crowd out’ the unwanted with more of the wanted. Rather than lofty resolutions, set goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timely. Most importantly, as you progress towards your goals, continually re-evaluate them for relevance, make adjustments when necessary, and recognize and reward the smaller successes along the way.
And in the long term, crowding out will result in success?
Long-term success of any goal depends on the formation of positive and sustainable habits that bring enjoyment and enrichment into our lives.