How are those New Years resolutions going? If you made any, you are probably in one of three camps:

  1. Off and running – enjoy the changes you are making and seeing the benefits;
  2. Wavering or not quite got going – wondering why you made those resolutions in the first place, as they are so unrealistic
  3. Given up completely

So, if you find yourself in the second two, then I would think that the outcome you originally wanted is still something you want? If so, then maybe its the process for making the change that you need to focus on rather than the end result.

When working with clients, this is a common problem – the outcome desire is strong, but the process chosen to get there is unrealistic, too difficult, needs willpower, or requires too much change. We deal with the reason why the change is required in the first place, and why the change hasn’t happened so far…. I’ve yet to found any evidence of magic that happens at the stroke of midnight!

Below are 5 common health resolutions that clients make and how we work together to achieve them:

1. I want to eat more “healthy.”

I hear this so often! The problem is, when people think about “eating healthy,” what tends to get lost is that it’s not about the food. It’s about your relationship with food! And if you’re not being mindful, it’s very easy for your “plan” for healthy eating to become restrictive (and therefore unsustainable).

We work on what part of eating you are struggling with, and what they want to achieve by changing what they are doing – is it to feel better? Have more energy? Live longer? Or something else?

2. You want to have a body that I feel good about.

Our society makes it very easy to tie feelings of self-worth to having a certain size, shape, or appearance. But believing that your happiness and confidence depend on your looks can actually make it harder to feel happy and confident!

Instead, consider starting from a place of self-acceptance. For example, you could tell yourself, “I’ll practice mindful eating because I love myself, not so I’ll love myself.”

3. I want to stop cravings.

I hear from some clients that they reach for “junk foods” when they are stressed or upset. We work on the reason for this behavior as a starting point. But, we should also consider the word choice. Calling foods “junk foods” automatically defines them as “bad” foods. When you think of them this way, and tell yourself you shouldn’t eat them, you’re keeping the focus on the food. That adds to cravings and a sense of deprivation.

When you feel deprived of other things—like time, comfort, pleasure, and so on—you turn to those foods for a quick fix. So, food is actually your solution, not the problem! This means that in order to change those patterns, instead of labeling certain foods and trying to avoid them, start by meeting your needs for comfort, pleasure and so on! You may be surprised by how your cravings for those foods diminishes and you are able to enjoy them whenever you want without any worries!

4. You want to have more control over what you are eating.

Mindless eating isn’t just a matter of being distracted. For example, some people feel like eating at the computer helps them concentrate. Ask yourself, “Does it really help me concentrate, or is it giving me some other benefit I haven’t acknowledged?” For example, is eating distracting or soothing you from feeling anxious or bored?

In that case, consider other ways to address those feelings. You might try deep breathing when you feel anxious or switching tasks when you’re bored. Take some time to experiment and see what works. This could be a great opportunity for you to learn new self-care strategies!

5. You want to stop over eating.

Knowing where you are in terms of hunger and fullness takes practice. As a coach, thisis an area I can help with tools and techniques. And it’s very common to have trouble realizing when you’re full, especially if you often eat when you’re not hungry to begin with!

Mindfulness will help you address this challenge by increasing your awareness of your physical, environmental, and emotional states. For example, feeling satisfied after eating isn’t just about how much you eat; it’s a complex set of physical and mental signals that can be easy to miss, ignore, or misinterpret.