Ask Dr. Julie

Mind Over Matter: Think Yourself Towards Your New Year’s Goals!

The start of any year leaves a lot of us feeling like anything is possible, a clean slate if you will, so that we can settle into a healthier lifestyle pattern we’ve promised ourselves; which we believe we will for sure be able to do this year.  Is that a harmful lie we tell ourselves or positive thinking that makes the realization of these goals more attainable?

It’s the latter actually.

Some studies suggest that positive thinking and imagery is half the battle to getting us to our goals.  This is why some athletic coaches like their players to imagine winning a game or why career coaches sometimes will have their clients imagine themselves giving the speeches beforehand to help facilitate a successful production.

So, why am I talking about this?

It’s because I do this sometimes with my patients in my integrative medicine clinic in San Jose, CA. Most of the time, when you are trying to achieve health goals, if you go into it without a game plan and without anticipating potential obstacles and pitfalls, it’s easier to get distracted or derailed on the healthy path. Once you’ve set up a game plan in your mind and figured out possible ways around potential pitfalls, then the next step is to imagine yourself going through a day or some days of doing it and then once you start doing it and continue to imagine yourself progressively staying on track, it becomes easier and easier because it starts to become habit and second nature behavior at that point.

I’ve noticed that people who hold onto the failures of the past, have a harder time achieving their goals because they have this negative mindset loop of possible failure. So, I’ve always said to my patients that you need to be realistic and not be in denial and acknowledge when you’re fallen off the right track but then don’t blame yourself, just get back on track and continue to imagine yourself staying on that track.

As we move into the new year, it’s important to take stock of what made us not stay on track with healthy behaviors, so we can assess potential pitfalls more accurately for this upcoming year. But it’s important to give ourselves that ‘clean slate’ and have positive thinking that we will attain our health goals this year so that we stay motivated in trying and moving towards our goal.

We should imagine our goals and ourselves achieving our goals and using the knowledge from last year of what pitfalls are, we can set up realistic solutions but keep on visualizing our successful year of healthy habits. This can keep you moving forward with the ‘eye on the prize’ per se and not on the little trip ups along the way.

Think of it this way, imagine watching a basketball game, if you only paid attention to when your team lost the ball and never on when your team scores or how they keep pushing forward all the way until the final second of the game, would it be a game you want to participate in watching?

That’s the same with your health journey…keep your eyes, mind and interest on the big wins and on the pushing forward until final seconds of the journey so that you want to keep participating and keep having fun throughout the entire process instead of just wallowing or giving up at the first sign of a hiccup.

You know you’re strong enough to do this…you can feel it and you can see it/visualize it!  So let’s do it!!!

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