If you’re like the average American, you made some resolutions for the new year. Over 2/3 of us do – at least sometimes.
And the hard truth is this: When we do, many of us have already broken them by now.
According to a University of Scranton/Journal of Clinical Psychology survey, only 64% of resolution-makers are still following through after one month. By the end of six months, that number drops to 46%. About half report that, in general, when it comes to resolutions, success is “infrequent.”
Of course, if you’re a glass-half-full kind of person, that means almost half of us do succeed.
And truth be told, especially when it comes to health, some improvement is better than none at all. There is virtue in trying. As one familiar saying goes, “Not the victory but the action; Not the goal but the game; In the deed the glory.”
Still, victory is a lot nicer. What makes it so hard to follow through on our self-promises?
There may be at least as many reasons as there are people who diligently and earnestly resolve each year to improve their health in some way. Sometimes, it’s a matter of not having a specific enough goal. Want to “lose weight”? How much? Does it matter if it’s just water weight? What if you lose weight by losing muscle? It’s hard to commit to a goal so nebulous. What’s the actual goal? To lose 20 pounds? To fit into some old favorite clothes again?
The more specifically you can state your goal, the more clearly you understand what will constitute success, the more able you are to make a sound plan of action for reaching it – and to act on that plan.
Similarly, many say they intend to eat healthier or live a healthier lifestyle. Again, what does this mean?
Health : Vitality
Health is more than just the absence of sickness or dysfunction. It is more than merely all the cells and organs and systems functioning as they should. It is vitality itself:
It’s also not something that just happens. It is something you choose. The way you live your day to day life – the foods you eat, medicaments you take, activities you perform, drugs you use or avoid – either supports your health or undermines it. Granted, taking charge in your health in this way – by taking charge of your choices – is much more challenging than simply availing yourself of a doctor when something goes wrong, expecting him or her to “fix it” while you remain passive.
But it’s also more empowering, this long-view approach that acknowledges you as the author and agent of your own health and well-being.
The biological practitioner acknowledges, respects and values the wisdom, dignity and fortitude of the individual, and their right to make their own decisions when it comes to their health and well-being.
One of the reasons our specialty is called biological dentistry is due to its focus on sustaining or improving the quality of life for individuals in our care. For “biological” means pertaining to life. This is why we insist on biocompatibility, why we are concerned with how oral conditions may contribute to systemic illness, why we emphasize nutrition and favor notoxic or informational remedies such as herbs, acupuncture and homeopathy.
Our goal is always to support the body’s own inherent, God-given abilities to self-regulate and heal; to support life. Part of our role is to help you broaden and deepen your understanding of how your body works, how to keep it healthy and your options for care should problems arise.
When you are ready to accept responsibility for – or renew your commitment to – a healthful life, the next step is to consider: What does that healthful life look like? What exactly does it involve? How will you know when you’ve attained your goal?
Write down your vision for future reference as specifically and thoroughly as you can. Share it with your health care providers for their input and support in your turning that vision into reality. Refer to it regularly. Assess your progress.
And don’t feel like you’ve got to change everything at once – a daunting task even for the most stubborn or strong-willed. That’s another sure recipe for failure. Instead, prioritize the changes you need to make, then figure out what you need to do in order to tackle priority number one.
Of course each person’s priorities will be different, a reflection of their own needs and values. But by creating change in smaller, more concrete steps, you improve your odds of actually incorporating these new behaviors into your everyday life so they become habits and your healthful lifestyle becomes your natural lifestyle.