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FHT: Locals should make resolutions they can keep

MAPLETON TWP. - Even if you haven’t made a new year’s resolution, most of you have one thing or another that you would like to change.

For many of you it is about losing weight and becoming healthier. You know what you should be doing for exercise and what to eat to be more healthy, but how do you make this part of the regular routine?

One answer is behaviour change. It’s about getting around the “yes, but” and getting into action. But where do you start and how do you stay on track? Motivation is a huge part of changing a habit. You need to understand what will motivate you or create a desire within you to do these things. It is in our nature to take the easy road and unfortunately the easy road is not always the healthiest.

Have you ever wondered why the stairs in public spaces are hidden somewhere in a corner, but yet the escalator or elevators are centrally located?

Our environment often pushes towards this easy road and you need to take control and make better choices.  Habits are automatic actions that you do everyday and don’t have to think twice about. For many of you, healthy behaviour is abnormal. What this means is that most of you have to make a conscious effort at taking a walk or cutting back on sweets. But what you are used to is grabbing what is convenient and usually it is the unhealthy option.

When looking at motivation, or your desire to do things, Dr. Vallis from the Behaviour Change Institute suggests asking yourself the following questions:

1. Do you see your current behaviour as a problem? For example, “Do you see eating a bag of chips at night before bed or watching TV instead of going for a walk as a problem?

2. Does your current behaviour concern you?

3. Are you interested in changing?

4. Are you ready to change now?

If you have answered no to any of these, this change in behaviour will not happen as easily as if you had answered yes to all. But, this doesn’t mean you can’t make the change.

Next, according to Dr. Vallis, you should look at why you want this change and how hard you will work to achieve it? One thing that often interferes with best-laid plans is your readiness for change. When figuring out if you are ready to make a change in your habits, it is a good idea to create a pro and con list for the new behaviour and for staying the same. This will help sway you toward one or the other.

It is also a good idea to try to predict if anything will get in your way. This new behaviour is probably something that your have tried to change before so understanding what interfered in the past will be helpful as you move forward. 

For each barrier you can think of, try to also think of ways to get around these situations. This will help you be ready and hopefully be able to overcome the barrier when it presents itself.

Most of the time New Year’s resolutions are kept for the first little while. You start to enjoy the benefits and outcomes of this new behaviour, but then slip back into your old habits. During this time it is important to focus on these new benefits, such as more energy from exercising, or less cravings and the weight loss from not eating chips at night. 

The reason you are experiencing these benefits is from your new behaviour. And to keep feeling this way you need to keep doing the new behaviour.

Your confidence is something that will help maintain your new behaviour. To build confidence, be sure to follow a path to every goal. Along this path will be twists and turns and many small goals leading you to your ultimate destination. As you achieve the small goals along the way, the success will create a more confident you. This growing confidence will allow you to keep making realistic, short-term goals that will continue to get you closer and closer to your bigger goal.

For more information about any of the free services offered by the Minto-Mapleton Family Health Team visit or call the Drayton office at 519-638-2110 or the Clifford office at 519-327-4777.


January 6, 2012


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