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By Chris Coward, VP of Coaching for Apollo Health

Here we are at the beginning of a new year where it’s common to consider what we want to accomplish, change, or improve. Maybe it’s weight loss, a better handle on stress, having more fun. Maybe you are fired up to follow the ReCODE Protocol™ more consistently. I’m sure you can relate to the idea of a fresh start and a possible reset in particular areas.

Unfortunately, the research shows us that New Year’s Resolutions don’t work that well. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Scranton found that 23% of people quit their resolution after just one week. And only 19% of individuals are actually able to stick to their goals long-term (two years, in the case of the study). You see it in the gyms every year. In January, the gyms are more crowded than ever, but you can more easily jump on that treadmill without a wait by February. 

What does work to create lasting change? I’m going to offer a few tips that have worked for my coaching clients and me.

1) Connect to your WHY. You’ve read this before in previous newsletters, but it bears repeating. Behavior change can be hard, and it’s even harder if there is not a strong reason to engage in the change. When you’ve identified it, Your WHY should make you feel emotional. For myself, when I’m inspired to do my best in the ReCODE Protocol, it’s because I’m thinking about my mother, who knew something was wrong with her brain at age 60 and has been in memory care for several years now with AD. I don’t want that for myself, and I know from science that I don’t have to turn on the ApoE4 gene that I probably received from my mother. But it’s more than wanting to avoid a negative health trajectory — I want to show others it can be done, and I want to help make Apollo Health successful so we can help millions. Dr. Bredesen often says we can make Alzheimer’s Disease the rare disease it should be.

2) Create a phrase or word for 2022 that inspires and anchors you. Think of this word or phrase as your north star for 2022. This year my word is Influence, and I have connected with this word every day and how I can use my influence for good. And on a side note, just 14 days into January, I’ve been called to influence others every single day.  

3) Set goals that are REAL. REAL stands for Realistic, Evaluative, Action-oriented, and Limited. For example, let’s say you want to kick start an exercise plan that includes cardio, strength training, and stretching. What would a REAL goal look like? Realistically you know you can start exercising for 3 days a week. Evaluative means there are clearly defined measures. In this example, it could mean you are meeting the goal if you exercise 3 days per week for at least 30 minutes. Action-oriented means that you are taking a specific action — what are you going to do specifically for exercise?.  Finally, Limited refers to a finite time parameter. In this situation, you could execute this plan for 2 weeks, and then re-evaluate. You might be thinking, “Wait, I need to exercise for the rest of my life, not just 2 weeks.” That is true, but it’s psychologically easier to have a shorter time period and then re-evaluate. In this case, after 2 weeks you can decide if 3 days is too much for your schedule or if you can bump up to 45 min from the 30 minutes you’ve been doing or some other modification.

4) Take small steps. You may have an aspiration to do the Bredesen 7 so well that you are following all of the recommendations in your ReCODE or PreCODE report, and the new year’s arrival has you motivated to try. Resist this, as motivation will wane, and you will have more success in taking small steps. Start with one or two aspects of the Bredesen 7 and make these steps so small you can’t fail. See more on small steps from BJ Fogg, “Tiny Habits,” for examples of very tiny habits.

5) Set your environment up for success. What do you need to do to make it easier to achieve your goals? It might be a pantry clean-out to eliminate junk food and high carb snacks or a reminder on your phone to start winding down at night to prepare for bed. If you want to get better with your supplement routine, there are some hacks you can do to address your challenges with taking supplements consistently, such as the ReCODE app for reminders, etc.

6) Ask for help from your friends and family. Let your loved ones know what you are doing and what you need from them, such as support, handling of tasks to free some time up for you, or whatever is going to help you on your path to changing behavior. 

7) Hire a ReCODE 2.0 Certified Health Coach to help you. I can’t neglect this tip as I’ve witnessed over and over how powerful coaching is in helping individuals (including myself) uncover barriers to change, provide necessary motivation, support, resources, and accountability. The investment in someone dedicated to your goals and helping you along your journey is well worth it!

I wish you the best in kicking off your 2022. If you are interested in support of others who are on your journey, consider joining one of our support groups professionally facilitated by our ReCODE 2.0 Coaches.

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