Are You Really Going to Achieve Your 2020 Goals?

Here’s how to make sure that 2020 will be your single greatest year of life.

As a Functional/Integrative Medicine doctor, I see patients who have very specific health and fitness goals with an unwavering mindset to reach their desired health. These requests are anything but simple.

The patients that come to me have challenging lifestyle diseases such as Diabetes, Hypertension, High Cholesterol, IBS, IBD, Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, etc. Regardless of their diagnosis or their list of problems... my patients have one thing in common: they are ready to make the change and they want to stop feeling stuck. 

My patients know that they have a problem and are serious about solving their health puzzle. Another commonality amongst my patients is that they know there are no magic pills, vitamins or plans - it is within their reach to become self-sufficient and not rely on drugs or supplements.  

What is so unique about these patients who finally made a change?

They followed a 5-Stage psychological cyclical process for intentional change


  1. Precontemplation – a.k.a. Maintain the ignorant bliss stage. Patients in this stage resist change or blame other factors such as genetics, destiny, or society. The irony of this stage is that most patients here, are not even sure if help is possible. Consider these few questions to find out if you might be in the pre-contemplation stage of change:
  • Do you get defensive about your behavior or the problem you are dealing with?
  • Do you avoid learning about your problems?
  • Do you rationalize your excuses?
  1. Contemplation – After becoming aware of your problems and knowing that there is value in changing the trajectory of your disease, you enter the contemplation phase. You can get stuck in this stage for years! A major pitfall of this stage is known as ‘chronic contemplators’.


Chronic contemplators have a deep desire to get healthy, however... there is an unconscious resistance to change. They are often too scared to let go of their “past” selves or may deal with extreme anxiety when embracing change. And change can be frightening as it threatens our identity, relationships and everything familiar to us. Chronic contemplators wait for some ‘mystical magical moment’ when everything will be perfect.

Do you ever hear yourself saying; “I will take care of myself when my kids go off to college”, “I am too busy right now”, “I think I can wait a few years and trick my body”, or, “When the time is right, I will start”?

Chronic contemplators take premature actions on special occasions such as New Year’s Day, birthdays, or special vacations. If you have been in the contemplation stage, chances are you cannot go straight to the action - you need to prepare yourself first.  

  1. Preparation – The preparation phase of change allows you to get ready for change and learn how to cope with any unexpected challenges of healing. Long-term healing requires immense preparation! This is where you start to understand the SPECIFIC steps you need to take so that you increase your confidence around success. If you are in this stage of change you most likely are looking for a credible source to help you. 

Help comes in different forms. Perhaps you are seeking an online course, buying a book or scheduling a visit with a Functional Integrative Medicine doctor.  Whatever it is that you are planning to do, I recommend taking baby steps, setting a date, going public with your decision to change, and creating an action plan. 



  1. Action – Time to change – but are there any potential pitfalls? How can you increase your chances of success? Is it possible you didn’t prepare yourself?

A day of eating healthy food will not change your labs, just as a day of meditation will not permanently shift your mental state. Was that program you enrolled in worth it, or was it priced in a way that you didn’t worry whether it was effective or not? There are many misguided action plans that disguise themselves as advantageous opportunities. You need to be certain that what you do, works for the best long-term results.

Real change in your health takes work, can suck up enormous energy and resources…But temporarily!!! What you will gain is your self-esteem, more energy, increased metabolism, reduced visceral adiposity, reduced anxiety, reduced depression and emotional pain. 

  1. Maintenance – Like the rest of the stages of change, maintenance is no easy task. I once saw a patient who had IBS. We worked on their gut health, and all seemed to be fine- symptoms disappearing, anxiety improving... however, he relapsed back and forth between the first two stages. He would take my advice very seriously for about a few months - but if any major stressors occurred, it would drop him back to the contemplation stage.

All stages of change require commitment. This phase is all about what you have learned from the action phase and how you build onto it. For example; if in the Action phase you meditated for two minutes per day, now you meditate for four minutes per day. 


You will start to uncover patterns, negative belief systems, and start to break them apart one by one. The key point here is that if you do not start building up, know that you are still VULNERABLE to falling backwards! Common threats my patients encounter in this phase are: social pressures, friends, and family thinking that they are being excessive, or maybe they give into old patterns during special occasions.

Change stages are inevitable, but it is so important for us to understand these stages if we are seeking meaning for change for ourselves.  I can assure you, I see these stages frequently in my practice and many of my patients are in the maintenance phase, improving their health daily. 

Maintaining your health after you have healed from a major chronic disease requires renewing your commitment. If you are in this phase of change, I recommend you start offering help to other people in your current situation. Helping other people helps you continue your work in this phase. Persistence and patience...the journey of healing is long-winded. Rewarding yourself will reinforce your progress – treat yourself to a spa treatment, or a warm herb-infused bath occasionally. 

Last but not least- you can relapse. Your life cannot always be free of stressors, yet this awareness is your key. 2020 can be the year you discover your greatest health. You can do this. I’m here to encourage and inspire you.

Forward this email to anyone you know to help empower their commitment to improving their health. We all need encouragement. ⁣⁣⁣


 

To kickstart any change to your eating habits, know which foods work best for you! Start with this FREE copy of my Elimination Diet Guide by clicking Here.

For more information on Functional Medicine visit my website at KiranGrewalMD.com and follow us on Instagram Facebook for daily health tips, information and inspiration.

To Your Health, Kiran Grewal MD

"My goal is to share my knowledge with the world. I believe in delivering valuable and ethical content that changes the lives of my patients." -Kiran Grewal MD


 

 

Reference:

Prochaska, Norcross, and Diclemente. (1994) Changing For Good: A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits And Moving Your Life Positively Forward. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

 

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