Debra Chew: Shifting Our Thinking Helps End Recycling Of Resolutions

Monday, February 3, 2014 - by Debra Chew

We are now well into the New Year, and resolutions have been swirling around in conversation all month.  Chances are you, like many people, on Jan. 1, made a promise to get physically healthier.  Maybe you pledged to join a gym, stop smoking, join a weight loss plan, or even just start eating healthier foods.  Whatever resolution you made, now that a month has passed, are you sticking to your goals?  Are you well on your way to a healthier you or have you fallen into a resolution cycle?  Each year are you re-cycling your resolutions, only to fail again and again?

Unfortunately the self-help industry thrives on the odds that you will start out ‘full speed ahead’ only to run out of steam as the days of January slip by.  And, that next January, the cycle will start again. More than 12 percent of gym members join in January, compared to an average of 8.3 percent per month for the full year, according to the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association.  And, Weight Watchers reports a huge increase in January memberships that decline sharply by March.  Even with the best of intentions, why does this cycle seem to repeat itself year after year?  

Maybe it is the desire for a quick fix that causes failure in New Year resolutions.  Sadly, there is little evidence to support the claims that simply joining a gym or taking up a commercial weight loss program will make you healthier. Those who study human change theory will tell you that a person can’t really make fundamental and permanent change to behaviors until they have made a shift in their thinking about themselves and the behaviors.  When it comes to changing behaviors to get healthier, it is first all about how we view health and ourselves. 

So, how do I view myself and health? I find I am more successful when I see my health as natural and consistent and not dependent on cycles of good and bad choices I am making about food, diet, sleep habits, etc.  A health educator in the late 1800s, Mary Baker Eddy http://www.marybakereddylibrary.org/mary-baker-eddy/life  taught “The cycle of good obliterates the epicycle of evil.”   

I’ve found my best success in erasing cycles of “bad” eating (or other behaviors) comes by turning to God, good, and, I’m not alone. Many programs designed to free people of addictions – alcohol, food, etc. – include steps to find or re-discover a sense of the Divine and bring this greater power to the problem. I have found, through prayer, I can attain any changes needed in my human behavior when I go to God for help.  A favorite verse of mine says: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God,” (Rom 8:28) There is that word good again….the cycle of good – good thinking, good choices, good actions.   

Just because you have made a resolution doesn’t mean you are destined to fail.  If, like me, you want to see consistently good or better health, it’s something we can all experience. It just takes a bit of reframing our human view and getting a bigger, God-like, view on the subject.   


Debra Chew writes about the connection between thought, spirituality and health.  She has been published in the chattanoogan.com, Memphis Commercial Appeal, and in the UK.  She is also the media and legislative liaison for Christian Science for TN.  You can contact her at tennessee@compub.org.

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