Embracing the Now in Menopause: Why Right Now Resolutions WorkDec 30, 2023
As the clock ticks down to the New Year, many of us fall into the trap of setting grandiose resolutions – promises to ourselves that often fade as quickly as the holiday decorations come down. This year, however, let’s replace New Year's resolutions with what I call Right Now Resolutions.
The Problem with New Year’s Resolutions
New Year's resolutions, while well-intentioned, are often set up for failure. They're typically ambitious, vague, and hinge on the myth that motivation magically resets with the calendar. As a health science professor and menopause expert, I've seen firsthand how these annual pledges can be particularly disheartening for women in menopause.
Why Right Now Resolutions Work
My idea of Right Now Resolutions is about immediate action, no matter how small. It’s about making choices today rather than waiting for a time in the future when you promise to make big changes. This approach is more realistic and manageable, especially for those who are dealing with the physical, emotional, and hormonal changes of menopause. If your menopause journey is anything like mine, the changes and challenges are often unpredictable and ever-changing. When you get used to one symptom, the next one pops up. It can feel like a crazy game of whack-a-mole. Here’s why Right Now Resolutions work:
- Immediate Gratification: We live in a world of instant results. "Right Now Resolutions" cater to this desire by providing immediate gratification through small, achievable goals.
- Adaptability: They allow for flexibility and adaptability, crucial for women experiencing the unpredictability of menopausal symptoms.
- Sustainable Change: Small steps lead to sustainable lifestyle changes. Instead of overhauling your life overnight, you gradually introduce new habits.
One of my favorite ways to implement sustainable changes that you can start tomorrow is called Temptation Bundling. It is a term coined by Dr. Katy Milkman, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. She is a behavioral economist, and her research focuses on using economics and psychology to find mechanisms for healthy behavior change.
Temptation bundling combines two activities - one you like to do and one you don’t want to do but would like to start doing. The desired outcome is that you successfully implement a new healthy habit into your life. A few examples of temptation bundling are:
- Watching your favorite show while exercising. Maybe you watch it while on a treadmill, but you could also include movement/exercise in front of your TV at home.
- Listen to your favorite audiobook while cleaning the house. This one works for me like a charm.
Another way to bundle habits, although without the temptation aspect, is to bundle healthy habits with activities you already do all day. Here are a few examples:
- Lunge around the house while brushing your teeth
- Add ten squats every time you get up from your office chair and sit back down. This bundle can add hundreds of squats to your workday and is incredibly easy to add. Once you get into this habit, you won’t know how to sit down without adding the squats. You might get some funny looks at the office, but they are just jealous :)
- Step in place while cooking
- Add some balance work while doing dishes by doing them on one leg.
The possibilities are endless and you can start this as soon as you finish reading this. No need to plan, just do it. Don’t forget to have some fun with them.
A few things that can help you be successful in this endeavor are:
- Identify Your Why: Start by understanding your motivation. Whether it’s improving health, finding more joy, or managing menopause symptoms, your 'why' is your anchor.
- Set Micro-Goals: Break down your goals into micro-steps. Just implement one small change, such as doing 10 squats before sitting down. Don’t change anything else but do this consistently and once it becomes weird not to do it, then you’re ready for the next micro-goal. It’s easier to start with small steps and then turn those into bigger steps than start with really big steps.
- Celebrate Small Wins: Each step forward, no matter how small, is a victory. Celebrate these to build momentum.
- Reflect and Adjust: Regularly reflect on your progress and be willing to adjust your approach. Flexibility is key.
Whether you're navigating the waves of menopause or simply seeking a more fulfilled life, Right Now Resolutions offer a path to real, sustainable change.
Do you have any ideas for Right Now Resolutions or Temptation Bundling? I’d love to hear them. You can email me at [email protected]
I wish you a happy and healthy 2024!