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Revisiting our health goals: why do they often go unmet?

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  • Written By: Troy Steven, Wellness

I have finally stopped writing ‘2014’ on checks and signature blocks and ‘2015’ is firmly entrenched into my mind… Last year has finally left us and this year is officially here. Sadly, at the same time, many of our New Year’s resolutions have already left and the reality of today is officially here.

Abrupt and blunt, I know, but very true.

Both my personal and professional experience remind me that by this point in a new year, many of the resolutions and promises to change and create a ‘new you’ drift away and become yet another missed shot or another renewed promise, “Next time, it’s for real. I will do this next year!”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am certain there are many of you out there who set resolutions and stuck to them just fine. However, experience and history show that success is not the norm and most of us do not hold our resolutions for the year, let alone through Valentine’s Day.

Without even opening this to discussion, I will offer my own reasoning about why we don’t hold to our resolutions or achieve many of our goals throughout the year. First, it is not true that we are just destined for failure and the success and achievement we all desire will never be found. In my opinion, the bottom line is many of our goals just don’t mean enough to us to make that achievement possible.

Contrary to what you may think, this is not about creating value in a goal or a specific activity but rather understanding the value that goal or activity has in other aspects of your life that outweigh your desire to change it. That is, regardless of how strongly you feel you would like to change something, there exists certain properties of the “bad” behavior that are consciously or unconsciously more appealing to drive you to continue with the “bad” and not change for the “good”.

Confused yet? Let me give you an example.

The single, most difficult group of people that I have encountered through the years is easy to identify: the mommies. I love moms to death (I actually have one and I’m married to one, too), but when it comes to behavior change they are probably the most difficult group to encounter. No different from the rest of us, mommies have wishes and desires to change behaviors to be healthier, perform better, feel great, quit certain behaviors, and the like. But, what they have that not all of us do have is a grand sense of duty and that nurturing role for the family and those around them – they are mommies, they take care of people and things, that’s just what they do. When you think back to my model of wellness, that societal role or self-identity the “mom” and the caregiver falls right into the spiritual health realm. It is extremely difficult for a mommy to relinquish that role since that is how she identifies herself and that is who she feels she is meant to be. Those urges and that sense of duty make it extremely difficult for someone to not spend time on others and to not feel selfish when she takes time out of the day to take care of herself rather than someone else. Many mommies tell me they feel that they have other responsibilities more important than themselves and that is a difficult sense to shift. So in sense, that conscious or unconscious need to fulfill the mommy role or identity far outweighs the potential benefit of a positive behavior change for that person.

Clear as mud?

While that may not completely clear things, I hope it does at least scratch the surface of why some of our goals perpetually go unmet. Over the next few posts, I will revisit my model of wellness (mind, body, spirit, soul) and how the components wellness play differently when we set goals, achieve success, or meet failure. Hopefully you can use the knowledge and understanding to better assist and guide you down the path toward health, happiness, and a life of feeling great.

One more thing: Get outside!
While it is still weeks away from springtime and our anticipation of warmer and sunnier days, take full advantage of the unseasonably warm and sunny days that we get during this time of year. These are not days to start multi-day projects outside or to undertake large plans, but they are great days for doing smaller jobs around the yard and outside of the home. The warmth, sunshine and activity all offer great benefit during the doldrums of winter and your body and “to-do” list for the spring will thank you for your efforts.

Have Questions?
Campbell County Health's Wellness Services works to reduce health risks and promote overall wellness among employee groups and individuals across the northeastern Wyoming region. To learn more about Wellness, please visit or call 307-688-8051.

This blog was written by Troy Stevens, CCH Wellness Specialist.

  • Category: Wellness