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New year, new you? 2 psychological tactics to ensure lasting change.

A couple of weeks ago we welcomed our daughter, Claudia Grace into the world. I now understand why they call babies a ‘bundle of joy’ because thats exactly what she is!

Before giving birth I was quite nervous, as so many women had told me about their birth experiences and most of them didn’t sound too pleasant to put it mildly! But I was determined to have a ‘natural’ birth, which meant no interventions unless absolutely necessary and no pain relief.

I’m sharing this with you because I realised something over the course of the labour, which indeed became increasingly painful (!), because there is a lesson here that I think is very helpful, especially at this time of year.

Long prior to going into labour I had decided that an epidural was not an option. I wanted to experience the joy of childbirth and let nature do it’s thing. I’ll be honest with you, I HATE needles so the thought of an epidural put me right off and that was incentive enough to brave what came my way!

The point though, is that I had decided with conviction long before the main event, that this was my plan. So once the pain arrived (and yes it’s very intense) the option to take pain relief, although there, just wasn’t an option. I was completely committed to my plan and so couldn’t deviate from it. 

Two thought processes were at play here:

1. I associated more ‘pain’ with having a needle stuck in my back than going through labour naturally.

2. My decision that a natural birth was best was so strong that it was an unbreakable conviction. 

These are the two vital conditions required to create lasting change.

In the ward afterwards I met two lovely new moms who  came in with the idea that they would like to try and give birth naturally, but if it became too much they’d take the epidural. And guess what? They both ended up taking it, which is perfect, but my point here is that once they knew they had a choice they took it!

As I write this, its New Years Eve and we are on the threshold of a New Year. This is a truly wonderful time, where anything is possible.

I’d like you to reflect on the year that’s passed, and to look ahead to the one to come.

What would you like to change?

Maybe many things come to your mind, and maybe only one. But if your relationship with food and your body is up there (and if you’re reading this I suspect it is!) then now is the absolute right time to make that change.

So there are two wonderfully simple yet essential coordinates to finally making that change a reality:

1. I want you to associate so much ‘pain’ with not changing NOW.

By doing this, you are working with your brains hard wiring. We constantly and consistently seek out pleasure and avoid pain. So the reason you have struggled to commit to achieving your ideal size in the past is because you associate more pain with losing weight and denying yourself the things you love than you do pleasure with the long term gain of enjoying body confidence.

Start by making a list of all the reasons you want to change your relationship with food and your body. Take your time, write them out, every single one. Maybe make a spider diagram and write every single wonderful benefit down. This should be easy.

Remember you have only one life and you are living it NOW.

So you should be enjoying food and your body, not spending so much time and energy hating yourself, feeling guilty and frustrated.

Focus on the pleasure of attaining your goal and then read this list every day. Feel the good feelings and visualise yourself at your ideal size, loving your body, feeling confident and enjoying life and food.

2. Next you need to make this decision to change an unbreakable conviction.

Listen to this Cognitive Hypnosis Motivation Audio daily as it will help you reprogram your mind to shift your belief to a conviction. Secondly, I want you to think about the year to come and how it will feel if you don’t change NOW. How will it feel if a year from now you are still in the same place mentally about your body? How will it feel to go on another diet and fail, to feel unhappy getting dressed every morning, to experience health problems because of your size? Again write it all down and really face the reality that not changing now will bring.

We are very good at putting off till tomorrow what should be done today.

NOW is the time for change. 

I believe in you and I know that you can have a happy healthy relationship with food and your body WITHOUT DIETING!

Do these two effective steps. Work with your mind, as opposed to against it.

Achieving your dream body is not about depravation, it’s about pleasure and enjoyment!

New year, new you? 2 psychological tactics to ensure lasting change.

Karina Melvin, MSc, MA

Karina Melvin provides online psychoanalysis and counselling services from her South Dublin office with her team of high-level psychoanalysts. You can learn more about online counselling, psychoanalysis by clicking the link below.

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APA Reference
Melvin, K. (2017). New year, new you? 2 psychological tactics to ensure lasting change.. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 3, 2020, from


Last updated: 15 Jan 2017
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