If you imagine change as a mandate coinciding with the start of the calendar year (look for the word ‘transformation’, and possibly a tantalising timeline such as 12 weeks), keep enjoying that d’affinois. As motivators, prescribed ideals do a lousy job. While they may seem like ‘towards’ goals – and you may feel like you really want them (don’t miss the feature on the genesis of self-talk) – they’re veiled bids to flee something unsatisfactory. As positive psychology expert Suzy Green’s column on stages of change suggests, in appraising and pursuing change, you need a good ‘why’ – and someone else’s idea of how you should be pales against intrinsic motivation or true desire. Sarah McMahon expands the idea in her column on body image – because weight loss is one of the most common cultural prescriptions issued this time of year.
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