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The key to lasting changes

Replace your goals with intentions to change ingrained behaviours and thought patterns

Notebook that says develop yourself to be the best you

We’ve all been there: You declare your resolutions for the year ahead and reinforce them with to-do lists, vision boards, and daily affirmations. You SWEAR that this will finally be your year.

But just like last year (and the one before that), life inevitably gets in the way. You get a little off track, then a lot off track, and your initial sense of motivation evaporates into thin air.

According to Forbes Magazine, “The statistics on how many people actually follow through and accomplish their New Year’s resolutions are rather grim. Studies have shown that less than 25% of people actually stay committed to their resolutions after just 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them.”

Why is it so hard to follow through with goals?

It’s actually quite simple, and it all has to do with your mindset. Before setting your intentions for the new year, it’s important to understand the four stages of awareness:

    1. Unconscious incompetence
      This is where most people start. It’s a total lack of awareness that problems exist or that changes need to be made.
    2. Conscious incompetence
      Once you have some information, you move here. At this point, you’re educated on your issues but lack the motivation to address them.
    3. Conscious competence
      At this stage, you’ve taken initiative to start making changes. You now have the tools and know-how (received in stage two) to overcome the barriers to your success, but it’s not yet habitual and can therefore be uncomfortable.
    4. Unconscious competence
      This is your sweet spot. “Automatic expertise” is another way to look at this stage, wherein the changes that were actively made in stage three become habitual; they’re so much a part of your routine at this point that you no longer have to think about them.

Be the change!

Want to make a lasting change but not sure how to get started?

Medcan’s health coaches are certified behaviour change experts who will equip you with personalized strategies to change ingrained behaviours and thought patterns – the key to lasting improvement. In addition to keeping you motivated, they can guide you toward your own solutions and hold you accountable for your actions.

Think of your journey through behaviour change as a ladder. The idea is that although they may seem like minuscule changes, each time you’re successful with one you build self-efficacy and confidence,” says Megan McAdam, Health Coach and Manger of Dedicated Care at Medcan. “You make a small change at each step and eventually you find yourself at the top of the ladder, having completed more then you ever thought possible.”

Here are McAdam’s top tips to make lasting changes in 2020:

Define what success means to you with an intention. So you want to lose 15 pounds. With weight loss, we’re often so focused on the numbers that we forget to see the bigger picture – our intentions – which might include achieving a healthier self-image or simply feeling stronger. Goals focus on short-term gain, while intentions focus on your desires at a deeper level to fuel your goals with self-love and opportunity instead of fear and restriction.

Knock down barriers. Try to figure out what your barriers are and how you can proactively overcome them to make positive changes. For example, if you want to cut out soda in the afternoons but continue bringing them to work, you’re not likely going to achieve the results you’d hoped for. Pack a bottle of Perrier instead and set a reminder in your calendar to take a moment to enjoy it!

Commit. Like most things in life, you’ll only get out of it what you put into it. The idea is to ensure that the changes you’re making are realistic so it’s easier to stay committed. There’s never going to be a good time to start making changes, but the more committed you are, the better the outcome will be.

Figure out what motivates you. Maybe you have a dream vacation booked next year, a school reunion, or you want to be able to keep up with your grandkids. Really think about what it is that motivates you before deciding what changes you want to make. The stronger the emotional connection, the greater motivation you’ll have and, in turn, the more successful you’ll be

Identify past barriers. Reflect on your health journey. Was there something you tried that didn’t work? Was it because of something that was out of your control, or perhaps it was just bad timing? Take stock of failed attempts and vow to avoid repeating the same behaviour as you move forward.

Acknowledge your wins. Think back to your successes over the course of your health journey. What’s worked well and why? Draw upon what you’re most proud of when making new changes, and remember: You’ve done it before, and you’ll do it again.


To learn more about Medcan’s Health Coaching program, get in touch at 416.623.1041 or





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