So here we are just a few days after Christmas and New Year and the inevitable New Years Resolutions are only a few days away; or should that be daze away? I say this because so many of us do seem to go through this week or so of festivities going from one social event to another, eating and drinking things in amounts we wouldn’t normally dream of. We “justify” this behaviour because it’s Christmas. The twelve days of Christmas seem to have turned into twelve daze of over consumption. Religious or not – I am pretty sure that’s not the true meaning of Christmas! So many times I hear people say “go on have it – it’s Christmas! as if there is some amnesty on calories. I watch people who started out the evening with good intentions, abandon their intended choices to imitate other people’s behaviour. In psychological circles and the study of human behaviour, this is called a “Herd Mentality”. It explains why so means people are influenced by their peers to adopt behaviours, follow trends/fashion etc. and can relate to anything from superstitious behaviours to home décor, to of course – food choice. The Herd Mentality explains how and why tribes are formed and as a result why traditionally people tend to migrate in groups displaying common behaviours. That’s all very well as long as the leader of the tribe is making “good” choices. So if you find yourself in this situation, take a good look at who is leading the pack. It is unlikely they will be doing something for the first time. If someone is encouraging you to eat more than you want, or eat something you don’t want, and you want to lose weight, have a good look at what making those choices has done for them. If you do what they do – you will get what they have got. Is that what you want? I have never seen a healthy person go around the room systematically trying to get people to eat more trifle, but I have noticed they are usually the first up on the dance floor and the last off! and hey, even slim people eat chocolate sometimes! It is not a “holier than thou” existence, it’s about knowing your own limits and what you truly want.

The Herd Instinct may have served us well when we were hunter gatherers; the Alpha Male traditionally earned his place by being the strongest/fittest/smartest and as a result could be trusted to make good decisions as to where to camp, what to eat etc. but when you are tempted to follow a herd, make sure you know exactly where that herd is going, and that it is a destination you want to arrive at.

Learning to take control of your own mind and be resistant to things like the herd mentality, to maintain your own level of control and choice, is hugely empowering. The first and most important step in this process is to notice there is a herd, before you get caught up in it. Then take a moment to consider the effects of your choices before you make them, rather than wait and suffer the consequences afterwards.

In Life Coaching there is a saying which says “Awareness is Curative” which means once your unconscious mind is truly aware that what you are doing is harmful to you in some way (physically or emotionally) then it will naturally cease the behaviour. So my first tip for the next few daze, is to wake up, and notice how many herd like situations you find yourself in. Look back over the last week or so of festivities and social or family gatherings and ask yourself how many of the decisions you made were truly your own, and how much was influenced by the herd. It is entirely possible to re-train your brain to think and react differently, and this can be done in just a few weeks. Not bad when you think of how many years you have been following the herd!

If you would like to learn more about how to change the way you think and feel about your health, and how to make choices that will enhance natural change (without the need for willpower!) then come along to CHAMPNEYS where I am starting my brand new 2 night and 4 night Mind Body Weight Loss retreats, and I will personally guide you through the process of using your mind to change your body. Alternatively you can read Think More Eat Less and follow the process using the techniques in the book and the audio hypnotic downloads.