A defeatist approach to New Year’s Resolutions can reinforce the bad habits you want to change
Happy New Year to you all. I wish you all good for this year and beyond. I’ve now had a few conversations with family and friends about New Year’s resolutions. I have to say, there are more defeatist approaches to making personal changes than optimistic! Me included.
We struggle because we take the wrong approach
So although I struggle with New Year’s resolutions, I do know at least, where I am going wrong! I thought it would be useful to remind myself and share with you the secret ingredients which create successful change. Successful change and achievement of your New Year’s resolutions. If the following factors aren’t in place then it’s unlikely any change will stick.
You can make changes, but you need to give it attention, time and effort
The good news is, that change can happen, although it’s often not comfortable. Making changes will take your attention, time and effort. If you don’t feel able to devote the time and effort to make the change, then you need to forgive yourself. If you can’t make that commitment, you must realise the change isn’t as important to you as you think. So I hope the following steps help if not to create the change you need, at least to help you to realise that change is achievable if you do the right things.,
1. Set out a clear outcome of what you want to achieve
So vague statements like, I want to exercise more, or I want to lose weight will not be effective. What you are doing here, is creating a vision of how things will be when you get there. You then practice imagining what it will be like when you achieve your outcome. Examples of successful outcomes might be: ” I am a healthy size x”. “I am energised and feel healthy and happy every day”. “I am an accomplished piano player”. Affirming what you want to achieve in the present tense programmes your subconscious to help you, a little like setting your internal SAT NAV.
2. Get in touch with how it will feel when you achieve your outcome
This can be difficult and takes a bit of imagination, but you can use a little bit of the “what if” technique. So ask yourself, how would I feel if I achieved this outcome? When you are able to feel the good feelings the outcome would bring, you must practice getting into that feeling state every day. This can be achieved by pretending you’ve achieved it. There is an element here of the maxim, fake it until you make it.
3. Believe you can make the change
If you really don’t believe you can make the change, your belief will override any vision or commitment to make the change. This is where you need to examine your beliefs and change your mind about any belief which may be holding you back. For years I held a belief that being overweight was because of my genes, (most of my mothers family were overweight). For years my sisters used to tell me that we were an overweight family and were stuck with it. It took me years to actually wake up to that destructive, unconscious belief and change it. Since then, I’ve managed to lose considerable weight although the battle against this conditioning continues! It doesn’t always take years to change limiting beliefs, you just need to know you’ve hit one to unpick it.
4. Make a personal commitment
I once read a book which set out quite squarely there are two voices in your head. One which says “you can do it” and another which says “why bother?”. Ok so your conflicting voices may say different phrases, but usually, it amounts to the same thing. If we can accept there is a voice which tries to distract us from making the changes we need, then we can treat it like a well-meaning, but misinformed friend. There is no way listening to that voice is going to honour you or me. Its simply trying to keep us in our comfort zone. We need to ignore it and commit to the other positive healthy voice. Making a personal commitment to listen to the positive voice that supports your change is vital. Making a personal commitment to honour ourselves is vital.
5. Master small steps and let go of the outcome
Sometimes our goals and outcomes feel overwhelming and if we focus on these, it’s like looking at the top of Mount Everest and imagining we have to get to the top in one leap which is just not possible. So we need to understand we want the eventual outcome, but to get there we need to forget about getting to the top and concentrate and master the steps to take which will take us there. When I gave up smoking, I developed strategies or distractions which I used when the cravings got too much. I didn’t socialise for 6 weeks, because I knew if I had a few glasses of wine my resolve might go.
When setting up my business, I set up processes and systems which over time created the result I wanted. If you want to lose weight just concentrate on sticking to your day to day healthy eating habits and the outcome will come. You do need to take time to evaluate if your small steps are taking you in the right direction. Letting go of the outcome doesn’t mean giving up on what you want to achieve, it just allows you to focus on the actions which will get you there.
So there are the actions which can help you to successfully achieve the change you want to make, I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is doable. I know when I’m not making the changes I want, then I am omitting one of these steps. What about you, do you have methods to successfully achieve your New Year’s resolutions?