I always feel emotional at the end of December, looking back on the past year and forward to the next. It took me a long time to realize that magical things wouldn’t happen just because a new year was beginning. I went through that cycle of hope and disappointment for many years. How about you?

According to an article in Psychology Today I ran across recently, we make resolutions as a way of motivating ourselves when we’re actually not ready to change our habits. Resolutions are often wildly unrealistic or out of alignment with our self-image—a situation referred to as “false hope syndrome” in the article.

middle age woman lifting weightAnother aspect of failed resolutions is mistaken cause and effect: We might believe that if we lose weight, reduce our debts, or exercise more, our entire lives will magically change. So even if we meet these challenges, we’re likely to revert to our bad habits when we see that our old lives are pretty much intact except for this one improvement.

Keeping resolutions is about changing behaviors, the article goes on to say. This means changing our thinking and rewiring our brains: “Habitual behavior is created by thinking patterns that create neural pathways and memories, which become the default basis for your behavior.”

I always think about how I quit smoking when I think about successfully changed behavior. Dr. Joe Dispenza taught me that I had to change the way I thought about smoking if I wanted to quit. I had to create new neural pathways by creating new thoughts. Then I had to reinforce those thoughts every single day until they became so ingrained that they replaced my old thoughts.

breaking cigaretteI saw myself as a nonsmoker instead of the person standing furtively by the smelly ashtray outside the restaurant. I saw myself no longer asking whether I could smoke in a nonsmoking area. I saw myself as someone who wasn’t hiding this bad habit from her family. Over time I unlearned the hardwired smoker’s thoughts and replaced them with a nonsmoker’s thoughts. I stopped smoking and never went back.

My wish for you this New Year’s is that you also succeed in rewiring your thoughts in the direction you’d like them to go. Do it the way I did:

  • First, become consciously aware of the change you want to make.
  • Second, see your life in a new way.
  • Third, practice that changed way of thinking every day until it becomes second nature.

I no longer see New Year’s resolutions as a magic wand that will fix everything in my life. I see them as a realistic opportunity to let go of what’s not working and open the door to a new possibility. I hope you can do the same.

Rose-signature-150
Rose Caiola
Inspired. Rewired.

Click here to get inspired by Rose’s easy steps to positively change your mind 

6 Comments

  • Jose
    Posted December 31, 2013 8:39 am 0Likes

    Hi everyone, I’m looking forward learning from this Site

  • Tara Green
    Posted December 31, 2013 8:46 am 0Likes

    Thanks, Rose! I’m inspired. Now time to get rewired…

  • Rashelle
    Posted March 8, 2014 2:37 pm 0Likes

    “Habitual behavior is created by thinking patterns that create neural pathways and memories, which become the default basis for your behavior.”

    What scientific research backs this statement up?

    • Rose Caiola Musacchia
      Posted March 9, 2014 1:19 pm 0Likes

      Hi Rashelle,

      For my posts, I provide information at a level that I feel will be readily accessible to a wide range of readers. But I’m always glad to help our readers dig deeper.

      A recent article in “Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience” written by researchers from Dartmouth College and MIT discusses some interesting research on the topic you cited in your comment. Here is a link to that article: http://bit.ly/1fhLlV2

      Thanks for visiting Rewire Me!

      Rose

  • Viola
    Posted January 5, 2016 3:14 pm 0Likes

    I stopped putting myself under pressure with New Years resolutions a few years ago but after reading this I might give them another try – I feel very motivated now!

  • Maria Cacace
    Posted January 7, 2016 12:43 pm 0Likes

    I really needed this to keep up with my resolutions this year! Thank you 🙂

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