Increase your chances of success
At the start of each year, many of us reflect on what we want to change and what we can do to improve our lives. While I believe it’s important to be introspective, I think creating New Year’s resolutions often sets us up for failure and disappointment.
With resolutions, we come up with a goal: lose weight, quit smoking, drink less, make healthier relationship choices, whatever it may be. Then after a few weeks, we give up and feel even worse than when we started. It’s an unfortunate cycle that continues year after year.
Why resolutions don’t work
Resolutions are often wildly unrealistic or out of alignment with our self-image – a situation referred to as “false hope syndrome.”
Failed resolutions are often the result of mistaken cause and effect. We might believe that if we lose weight, reduce our debts, or exercise more, our entire lives will magically change. Even if we meet these challenges, we’re likely to revert to our bad habits. We see that our old lives remain pretty much intact, except for this one improvement.
Set an intention
Being specific about how you intend to act on a goal will help you achieve it. An intention is how you plan to approach a task or experience. This is always within your control, which means it offers more solid ground to build on. If you reframe your perspective and start to think in terms of setting an intention, you will increase your chances of success.
This requires rewiring your brain and changing your way of thinking. Due to the power of your subconscious mind, good and bad habits become ingrained through repeated actions and thoughts. To create change, you need to reroute the circuitry in your brain.
Breaking old patterns requires introducing new ideas, and then strengthening them over time. Through repetition, these new thoughts will eventually become ingrained in your mind.
Come up with a plan of action
Start by envisioning the person you want to become. Visualize where you want to be in the future. Think of three alternatives to every habit you want to change.
Choose a goal you’ve been wanting to pursue – for example, eating healthier. Approach your goal with an action-oriented plan that creates steps you can take to achieve it: “I intend to ____ by ____.” An example would be, “I intend to eat healthier by bringing my own lunch to work.”
In Resolutions That Stick: How 12 Habits Can Transform Your New Year, SJ Scott expands on the idea that focusing on smaller steps – instead of one giant end goal – is a major key to successful change. Most importantly, let the past go, and think in terms of being – not becoming. Stay focused and seek better, not best.
I wish you all the best in the new year, I’m wishing you to always stay present and that you find balance in 2018.