You must have had this question a million times, but I need to know how I can stick to my New Year’s resolution. Every year I make them, only to break them shortly after. This year I want it to be different, please help.
Dear Determined resolute,
Each New Year brings a promise of better opportunities, and we find ourselves inclined to make new resolutions to ‘fix’ whatever we did not the previous year. This year, I am would like to suggest that you ‘modify’ aspects you wish to change; rather than impose another resolution that you may not fulfil. This is because of two principles or ‘laws’: the first is whatever you resist persists, and the second to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction!
Whatever your goals are, your better option is to ‘communicate’ with your problems in attempt to understand why you have them, and then ‘coax’ them to leave, rather than order them. This way, the solution stems from within you and you would cooperate with yourself! Also, when we embark on a resolution with determination and vigour, other aspects of our personality, the one that does not want to give up the problem; will put out an equal force of resistance- this is known as the ‘pendulum effect’. However, when the process of change is a gradual one, the resistance would be less. Your goal might take longer to achieve but your path will be a smoother more harmonious one.
Self-dialogue is easier than you think. Just find a quiet moment, sit down and start writing, about 100 words, around the issue that you wish to change. The process of writing has to be ‘stream of consciousness’, without analysing what you are writing, and without stopping; just write, or type, what pops up in your mind when you think of that of issue. Two processes take place when you write, the first, you allow yourself to ‘bypass’ conscious thoughts or beliefs and analysis around the subject matter, and will tap directly into the deeper level engaging underlying beliefs and unlocking some answers. The other, just as when we look into a mirror to see how we have changed, when we write the brain ‘sees’ what’s on our mind. Effectively, we are acknowledging the issue we want to change, and also addressing it by writing about it; and this allowing our brain to come forward with answers or a plan to help us make that change.
Remember, you don’t have to wait for the New Year to make a fresh start. You can commit to life changes at any time. Be kind and loving to yourself – it responds to motivations and incentives better than it does to threatening deadlines.
Steps for success:
- Change the title! Call it a list of Life Improvements, because that is what you are trying to achieve.
- Be realistic: Choose only two or three goals to work on from your list you are more likely to succeed.
- Find your trigger: What motivates you? Set a reward for achieving that change.
- Reinforce: Your mind is very good at forgetting. Reinforcing your desire for change by sticking an enlarged photocopy of your list somewhere visible as a reminder.
- Be ‘hopefully devoted’: patterns that took many years to form are unlikely to change in few days or months. Commit to change on daily basis and reward yourself for achieving small victories along the way.
If you slip up do not fall prey to being a victim of failure. Rather realise that tomorrow is a new day with new opportunities for change. Running out of time, does not mean running out of life!
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