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Why we fail at our NY resolutions

January 3, 2019

Here we go then, it’s that time of year, new year = new me. It’s a natural period for lots of us to launch the good intentions we’ve previously been putting off, but research suggests 80% of our New Year’s resolutions are already abandoned by February. So what is it that stops us from behaving in line with what we say we actually want?

As I regularly discuss, our mind’s primary focus is to keep us safe, it does so by trying to steer us away from perceived threats & dangers by planting negative thoughts in our head (for more info read about the negative bias). Our mind recognises past behaviour as a safer option than the unknown, because we have done it & survived. On that basis change is never the easy option & will feel uncomfortable in some way when we do something outside of the norm. As a result, however good our intentions are, if we succumb to our mind’s quest to keep us in our comfort zone, we won’t ever make changes.

So what can we do to help us change & carry out the behaviour we know we want? Well, as someone who has gone through considerable change both physically & mentally, my most effective technique has been to use visualisation and regular reminders to basically brainwash my mind! Because our mind doesn’t know the difference between an imagined event & event that actually happened, it reacts to the information it receives, real or imagined. With this in mind each year I write out a list of 1) my goals for the year (eg – I will…), 2) daily habits that I want to make sure I do (eg I meditate for 20 mins every morning) & 3) short mantras stating who I want to be & how I want to live (eg – I am…). I then record myself speaking this (with accompanying background music) & play it on repeat at the start of the day & at other times when I feel disconnected or most in need.

Now I remember when the concept of talking to myself was first introduced to me by a coach & my reply was to say “isn’t speaking to yourself a sign of madness?”. I soon learned that actually, there is great power in visualisation & in our mind hearing statements from our own voice. By listening to my recording almost every day over the last few years, there is no doubt I have become far more connected to who I want to be & I have largely achieved the goals & habits I set myself. Having a relationship whereby my behaviour matches what I actually want is hugely powerful & is a big part in me becoming more proud of the person I am & improving my inner self confidence.

You may be familiar with the phrase, mind over matter, the way I see it, is if we want to make changes & grow as a person it usually stems from matter over mind. In other words your mind will steer you away from change, so first you have to not listen to the voice of safety & change your behaviour anyway, once you’ve done that, your mind will naturally begin to alter it’s perception.

Good luck to you all with any resolutions or new behavioural changes / habits you are looking to introduce this year. My promise to you is that when you start living true to your word (what you truly want), rather than succumbing to what feels normal & safe, then your life will start to change in remarkably positive ways.

I will leave you with one final short passage from Greg Crippen who said “You are being presented with a choice: evolve or remain. If you choose to remain unchanged, you will be presented with the same challenges, the same routine, the same storms, the same situations, until you learn from them, until you love yourself enough to say “no more”, until you choose change. If you choose to evolve, you will connect with the strength within you, you will explore what lies outside of the comfort zone, you will awaken to love, you will become, you will be. You have everything you need. Choose to evolve. Choose love.”

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