New Year Resolutions and why they fail
It all starts with a thought. That is the only way it can start. All creation and change in human beings starts with a simple thought. The thought changes our vibration. If we believe in the law of attraction, the thought itself will bring us anything we want. But for those who don’t believe in the law of attraction, you must know that the thought has another purpose: to fill us with hope and motivate us to create a better life for ourselves.
Most of us are able to take the first step. Entering the New Year, we are filled with the hope of a healthier and more prosperous life, and greater achievements. As we start exercising every day, eating tons of greens and vegetables, we feel great about our new start.
Somewhere along the way, it becomes too difficult to maintain. That is where it all goes wrong. Something unexpected happens, like marital or career problems, and all the effort goes down the drain. We convince ourselves that veering off the new path we’ve taken is only temporary. We will soon be on track again. Most of the year goes by before we realize that we never got back on track. But again, another new year is on the horizon, so we can try again. New resolutions are made, only to be forgotten again, and the cycle keeps repeating itself seemingly forever.
Interestingly, the time on the right track gets shorter and shorter every year, until the time is almost unnoticeable. So here we are again, in early 2010, facing a new year thinking that this time everything will be different. But to be realistic, what is the difference between now and last year? Do you have more knowledge, motivation, time? Have you hired a trainer, nutritionist, or life coach? Have you made sure that this time you will not only take the first step, but continue, until you reach your goal? Have you formulated a bulletproof plan that will not fail?
In reality, most of us don’t have a plan. We just assume that by thinking about it, it will all happen without any noticeable effort on our part. Even though we know our thoughts are powerful, it is not always enough. Thinking about our goal is one thing, and it is in fact the first step to creation as mentioned earlier, but our actions need to follow. As our thoughts shifts away from our desired goals to the stress we are experiencing, lack of time, or the temporary gratification we think we are missing (often in the form of different unhealthy foods), our experiences become exactly that, and we can no longer achieve the life we dream of with all its good fortune and prosperity.
So how do we achieve a long lasting change? How do we in fact achieve any goals?
Thinking about your goal is a good start, but not enough. The thought has to be specific and detailed, and then action must follow that is achievable. And even though you might not know every single step to your goal, you must know how to get started. Some of our goals may seem too big to achieve. Maybe you want to lose fifty, sixty, or seventy kilos and you just don’t see that as a possible target. By starting with one kilo, and then two, and so forth, you are focusing on what is possible. That keeps you on the right track. It is only overwhelming when we focus on the whole fifty kilos that we want lose, instead of breaking it down into accomplishable smaller steps that added together equal fifty kilos.
By using CANEI (constant and never ending improvement) every day, you will eventually achieve your goal. If you ask yourself daily, “What can I do to improve my lifestyle just a little bit?,” you will slowly reach your goal.
HOW TO CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE
Identify what you want
Ask yourself: “What do I really want?”, “What do I want to change in my life?” Be specific. Do you want to lose weight, become more energized, healthier, reduce your stress level, become happier……?
Find a strong reason
Find a strong reason to achieve your goal/goals and you will find a way. Everybody has a list of what they should do. The problem with saying to yourself that you “should” do something you hardly ever follow through. You need to find a reason that is strong enough to create a feeling that you “must” achieve your goal. “I must do something” creates a feeling of certainty. Ask yourself how important it is for you to achieve this goal or these goals. Is that reason strong enough? Remember that the reason/ reasons you choose should be strong enough to overshadow any pain you associate with changing or taking action towards your goal. If the reason isn’t strong enough, think again.
Identify what is preventing you from achieving your goal or goals
Think about what is stopping you from achieving your goals. It’s also important that you really think about the future consequences of your bad habits. These may not show up tomorrow, the next day, or next year. The real impact could be years away. For example: if you have bad eating habits, you are not only risking obesity but also increasing the risk serious illness later on. So when you examine your own bad habits, consider the long term implications. Give yourself time to reflect. Reflective thinking allows you to pause so you can consider all of your options. Why do you want to change your habits? What benefit will you gain from taking this course of action? What is the downside if it doesn’t work? How much time will it take? Be totally honest. Your life and your health could be at stake.
When you think you don’t have time
When you think you don’t have time, it means that you are not prioritizing that particular project. In fact this is the only thing equal in humanity. No matter what race, colour or education we have, we all have the same amount of time. How you choose to spend the 1440 minutes a day, 168 hours a week and 365 days of the year has everything to do with prioritization. If you were going to get million dollars for the successful achievement, what would you do differently to go about getting it? Or If today was your last chance to achieve a particular goal or if this course was your last chance to change your lifestyle. How would that change the effort you put into it?
Use visualization in a deeply relaxed state. When you fully relax you are better equipped to enter and change the old distorted values and beliefs you keep in your subconscious mind. Repetition is the key: visualizing yourself achieving desirable results over and over again will dramatically influence your behaviour over time. If you want to lose weight, visualize yourself in the shape you want to be, visualize it as if it has already happened, as if you have already achieved your goal. Another way to change your beliefs is by using incantations: repeating messages to yourself over and over again. By talking out loud to yourself with a tone of certainty, you create an emotion that empowers you and conditions you to believe in your success.
|Create an action plan
This is where the rubber meets the road. Make a plan of how you are going to change each single habit or how you plan to achieve your goals. If you are thinking of changing your eating habits you really need to think through how you are going to do it.
Whether people have been told they have a slow thyroid, a slow metabolism, or their body size is hereditary, these are all disguises for thinking fat thoughts. If you accept any of those conditions as applicable to you and you believe it, it must become your experience, and you will continue to be overweight.
Take action NOW. Do something today that will move you towards your
goals. NOW you are in the right state so doing something right now will
create a momentum for you that will keep you moving into the right direction towards your goals. Do something right now that commits you to follow through. For example if you want to change your eating habits, decide now to throw away all the junk food you keep in your cupboards or tell all your friends about your plan, throw away your big clothes etc. Do something outrageous that will push you to start on your plan right now.
Set up the game to win. Create a plan that you know you can follow through and that you can achieve. Set realistic goals. Create a plan that is enjoyable. Ask yourself now, while doing what I need to do to achieve my goal, what can I do to enjoy the process? The way to the goal is much more important than the goal itself. If you don’t enjoy the process you won’t enjoy the outcome either.
Change what you link pain and pleasure to.
Everything we do in our lives is driven by our fundamental need to avoid pain and our desire to gain pleasure. To get what you want in your life, you have to figure out what is stopping you. Whenever you procrastinate, it’s because you think that taking action will be more painful than doing nothing or not taking action. Conversely, sometimes if you procrastinate for too long, it can backfire on you. You must learn to control the motivating forces of pain and pleasure. For example, if you have been yo-yo dieting all your life, the reason is simple: when you start a diet, it is because at that moment you are fed up of being overweight and feel that you must do something to lose weight. You start your diet and after some time you stop. Why? Because staying on that diet becomes in your mind more painful than being overweight, so you stop. Your focus changes, from feeling pain because you are overweight, to feeling pain because you are dieting.
You must realize that at any moment in time, your reality is based on whatever you focus on. In other words, whatever you focus your attention on, is what is most real to you. Therefore, if you want to change your behaviour, you must focus your attention on:
In other words, focus your attention on all the pleasure of achieving your goal and all the pain associated with not achieving your goal.
If you are not following through, all you have to do is focus on “what’s the pain I’m going to have if I don’t do this?” Instead of focusing on the pain you might experience from taking the action. You also have to focus on what pleasure you will experience when you do follow through. You must change what you link pain and pleasure to in order to change your behaviour.
Moving away from pain and towards pleasure
Keep in mind moving away from and moving towards are both useful motivation strategies for you to get things done. However, if you are constantly moving away from pain and that is the ONLY way you motivate yourself, then you are likely to be suffering from an abundance of anxiety and stress. It is true that you might get things done but you will never really experience the pleasure that accompanies achieving your dreams.
If you want to lose weight, you can hang on the fridge a picture of yourself in your dream shape or find a magazine cut out a body you like and glue on top of it your face. Every time you are about to open the fridge you will notice the picture and it will motivate you to resist the temptations in front of you.
Every day ask yourself “What have I achieved today that is going to bring me closer to my goal?”
Reward yourself every week for achieved goals.
Celebrate with something other than food. Treat yourself to anything that will make you feel good about your progress.
Tell people about your goals.
Create an environment that will reinforce that you will follow through on your goals, somebody that will motivate you and not stand in your way. Who will you share your experience with? Sharing your goal with somebody will actually challenge you to follow through. Telling as many people as possible about your plan will actually put a pressure on you to follow through.
Remember that changing your lifestyle is all about creating new habits.
By systematically improving your habits, one at a time, you can dramatically improve your overall
| Helga Bergsteinsdottir, Founder of HM
Health and Wellness coach
Certified nutrition and fitness consultant
NLP master practitioner
Helga hails from Iceland and has over twenty years experience in fitness and health. She is the co founder of the successful weight loss programme “8 weeks to a new you” and she is also the founder of the New “Health Mind and Body” programme that promotes both Physical and mental Health through nutrition education, NLP/behavior modification and exercises. Prior to starting her own company, Helga worked for seven years at the GMC associated Clinics.
lifestyle. Develop the habit of changing your habits!