Monday, January 11, 2010

How to Make Your New Year’s Resolution Stick!

Imagine … its late January and you’re trying to lose weight. You’re sick of eating salad in sub-zero conditions, you’re dying for a cigarette and you’re still thinking about starting that new business.

You think to hell with it! You eat some chocolate, have a few glasses of wine and a cigarette, because it goes with the wine, and try to convince yourself that your job is not so bad … what’s happening? Nothing—and that’s the problem, you are going back to your old patterns of behaviour again.

But it’s not your fault, because you are almost hardwired to keep on doing what you have been doing—that’s the way our brain works. It’s not easy trying to change old habits and behaviours and when your conscious mind is in conflict with your unconscious mind your unconscious usually wins.

The biggest mistake most people make when trying to make New Year’s Resolutions is trying to do too much at once. They want to stop smoking, lose weight, change their career and stop biting their nails all at the same time! Impossible … it’s not going to happen.

The trick is to focus on one thing at a time—and is the magic word. Think of it like this: over the years you have programmed your mind to do what you currently do, whether it’s smoking, eating too much (or whatever). You made a great job of making it stick and now it’s your job to de-programme, or de-hypnotise, yourself. You have to work on changing your beliefs about what it is you do that you don’t like.

Easy really … well not easy, but certainly do-able. It all depends on how much you want to make those changes.

The first thing you need to do is plan what you want to achieve. Think about what you need to do in order to achieve your goal—notice I said goal and not goals. Remember, you want to focus on just one thing at a time. If you want to lose 20 pounds of fat you may need to think about planning your eating schedule and how much time you are going to commit to exercise.

You also need to start visualising your actions—imagine going through all the necessary steps you need to take in order to achieve your goal. Start to believe you can do it. How? The most powerful tool you have is to act against your existing belief (the one you hold now), in other words act as if you can. You need to convince yourself that you do believe that you can do it, and you do this by self-affirmation. You might have to do this 40 or even 50 times each day.

Sound like a lot of work? Well, people who succeed at making changes do just this, even if they are not consciously aware of it. So, decide what you want to achieve, plan it, get into the habit of acting against your old belief, and affirm to yourself that you can do it.

Think back to a time when you achieved something that was important to you, something you are proud of—this will help you. Remember these points…

1. Act against your current beliefs about what it is you want to change…

2. Affirm to yourself that you can do it…

3. Imagine a past challenge that you overcame. One that you are proud of…

Now commit to your chosen goal, and MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Happy New Year!