It’s January 2017 and time to think about what you want for the year ahead. What resolutions have you made? Maybe you want to lose weight, (a popular one), get fit, spend more time with family, change jobs, learn a new skill, or tick off the next big challenge on your bucket-list?
Most people start off with great enthusiasm. They hit the gym, buy the new diet book, register for the new class, but after a few weeks they run out of steam and fall back into old habits.
Why is this such a common experience? The dictionary definition of the word ‘resolution’ is to determine, to decide, to resolve. But what we call resolutions are often more like wishes. We want something, but we haven’t made a firm decision, thought it through, or made a detailed plan. We hope just wanting it will be enough, but it usually isn’t!
What we underestimate is that change takes effort because the brain views any kind of change as a potential threat. So it tries to protect us by favouring old habits and routines that are familiar.
To make a change means getting assertive with your old brain wiring. You need a clear vision to start with, a good plan and take action persistently, for new habits to become established. A study in the UK found it took 66 days to form a habit, not 21 as is commonly believed.
It’s helpful to put some time aside either with a friend or with your journal, and ask yourself some questions. Here are five tips to get you started…
- Take stock of your current life and give yourself credit: Start with questions like these. What is already going well? Where is your cup already full? What successes have you had in the past year? What are you grateful for? Where do you deserve credit?
- Ask what do you really want: What is important to you for the year ahead? What is missing? What is next? What would complete the picture? Writing down your thoughts is a powerful tool to create clarity, and it makes your goals more definite.
- Start making a plan: Once you know what you want, your next step is to create a roadmap to get you there. What steps do you need to take to guarantee you reach your goals? Baby steps are important and are like seeds. The seeds you plant today, grow into seedlings next week, that grow into young plants next month, that will produce the tree you want in a year, metaphorically speaking.
- Visualisation helps bring your vision into reality: Visualisation is an important technique to help change your brain’s hard wiring. It means imagining what you want as if you already have it, and dwelling on that picture regularly. According to the Law of Attraction, the more you can see and feel it with confidence, the quicker you will attract it, because your internal and external worlds are in alignment.
- Lastly make sure you have enough support. Most people underestimate how much support is needed to make changes. Having someone to talk to who understands what you are doing, who keeps you accountable and cheers you on when you feel discouraged, helps you stay on track. Whether it’s a friend, a group or a counsellor or coach, reaching out for help turns your resolutions into your reality.
If you would like to have a complimentary talk with Grace about changes you’d like to make in 2017, email her today to set up a free phone consultation to get started at email@example.com.