New Year’s Resolution – It’s all in your mind.
The new year is here and most of us have outlined their New Year’s resolution. Get to the gym more often, eat healthier, spend more time with family, get organized, spend less, work less; sound familiar?
Achieving these new goals for the long-term requires you to better understand your existing habits and routines that drive the behavior you wish to change. Really digging deep to understand your thinking and mindset is truly the key. Only then can you put a plan of action in place that leads to the long-term change you desire.
So how do you do this? Work backwards.
First, science tells us change is more likely to happen when it’s tied to a strong emotion. So imagine what your new life will look like once you make this change in your life. Then, add emotion. Say, “I will feel vibrant, happy, joyful, grateful, more energetic when I make this change.”
Second, don’t forget to address how to overcome the obstacles once they come; i.e., “I don’t want to get out of bed, I will go tomorrow, oh look, there’s McDonalds.”
The brain hates change and wants to stay comfortable so how do you overcome falling back into old habits?
Develop a plan for the positive and the negative aspects using mental contrasting, a visualization technique developed by Gabriele Oettingen. After you paint a picture of the positive outcome, now switch your frame to the negative challenges and obstacles you will face while striving toward your goal; then switch back again. Plan how you will respond more successfully to those difficult situations and write it down. For example, “When I don’t want to get out of bed I will do X.”
Once you have that nailed, then address the ‘why’ behind the change you desire. Is it simply because you want to “eat healthier?” That’s not deep enough. Look deeper. Do you want to eat healthier for medical reasons? Is it to live longer, feel better and thrive? Write down your “why” and reflect on it daily. If your purpose is deep enough, overcoming the obstacles becomes easier.
Last, Find an accountability partner. A spouse, friend, co-worker, coach, or mentor can walk beside you and provide support.
Remember, you CAN change and you CAN achieve your goals in 2018 and beyond. You have a choice, let your mind run the show or understand how the mind works and plan for success.