How many New Year’s resolutions have you made in your life?

And how many have you really stuck with? The estimate is that less than 10% are actually achieved. WHY? No commitment. Unless the resolution has a strong foundation and a personal meaning or relevance, they will run out of steam. When we make a resolution that is important

to us, comes from the inside of us deep down, then and only then will we have the confidence and motivation to follow it through.

There are two main scientific areas that influence these resolutions:

The 1st one has to do with making new habits or changing existing ones. To change a habit, we have to essentially create a new one. You must pick a small goal to achieve first. So for instance – Get more exercise is too big and too broad, we must break it down into specifics “I will walk 5km 3 times per week” is a smaller goal and much easier for our brain and body to cope with, and build the bigger goal from there. You must attach the new action to a previous habit. Figure out a habit you already have that is well established and replace it with the new one you want to achieve. You must make the new action EASY to do for at least the first week. Because you are trying to establish a conditioned response, you need to practice the new habit from the existing stimulus from 3 to 7 times before it will “stick” on its own.

The 2nd brain behaviour has to do with self-stories. If you want to change your behaviour and make the change stick, then you need to first change the underlying self-talk going on. Everyone has stories about themselves that drive their behaviour. You have an idea of who you are and what’s important to you. Essentially you have a “story” operating about yourself at all times. These self-stories have a powerful influence on decisions and actions. So, change your dialogue from negative to positive, pessimist to optimist and I CAN’T to I CAN and see your changes develop slowly over time, not expect them in the first week of January.

On New Years eve, I spent the night at home planning for 2019. I set out to make a 90 day planner with 3 specific goals to reach by 31st March. I have them up in my office on my pinboard so I can see them everyday. They are right in front of me and have all the attributes of the above system.

If you would like a copy of the simple 90 Day planner that I used, you can download it here.

Why New Years Resolutions Don’t Work!

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