Making a resolution certainly feels a lot easier than sticking with one. There’s an automatic reward, an inertia, when we decide to make a change for the better. In those initial days and weeks the energy is palpable and the desired goal feels achievable, maybe even easy. This is the year we’re going to lose that weight or get organized, but then something happens. We decide the gym can wait until tomorrow or that the schedule can be put off. Our old habits creep back in and we eventually succumb to our well-known routines.
If so, the first thing you should understand is that impatience will get you nowhere. Remember, these are deeply rooted habits developed over a period of years and they’re not going to change in an instant. Negative self-talk only reinforces the existing neurocircuitry in your brain; that one that says this is who you are and who you will always be.
Setbacks will happen, but keep in mind you’re creating an entirely new set of skills. Very few of us could hop on a bike and ride it successfully the first time. We had to fall a few times before we mastered the complex interplay of balance and motion. Your New Year’s resolution isn’t much different.
What should you do if your goal is to lose weight and you end up eating a big piece of chocolate cake? The easy answer is to simply shrug it off, but in order to do so; you’ll need to have a plan in place. A good plan starts with clear intention.
Ask yourself why? Why do you want to lose weight or why do you want to get organized? The answer should be clear and specific. Create a mental picture of what you want to achieve and how you plan to achieve it. If you’re a messy person, start by picturing what organization looks like to you. Perhaps it’s a clean desk with papers stacked and placed in the correct cubby on your desk. The pens are put away, and on the wall is a calendar with the dates and times of important meetings written in thick black ink.
You’ve created a future reality – but according to the quantum model of reality – that one already exists. In fact, if you are truly focused and review your vision enough times, your brain will not know the difference between something that has or hasn’t happened. Your intention was clear enough that you began the process of rewiring your brain and installing the neurological hardware to look like the event has already occurred – just by thought alone.
An important step in creating this new reality is mental rehearsal. If you want to become more organized it helps to imagine yourself being successful. During the rehearsal, picture yourself going to the store to buy supplies then putting them on your desk. Anticipate problems that might arise and mentally see yourself solving them.
The experiences that you want to embrace should begin the process of changing or priming the brain and body into the future. By the same means, we have to review the choices, behaviors, actions, and experiences that we don’t want to have as well. This is the process of unlearning and relearning. For example, the more we remind ourselves that we are not going to eat dessert or we are not going to throw our papers on our desk, the better the likelihood that we will not succumb to old ways again. And therefore, nerve cells that no longer fire together, no longer wire together and vice versa.
Besides clear intention you’ll also need emotional investment. Chances are you have very personal reasons for wanting to slim down. Some people want to fit into that wedding dress while others are looking to get in shape so they can feel better and hopefully live longer. The feelings behind these intentions are powerful and when properly focused can help spur lasting change by creating an elevated energy that will pull you out of your resting state. By creating an elevated emotional state, you are giving your body a sampling of the future and thus, it begins to change in preparation of the new experience.
Once you’ve got the ball rolling it’s important to monitor your progress. It’s helpful to create a chart to track your daily achievements and remind yourself of your goals. This will be helpful during those moments of self-doubt! While you’re at it, why not shape your environment to produce the outcome you’re expecting. Quotes, pictures and music are great motivators and serve as a reminder of the work you’re doing and what success looks like to you.
An important thing to remember is that change can happen at any time. You don’t need to wait a full calendar year before beginning the process of transformation. The potential is always there, you just have to decide when you’re ready. The process may be slow in the beginning but if you stick with it and utilize some of the steps I’ve outlined then there’s no reason why you can’t be successful.