Women, life, happiness
  • “Why do I have such a hard time keeping my New Year’s resolutions?”

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    January 7th, 2011Keryl PesceHealthy Living, Life in general

    "It's the same thing for me every year. I make up my mind in December about changes I want to make in the upcoming year (usually involving getting in shape) but a few months into the year (or sooner), I'm right back into my old habits. I really want to be successful this year. Why can't I ever seem to make my resolutions last?"

    Why? Because that's your story and you're sticking to it.

    Look at what you wrote to me. The answer is right there. It's all good though, because fixing it is easy. I'll explain in a minute.

    A little background first.

    We all carry with us our own set of beliefs. They are formed from a number of sources, including things those who influence us say to us, repetition of the messages and, often having the most impact, our own past experiences.

    All this data gets stored in our memory mainframe, also known as our subconscious. Over time, the more times we have the same experience and the more times our internal dialog and conversations we have with others gets repeated, it reinforces the idea. So much so that we form our own personal reality. Which for you (and a boat load of other people) is "I never keep my resolutions."

    What happens then is we act upon this information as if it is a truth, when in fact, it is nothing more than a story (or stories) we tell ourselves.

    Every time you think or say that you don't keep your resolutions, you continue to program yourself to act on that thought. That's what I meant when I said "That's your story and you're sticking to it."

    I'm not picking on you. In fact, we all do it. We want to change our behavior. We set out with the best of intentions to do something different. The problem is, the new behavior is in conflict with the "reality" we have created for ourselves. So what happens? It doesn't last. 

    You say "I'm going to work out five days a week and cut out carbs."

    Your subconscious says "Yeah, right. We've been through this before. I don't believe you." And another year goes by and your resolution is history before March kisses February's ass.

    Now, not to worry. This is actually really good news. How so? All you need to do to become a person who keeps her resolutions, is . . . drum roll please .  . . change your story. Voila!

    I know what you're thinking now. "How do I do that? How do I change my story?" In two easy steps.

    1 – Pay attention to your dialog – both the conversations you have with yourself and those around you. When you catch yourself reinforcing the behavior you want to avoid, stop. Change the conversation to the behavior you want to have.

    This goes back to stuff I've talked about before. Focus your thoughts and conversations on what you want, not what you don't want. I can't stress how important that is.

    OK, so it's simply raising your awareness and talking to yourself and others in positive terms. It may feel a little uncomfortable at first, but very soon, guess what? That then becomes your new reality, which is precisely what you want.

    2 – Give yourself new evidence and experiences to draw upon. As I mentioned, a big part of your programming is memory of past experiences. So just create new memories. I'm not talking about being a gym nut for the next month, working out every day and making perfect food choices every day. It is rare for someone to make a drastic change like that and stick with it. It happens, but it is rare – usually following some incident that has a deep emotional impression on us. Anyway, here' s what you do.

    Whatever your resolutions are this year (I'll use losing weight and getting in shape as an example, because that's what most sets of eyelashes fluttering over this want.), choose one small behavior that you know without question you can do that is consistent with the sort of behavior you want to have.

    For example, if you want to exercise five days a week, don't start out by committing to going to the gym for an hour every day. Pick something super easy like doing  ten sit-ups a day or going for a five-minute brisk walk every day. Make it so easy, it's impossible not to do it.

    Then do that one thing for 21 days in a row. Here's the key. Don't let yourself do more than that during that time!

    By the end of three weeks, you will have re-programmed your memory banks to be a person who works out regularly. Plus, what will happen is when you force yourself to do less, you will naturally want to do more. That's the exact propulsion system you want going on inside you. Not the desire to do less, the desire to do more. Imagine that being your driving force. That's hot stuff!

    Enjoy and have fun building your new reality!

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