Why We Suck at New Years Resolutions
Every year on December 31 we make a promise to ourselves to change. A New Years Resolution that we will commit to whole-heartedly…. Or at least until our old habits get the better of us. But why cant we create these lasting changes that we want?
To understand why our commitment to change is so hard we first need to understand that while the idea of “change” is a desirable one, there is nothing for frightening to the subconscious mind. Your subconscious HATES CHANGE! While change can be dictated with willpower alone, it’s like pulling on a rubber band. We can do it for so long until our subconscious fights back and says ‘NO! This is not how we have done it every other day before! This is uncomfortable.’ This is when the rubber band snaps and you resort back to old patterns of behavior. While change sounds great, many times the subconscious mind feels like it’s driving in the dark to reach the change. It has no roadmap for success. What will change be like and feel like? When the answer is ‘I don’t know’ it sets the subconscious mind up for failure.
By understanding the subconscious mind we can begin to tailor your approach for having a successful resolution.
In order to understand our resistance to change, let’s begin with breaking apart the two different areas of the mind that are fighting with each other.
1) The conscious mind:
This portion accounts for approximately 10% and is where the logic, reason, willpower, and deductive reasoning are housed.
The part that wants to change!
2) The subconscious mind
This portion of the mind accounts for the remaining nearly 90% and is where our primitive and innate abilities are housed, as well as, all stored associations which dictate our behaviors. This part of the mind is purely reactive and has no logic, reason, willpower, or deductive reasoning.
The part that wants to stay the same- in the comfort zone.
Now that we understand these parts of the mind lets begin to break apart how to achieve lasting change. While change doesn’t always have to be perfectly define, its important to give some definition to what it will be like, look like, and feel like. Start by sitting back and answering these questions:
1. State your goal
2. Based on your above goal (where you would like to be), describe in as many words how you feel about where you are now. Try to come up with a list of at least 10 words through free association. Don’t worry if the words that come up make sense or not, just go with it and write them down.
3. How would you like to feel based on your current situation with the presenting new years resolution.
4. What will it be like when you reach your goal?
Many times our behaviors, despite being less than favorable, have a benefit to them. For example, no child wants to pee the bed, but there is a secondary gain from doing it- they get to sleep in their parents’ bed or get attention from their parents. Begin to think about what the benefit of your resistance to change is. Why does it benefit you to stay the same? When you can begin to pull apart the knot from a different perspective you can begin to understand the subconscious motivation on a different level.
Once you have taken the time to outline the above questions. Take a moment to sit or lay comfortably with your eyes closed and focus on your breathing. Feel the inhale and the exhale moving in and out in your body. Try to feel the rhythm of the breath as it moves your chest up and down like waves. Allow all thoughts to come in and be acknowledged. As your inhale say or think the word calm, and as you exhale say or think the word relax. Count each breath from 10 down to one as you do this. You will begin to feel the body start to feel heavy. Begin to imagine how heavy you can make the body feel. The heavier your body feels with relaxation, the more you can open up the door to your subconscious mind to begin to visualize, sense, and feel the changes that you want.
Once in the deeply relaxed state, start to imagine, visualize, sense, or feel what it will be like to have the changes you want. Focus on your hands (which represent achieving goals) and allow them to feel heavy like you are grabbing onto your goal- its within your reach!
Note: The difference between imagining and visualizing is that visualizing will allow you to produce in the mind a perfect picture, while imagining might be more like relative pictures or flashes, but not crystal clear pictures. Sensing and feeling produces a feeling in the body. We each have different modalities of learning to relax, find the one that is right for you.
Walk yourself through the mantra of I can do this. I have control of the things that I want and the things I don’t want.
Allow yourself to rest with these images, visualizations or sensations until you feel relaxed and ready to bring yourself to a sitting position. Take a deep breathe and stand up and feel how tall you can make your body.
Life is about creating a commitment to yourself not to always be perfect, but to always keep moving forward! Keep trying. Keeping accepting you will make slips. Compromise. Life is a transformation that goes day by day, step by step, and year by year. Never give up on yourself. I promise you its worth it!
If you would like to sign a subconscious commitment, you can download this recording that will walk you through a series of relaxation and hypnotherapy techniques to create a pact between your conscious and subconscious mind. Download it here