Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions
By Changing Your Habits
Written by Hena Husain
When you made your list of New Year’s resolutions, did you think about how you were going to keep them? We often make resolutions as an automatic reaction to the approaching new year: It’s December 27th! I really need to make some resolutions!
We’re now several weeks into the new year, and if you’ve already fallen short of keeping your well-intentioned resolutions, or you find yourself struggling to stay on track with achieving them, know that keeping your resolutions involves making important changes in your thinking and behavior.
How Strong Is Your Why?
When your reasons for keeping your resolutions are stronger than your reasons for staying where you are, you will have the motivation you need to change. Why did you make your particular New Year’s resolutions? Did you do so out of a sense of obligation to your spouse, employer, social group or other external creature? If the reasons that give rise to your resolutions aren’t personal, compelling and strong, you will lack the motivation necessary to change your behavior.
If, for example, one of your resolutions is to save $100 each month, you must have a very strong reason why you need to save that amount of money. If you’re welcoming a new baby this year, this reason is much stronger than simply wanting to have some extra spending cash on hand.
Make sure your WHY behind each of your resolutions is stronger than your reasons for staying where you are. Strong “whys” will propel you to keep your resolutions and overcome the doubts and distractions that you will inevitably encounter.
Where Change Begins
Resolutions are always about changing behavior. Thus, your resolutions should put you on a path toward creating change for yourself. What’s important to know is that any behavior change must occur on a subconscious level in order for that change to become permanent. What exactly does this mean?
Your conscious mind consists partly of thoughts that you can actually hear in your mind, such as, I’m going to cut out sweets and begin losing weight! These conscious thoughts are clear and recognizable but the conscious mind works on willpower only and it is only responsible for making 10% of our decisions daily. That is why you do things for a week or two and you go back to your old habits. On the other hand, the subconscious mind is responsible for making 90% of your decisions on a daily basis, and where all permanent changes take place. This is your auto pilot where you do things automatically without thinking. The subconscious needs to be in agreement with your conscious mind goals to achieve the results you want. Hypnosis is one of the tools that aligns your subconscious mind with your conscious mind goals. Over time, an idea you hold in your subconscious becomes your conscious thought, which results in you taking action – i.e., eliminating sweets!
Your subconscious mind is the fundamental place where real, lasting change begins. As you read on, you will see how keeping your New Year’s resolutions is connected to changes you make on a subconscious level.
Changing Habits in Your Subconscious Mind
To put it simply, keeping your resolutions requires changing your behavior, and your subconscious mind is where behavior change begins. So, commit yourself to the following important daily activities to change your subconscious mind so that you can develop new habits.
Hypnosis is one of the best tools to tap into your subconscious mind to create permanent changes:
o Quiet your mind. You can learn to do this by daily practicing being still and coming to a place where your mind is no longer attempting to process so much of what’s going on around you. Find a quiet place and be still for several minutes, inhaling and exhaling slowly. Do this at least once during the day (more often if possible). Learning to quiet your mind helps you to relax, which slowly opens your mind to forming new habits. If you don’t quiet your mind, you remain stressed and easily revert back to your old habits – i.e., you revert back to old ways of doing things because they are very familiar to your subconscious mind.
o Visualize your resolutions. Your subconscious mind sees in pictures, not words. So, create perfect mental pictures of what your resolutions look like, and every night before going to sleep, allow these pictures to fill your mind. Perhaps you see yourself speaking eloquently before a large audience, or weighing 10 pounds lighter living a happy, healthy lifestyle. Whatever images you visualize, your subconscious mind absorbs these images and “converts” them to conscious thought and action!
o Develop a daily activity. Habits are formed through repetition, usually by doing the same thing at least once a day. In order to change your subconscious mind and form new habits, start by doing something you love on a daily basis. This repetition will make your mind accustomed to the process of forming new habits. Think of it this way: Your old habit is like a freeway that you drive on every day. To form a new habit, you will need to take an exit from the old freeway and create a new pathway. The more you take this new pathway, the sooner this change becomes familiar. What’s more, it will be easier for you to take a different new exit in the future because you will already be familiar with taking new exits!
o Commit to at least 6 weeks. New habits and resolutions are developed over time. Many people give up their efforts at changing their habits after only a few days or weeks. Commit yourself to at least 6 weeks of “taking a new freeway exit.” For 6 weeks, practice daily quiet time, visualization before bed, and a daily activity you love.
Be Accountable Every Day
Now that you know the important changes that are necessary in order to keep your New Year’s resolutions, you’ll need support with changing your behavior. Your best intentions and goals can easily become diverted unless you have someone in your life — a coach, family member, close friend, or co-worker — holding you accountable daily to keep your resolutions.
Choosing the right person to be your accountability partner is important. This person needs to care about you enough to be honest and committed to your success; accordingly, you must be okay with them daily reminding and challenging you to develop new habits. If, for instance, your spouse is the true love of your life, but you have a hard time receiving constructive feedback from him or her, consider someone else to be your accountability partner.
How does someone keep you accountable to your resolutions? The best way is for them to send you a daily text – perhaps at midday – to remind you of the progress you have committed to make each day. Reading their daily text message will be a timely reminder of why you made your resolutions, and it will encourage you to continue on your path. In addition, receiving this text at midday will allow you time to do things you haven’t done yet, if necessary. The important thing is that your accountability partner commits to checking in with your progress daily.
Being accountable to someone about developing new habits is a crucial step toward staying on track and keeping your resolutions!
Deep within yourself, you know that New Year’s resolutions are only words unless they are kept. If you had the awareness and creativity to imagine the resolutions you desire for this year, know that you can keep them if: you have a strong “why” behind each resolution, you understand where change begins, you change your subconscious mind to form new behaviors, and you choose someone to keep you accountable. Make this year a very special year of changing your habits and keeping your New Year’s resolutions!