Sticking to our New Year resolutions is harder than we appreciate. The result? They quietly get dropped a few weeks in. Clinical Hypnotherapist Manisha Odedra reckons we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves and they key to success is setting realistic goalsve to succeed
The start of the New Year arrived with fresh hope and fierce determination. With all the festivities over, changes had to be made. It was time to get serious and make those resolutions, only this time you were going to stick to them! Does this sound familiar? Do you find yourself making the same resolutions every year? New Year resolutions can be great motivation to help us become healthier, stop smoking or reduce our alcohol intake, or perhaps to eat better, exercise more or learn a new skill. Only now we’re a few weeks into the year and you have slipped back into those old habits. Well, you’re certainly not alone – up to 80% of resolutions fail. But why? Quite often the expectations we set ourselves are unrealistic: ‘I’m going to drop three sizes in a month, cook healthy dinners every evening and exercise each day without fail’. It’s ‘false hope syndrome’.
It feels great setting these goals but because they are unrealistic or just too big to tackle at once, we set ourselves up for failure. Of course the more often we fail, the more likely we are to repeat those strengthening neural patterns and resolve ourselves to failure. Over time this repeated failure becomes damaging to our self-esteem and we are stuck in a cycle. Another problem is that resolutions may not be specific enough, so the brain just treats them as a vague fantasy. Or they may be too overwhelming and remain that distant dream. Change requires our brain to create new neural pathways and new memories from new thinking, which then become our default behaviour pattern. Achieving those goals is essentially about changing behaviours, changing your thinking and ‘rewiring’ your brain.
Here are some tips to get you started.heightened suggestibility. This is deeply calming and very effective at reducing anxiety.
● Don’t wait to set that goal: Why not start midweek? There are no rules stating when you should start.
● Focus on one thing at a time: Set realistic goals that are achievable. You are more likely to succeed by focusing on the one thing. The achievements will naturally motivate you to continue throughout other areas of your life.
● Be specific: Think about what you want the outcome to be. Often writing this down or creating a vision board reinforces the goals you want to achieve.
● Take smaller steps: Celebrating each step and rewarding yourself is just as important as achieving the bigger goals.
● Visualise: Visualise achieving the steps you set yourself. How would you feel? What would you be doing? We know our brains can’t distinguish the difference between what is real and imagination. Use your imagination to set your default behaviour patterns.
● Treat yourself with respect: You deserve to do so. You wouldn’t dream of talking to your friends, family or colleagues the way you berate yourself.
● Be mindful: Become aware of those small moments that bring you happiness and learn to live in those moments rather than letting the disappointments of the past or the anxiety of the future dictate your wellbeing.
● Be in the right place: Being in the right mind set is key. Wanting something and working towards something are too very different things. If you are in a good mental place then of course change is much easier to implement, it’s easier to focus and remain motivated and ultimately you are a happier person.
In Mind UK 07815 460457, www.InMindUK.co.uk