Did you make any New Year’s resolutions this year? If so, you’re in good company. A couple of weeks into 2015, how are you doing on them? If you’re not doing too well, or you’ve given up on them already, you’re also in good company.
So, why bother with New Year’s resolutions? If you tend to make New Year’s resolutions with hopeful enthusiasm on January 1st, only to find your motivation to keep them ebbing away before a week or so has gone by, you might ask yourself – what’s the point? The point is what one study by a US university found – that people who make New Year’s resolutions are 10 times more likely to achieve their goals than people, who said that they wanted to make changes, but didn’t set any specific resolutions.
The top four New Year’s resolutions tend to be around losing weight, getting fitter, spending less and saving more, and getting better organised. Basically, all hinge on changing habits at some level. So it’s no wonder that New Year’s resolutions can be difficult to keep, if they involve changing established habits. Habits can become remarkably ingrained. You often do them without thinking; it’s automatic behaviour. But the good news is that, just as you’ve learned the habits you have now, you can unlearn them and learn new, better habits, if you want to.
How can you keep your New Year’s resolutions? Here are a few suggestions of how to make sure you keep those resolutions:
(Keep reading to the end of the post to find out my special ‘secret advantage’ way of making New Year’s resolutions stick!)
Be specific – spend some time getting crystal clear about the outcome you want. If you want to get fitter, what does that actually mean? How will you know when you’re fitter? If you want to exercise more, how many times a week will you exercise, for how long and what will you do? If you want to lose weight, what is your target weight and when do you want to reach it? (I usually recommend to clients that they don’t use weight as their target measure, but rather use something else, like a target clothes size or body measurements, for lots of different reasons.) You’re probably familiar with the idea of SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound). You’re more likely to achieve what you want if you know exactly what you’re aiming for.
Set an intention – There’s something more powerful about saying “I intend to [save £100 a month/go the gym twice a week etc]”, than “I hope to”, or “I aim to”. Try it – somehow the unconscious responds better to this more definite wording. It sounds more determined. The inner dialogue you use when you think about a goal or resolution can make all the difference to how well you achieve it.
Do you really want it? If something inside you does a little wobble when you try saying ‘I intend to…’, it’s probably a sign that you aren’t really fully committed to your resolution. Even if you don’t get a little wobble, it’s worth testing your resolutions. On a scale of 0 to 10, how important is this to you? What will it mean to you to achieve it? Is it worth the time or the cost it’s going to take? You need to make sure you clear away any blocks that might hold you back and that you’re making a resolution because you want to, rather than because you think you should or you ought to.
Visualise your desired outcome – Once you’re sure you do really want your resolution, begin getting a clear picture in your mind of exactly what it will be like when you’re achieving it. When done right, visualisation is a powerful technique to build new habits and make the changes you want. I use it all the time to help clients in hypnosis, but you can do it out of hypnosis as well. It’s not just about imagining seeing yourself doing or being what you want. You need to make it into as full a total sensory and technicolour experience in your imagination as possible – what are you seeing and hearing? How are you feeling? It gets your mind used to being in the change you want and makes it easier to start building the habit in reality.
Start small – Depending on what your resolution is, you probably need to break it down into small steps that you can achieve gradually and build up over time. This is particularly important if you’re trying to change the habits of a lifetime. Be gentle on yourself! If it’s more exercise you’re after and your intention is to walk every day for 20 minutes, why not start with walking a couple of times a week for 10 minutes. Then you can build up to more week by week.
Have a reminder – If you’re going to build a new habit, you need to focus on it every day. Doing things regularly is the key to success. It can help to have a reminder, whether it’s a post-it note on the fridge, an alert on your ‘phone, trainers by the door – something you’ll see, preferably early in the day, to prompt you to do what you need to do.
Take it day by day – Decide each day what you’re going to do towards your resolution, but if you don’t quite succeed on one day, accept that you’re not perfect. Nobody is. There’s always the next day to keep going, so persevere! It’s been said that a habit takes about 30 days to take root, but if you want it to become truly embedded, so you just do it automatically without thinking, it takes more like twice, if not three times that long. Don’t give up too soon!
The ‘secret advantage’ way to making New Year’s resolutions stick
Would you like to know any easy way to help keep your New Year’s resolutions? This year, I made some New Year’s resolutions about healthy eating, daily exercise and business-related goals. This year, I really wanted to make sure I got some good habits up and running quickly, and that I stuck to them. So this year, I made myself a hypnosis recording and I’ve been listening to it every day.
The power of hypnosis is remarkable! It’s been great to have helpful thoughts pop into my head, just when I need them. At lunch time, when I’m usually tempted to eat whatever’s to hand, I find myself searching out the veg. When I’m having a break between tasks, I find myself wondering whether now would be a good time to get out for that 20 minute walk. When I have my mid-morning coffee, I’m saying to myself: “No, you don’t need that biscuit You’re not hungry.” It makes it so much easier to keep the resolutions going.
Would you like to get the secret advantage for your New Year’s resolutions?
I’ve just been working with a client today on a specific resolution she has made to make her business more successful. In a two-hour session we were able to get clear on exactly what she wanted to do, uncover some hidden challenges that were holding her back, and get her focused on how she was going to make the changes she needed to make. I’ll follow up the hypnosis we did in the session with a hypnosis recording that she can listen to every day to reinforce the thinking and behaviour that will make her resolution become reality.
If you’d like a New Year’s resolution booster session and hypnosis recording, please do contact me. Until the end of January, the cost is £120, a 20% discount of what I’d normally charge. Just e-mail or ‘phone 0208 546 2122 to find out more.
What are your New Year’s resolutions? Do let me know!