Okay. We are about a month into the new year and already many of you have made and broke your new year resolutions. I have seen some very humorous resolutions on Twitter:
Megan Kelly Dunn @megankcomedy My New Years resolution is to be more assertive if that's okay with you guys?
Adrienne Airhart @craydrienne My 2017 resolution is to work on my low self esteem, but I don’t think I can do it.
Siddharth Singh @siddharth3 Startup idea; a gym named Resolution that runs for the 1st month of the year, collects subscription fees, then converts to a bar named Regret.
So why do we make resolutions only to break them just days into the new year? There are many factors at play here. Typically when we make resolutions they are overzealous and not realistic. A resolution to lose 50 or 100 pounds sounds great, but the process of getting there is time consuming and involves daily commitment. This can be overwhelming even to the most motivated of us. Sometimes we make the wrong resolutions. The key to successfully achieving your goals is not to be hasty when choosing your goals. Goals that are achievable need to be well thought out and planned for. Resolutions that are small in scope with realistic goals are much more likely to be manageable. Goals also need to specific. A resolution to “get into better shape” is very general and has no discernible action steps. A resolution that you will work out three times per week is measurable and therefore, much more likely to be successful.
When setting goals as I work with clients I emphasize the 1% rule. If you have a resolution to lose weight, the goal should not be losing x amount of pounds. The goal should be to change eating and exercise habits that will result in weight loss. Even if the weight loss is a pound a week (which does not sound like much) over time you will see a very big difference and will be more successful.
Many of you have a goal to quit smoking in the new year. But without a specific plan of how you will achieve that, you are doomed to fail. If your resolution is to quit smoking, what tools are you going to use to get there? The patch, nicotine gum, medications (like Zyban or Chantix), are all options and you should have the specific tools in place. One of the most powerful and effective tools to quit smoking is hypnosis. I have been working as a therapist clinically for over 25 years. My success rate for helping people quit smoking is over 90% with only one hypnosis session. If you change the subconscious thinking patterns, behaviors will follow.
Here are 6 keys to overcoming your failed new year’s resolutions.
1) Pick only one goal/resolution.
Some of us tend to have grandiose thoughts when making resolutions. We can all count on two hands the things we want to change in our lives and making numerous or unrealistic resolutions just causes brain overload and is not likely to succeed.
Pick 1 realistic goal and stick with that goal only. When you achieve that goal, you can move on to the next one in line.
2) Make a goal with small changes.
As I stated earlier in this e-book, I adhere and emphasize the 1% rule. Taking small effective steps will much more manageable and make you much more likely to succeed. Taking on a huge goal can be overwhelming and psychologically, very difficult to achieve. BJ Fogg, PhD, Director at Stanford University has created an app called Tiny Habits. This app focuses on simply, tiny steps that will change behaviors long term. For example, if you work in a building and your office is on the 2nd floor, take the stairs instead of the elevator. So you may thinking “okay..what is one flight of stairs going to do for me?”. One time, probably not much. But that baby step done 300 days in a year is going to add up and give you results. The “Go Big or Go Home” philosophy does not work with resolutions!
3) Give yourself positive feedback.
It is human nature to view ourselves more harshly than others do. It is important that you recognize and encourage yourself each time you take a step toward your goal. Realize that every small step will add up to significant results. Change your outlook to focus on the steps you are taking, not the overall goal you are trying to achieve. Back to a weight loss example; Someone who is seeking to lose 20 pounds should not be focused on losing 20 pounds. They should be focused on achieving the small daily goals that will bring results and celebrating those small achievements (such as only eating one portion, avoiding sweets/junk food for the day, eating a healthy meal). Give yourself credit with each small step you take.
4) Write down your goals
People who write down their goals are 42% more likely to achieve them according to a study completed at the Dominican University of California. Writing down your goals forces you to clarify exactly what you are trying to achieve. It also brings a sense of “realism” to your goals. Rather than just thinking about the goals, writing them down makes them real and this “documentation” serves as a contract with yourself.
5) Stop making excuses.
This is probably one of the most difficult steps to put into practice. We all have busy lives. If my resolution was to go to the gym 3 times a week and now at the end of January I have not kept that resolution, it is natural to blame my failure on my busy schedule or my need to sleep another hour in the morning. Human beings are experts at making excuses as to why things are not completed. These excuses come from our subconscious minds and has been developed over our lifetimes. We are experts at rationalizing why we cannot accomplish something. When you set a goal, it is always your choice whether or not you are going to follow through.
6) Change your thinking!
This is probably the most important and most effective change you can make to help you succeed with your goals and resolutions. Our minds create our reality. If we believe we cannot do something, it is guaranteed that we are not going to succeed. If we change the way we think, then good results will naturally follow. Just as we have physical habits, we also have mental habits that have developed over years and years. You probably know that person who is a “negative” person. That individual who blames everyone and everything else for their difficulties and failures. This person has learned over years this way of thinking and it prevents this person from achieving success and self-fulfillment. One of the most effective ways of changing thinking habits is through Hypnosis. Simply put, hypnosis is a relaxed state of body AND mind. Your habits whether they be physical or mental are stored in your subconscious mind. Hypnosis allows you to access the subconscious mind and make changes in the way you think. This is why hypnosis is so effective when it comes to defeating physical habits such as smoking, overeating, anxiety and a myriad of other difficulties.
We are only a month into the new year. And whether or not you have kept your new year’s resolution or already veered off track it does not matter. It does not have to be a new year to make a goal or resolution. Put into practice the 6 keys noted above and be excited about the results that are sure to follow.
David R. Wright MA, LPC, NCC is a Certified Hypnotist, Licensed Professional Counselor and National Certified Counselor. He is the owner and Clinical Director of Counseling and Therapy Associates, an outpatient mental health clinic in Taylor, Michigan (a southern suburb of Detroit). He also performs hypnosis stage shows all over the country as the Motor City Hypnotist.