How to Keep New Year's Resolutions

On January 1, with the best intentions, millions of us committed to making a change in 2017. And here we are again - making the same New Year’s resolutions for the umpteenth year in a row. Join the club. A big one at that. Studies have found that 25% of us don’t stick to our resolutions in just the first week, and, 92% fail altogether in achieving what they had set out to do at the beginning of the year. Why is it so difficult?

It takes patience, repetition and consistency to build new habits. It also requires, not just the rational will to change, but the mind too.   

Your mind is the spark for everything you do. It forms an automatic response to life events such as, “I’m stressed, I need a cigarette,” or, “It’s been a long day, a bowl of ice cream will pick me up.” Logically, we know that we should kick the habit or stick to the diet. While we may achieve short-term success, we face strong internal resistance, because we haven’t changed our internal programming. That’s why after a few weeks, we often give up and return to our original habits. It’s just easier that way. Not so.

This year, you can achieve your resolutions in 2017. Here are 6 tips to ensure that you are one of the few, the proud, and the 8% that find new year’s resolutions success.

  1. Start with the mind. Guided hypnosis is the means to having a conversation directly with your subconscious mind to create new thoughts and reinforce new, positive habits such as, “I’m going to relax in front of the television and forget snacking,” or, “I’m stressed, so I’m going to go for a walk.” With hypnosis, your direct thoughts reset the navigation and direction of your own autopilot. Numerous studies - covering everything from weight loss to smoking to stress - conclude that hypnosis is more effective and longer lasting than other methods to change behavior and support the achievement of goals.
  2. Write your goals down. Have you ever gone to the grocery store with a mental list of 3 items to come home with 7 items – none of which are the 3 you went to the store for? However, if you go to the grocery store with the same mental list written down, chances are much higher you come home with those 3 items. The same is true for New Year’s Resolutions. Writing your resolutions down on paper is a “filter” for our mind. You can write the Resolutions in color, your subconscious mind loves that! We process a lot of to-dos every day; however, our mind makes a priority of the to-dos we write down on paper, especially if written in color. Keep your goals visible. You might even want to post them on your bathroom mirror, so you visually reinforce all that you are working toward.
  3. Turn Your Resolutions into SMART Goals. Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. Timely. Add-in short milestones to track and celebrate your achievements along the way. If your New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight, turn your resolution into a SMART Goal. How much weight? When do you want to lose the weight by? Is the amount of weight you want to lose realistic in the timeframe you’re suggesting? Is it healthy? How are you going to lose the weight?   
  4. Tell Others. What better way to hold yourself accountable than by telling others about your goals? Tell your friends and family, and share your goals on Social Media. This will ensure that not only you, but others, are holding you accountable for your resolutions.
  5. Focus on one goal at a time. One day at a time. “This year, I want to quit biting my fingernails, stop chewing tobacco, and lose weight.” Don’t take on all of them at once. Instead, take one at a time. Add in the mantra, “Today, just today, I will not bite my nails.” Say this each morning. Set the milestone goal that I will paint my nails each Friday, keeping them trimmed. I will be a non-nail biter by January 31. I will then make an appointment with Positive Changes on February 1st for support in my journey to stop chewing tobacco.
  6. Reward yourself for milestones you meet. Maybe you will reward yourself by going to the nail salon for a manicure after you’ve quit chewing your nails, or take your family out to dinner with the money you saved from quitting tobacco use. Whatever it is you choose, don’t forget to reward yourself. You’ve worked hard, and you’ve earned it!

Remember, everything is about choice. You can choose to do what takes you closer to your goal, or you can choose to do what takes you further away. The choice is yours. Have a picture in your mind of what it is you really want. When a challenging choice arises, bring to mind that picture, and remember what is most important. Is it the immediate gratification or the long term goal?