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How to turn New Year’s resolutions into habits that stick

New Year has always been a symbol of new beginnings. You are hopeful about the future and what it may have in store. If you believe in the magic of numbers or the effect that stars’ alignment may have on your life, then you may have looked into what these celestial pointers decree for the New Year. Prompted by all this, you are inspired to write your own New Year’s resolutions to spark positive change. Here are some ideas on how to stay committed even after the festivities wear out.

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New Year has always been a symbol of new beginnings. You are inspired to write your own New Year’s resolutions to spark positive change, hoping you will remain committed,  even after the festivities wear out.

Some people may argue that New Year’s resolutions actually don’t work. According to research by the University of Scranton, 30% of people develop resolution amnesia  after two weeks. The good thing is, it’s up to us whether we are going to join them or decide to be one of the other 7o% who succeed.

The power of habit

Aristotle said that 95% of everything you do is a result of habit. So it would be beneficial to explore what habits  are conducive to what you want to achieve. There is a saying that good habits are hard to form but easy to live with.  On the other hand, some of your bad habits may have been easy to form but hard to live with. You may know how easy it is to start drinking or smoking!

The science behind habit creation

Believe it or not, no matter how long the behavior has been habitual, it can be unlearnt. Through repetition and practice you can implement new habits that eventually become established  ways of doing things. If you prefer doing this with a professional, then you can benefit immensely from techniques that can help you achieve this at a faster pace. As a hypnotherapist and a BWRT practitioner, I have witnessed people experiencing a big change sometimes within a session!

‘We are what we repeatedly do’ – Aristotle

The thing is, almost everything you do, from the moment you get up to the time you go to bed, is a habit. It may be beneficial to  ask yourself how your existing habits fit into the life you have planned for yourself? We cannot expect to be doing the same things and get different results! So you may ask yourself what is the new you going to be doing or thinking differently?

The brain is naturally wired to opt for the familiar and resist the unknown, so having a mental image of your new self will give your brain a clear picture of what you want to achieve. Consequently, through practising this, it will direct your actions to work in your favour.

The keys to making New Year’s resolutions work

If your past new years’ resolutions haven’t  had much staying power, you may be asking yourself why? Was there anything about your circumstances that prevented you from sticking to your goals? 

  1. Here’s the thing about resolutions – they need to be yours. Maybe in the past you’ve set goals that you thought you should have set but they didn’t feel right for you. Failing to meet these goals should  not come as a surprise. It has to be your thing, something that makes you excited and willing to commit, even in the face of challenges.
  2. Write down your goals using a pen and paper and be as clear as possible. When we engage our kinesthetic, visual and auditory senses in the process, we stimulate a part of the brain connected with goal setting. It will also help you focus and make it easier to say ‘no’ to anything that’s causing distraction. 
  3. Take responsibility! When you say to yourself: ‘I’m responsible’, you realise you have a choice. When you take the responsibility, you become more receptive to the idea that there are weknesses or areas that need improvement or are holding you back. Why aren’t you at your goal already? There must be a limiting factor which, once alleviated, could make a whole difference. It has been proven that only 20% of the limiting factors are actually external.
  4. Last but not least, find your why! As Napoleon Hill wrote: ‘Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.’ 

Why do you want to achieve these goals? How are they it going to change your life? Explore the benefits of your goals and connect with the emotion of what it will feel like when you attain  them. Your emotion is a powerful drive that can help you persevere even at the most difficult of times.

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