Why is it so hard for people to achieve their resolutions?
Making a decision activates the ‘’feel good’’ chemical dopamine and sharing your decision with a friend releases oxytocin, the ‘’bonding neurochemical’’ which can explain to some extent, why people continue to make New Year’s resolutions each year, because it feels great to make a decision and share that with another. The experience is pleasurable. However, when we choose to stop something or start something new, we are engaging with other parts of the brain, which if you are unaware and or you do not have a process to assist you, more often than not, the experience can be hard and unpleasant often resulting in the person giving up on the resolution.
In your brain there is a part called the striatum, which is associated with your habits relating to your thought patterns, your emotions, and the ways you behave with everything, every day. When you wake up, go to sleep, how you dress yourself, how you think and behave in relationships, how you are with food, how you treat yourself, what you think and speak with others, the routes you take to get to work, the way you work, what things you avoid, how you handle stress and challenging times, how you behave in times of celebration or by yourself. Each one of us has habits. We develop these habits in order to conserve energy and to keep us in our comfort zones repeating over and over what we know every day. Every time we make a decision to stop or start something new we disrupt the habits which run us, habits which operate without any conscious thoughts, which function as automatic, I refer to these habituated ways as programs. As soon as we talk about the programs, or the automated self, the part within us all associated with habits, we are talking about the subconscious mind. A decision to stop or start something new, is a conscious effort which uses will power, deductive reasoning, persistence, with a bit of excitement to get started. However, our brain does not like change nor does our brain like to be extending energy. So even though you may be excited and determined to make your resolutions happen, the chances of you doing so, are mostly not in your favour. This is not because you are not capable of change or incapable of sticking to your healthy eating plan, or new exercise regime, or whatever resolution you have made; it is because you are not using the correct process, the motivational factors based on how your brain operates. Engaging with stopping something you have been doing and / or starting something new, will mean that you will be disrupting your current habits, the ways you think, your emotions, your behaviours. And soon you may find yourself making the excuses why you are just not going to do what you have said you will right now, and that you will start tomorrow, or next week.
Your subconscious mind, is the part which breathes for you without you thinking, the part of you that digests your food, converting that into fuel for your body so that you get to do everything you do every day, as millions of cells die today, millions of cells are created, your DNA remains intact and does not unravel and all your autonomic functions are running perfectly without you consciously making any decisions. This is the power of the subconscious mind.
Resolutions are conscious choices. Behaviours and emotions are all happening at the subconscious level.
So what can you do?
How about replacing the word resolutions with the word commitments? Making a commitment, requires of you to go deeper than just saying ‘I want to stop this’, or ‘I want to start that.’
A commitment asks of you to engage with what you need to do when you do not feel like doing something, when your cravings kick in, or your desire to not take action is so strong because you are being pulled back to your old ways of being, thinking and feeling because that is comfortable. What am I going to do when I know the behavior I need stop, but can’t?
A commitment means you are going to figure it out. You are going to upgrade your knowledge, skill sets, find that Coach to assist you to learn how, and who will guide and support you, to do it better and better.
One of my Coaches taught me the importance of having a big enough ‘why’ in terms of why I MUST instead of a reason I just want to. You need a powerful MUST which is bigger than any excuses which you come up with and which you need to overcome.
You need to be learning how to manage your thoughts and your self-talk, your fears and emotions based on your subconscious programming and conditioning.
You need to get into a process which can support you, which holds you accountable and checks you and guides you to navigate things when challenges arrive, to make adjustments and overcome obstacles as you proceed with changing things in your responses.
For every result, there is a process, a checking system to help you achieve what you have committed to do. Set your goals not resolutions, and commit yourself 100% to achieving your goals to do what is needed to disrupt those habitual patterns which keep you stuck.
Then, you need to activate the motor cortex part of your brain which is responsible for you taking action.
According to recent research in neuroscience, an important guideline here is to not set actions which require a huge motivation effort to implement. The more things you give your brain to do, the greater can be the resistance. Therefore make action steps easy at first, where resistance to change is little. Reduce things to the do-able, which means you are reducing not increasing the neuro – emotional tension which causes people to start and stop not sustain the actions needed to result in the achievement of ones goals.
A basic outline looks like this:
- learn to become aware
- learn how to work with the natural laws of the Universe,
- learn how to work with your conscious and subconscious minds
- learn to focus on your strengths whilst being aware of your weaknesses
- learn how to create simple plans to achieve your goals
- learn how to manage what you do in your time
- learn to become productive, to focus on those things that are high impact to derive the best results
- learn to make your decisions based upon your highest values
The more you step into what I call a self-mastery process, which requires awareness, the more you can start to have a life that flows powerfully and meaningfully for yourself, where you love your life, those in it, including yourself and our beautiful planet Earth. As you commit yourself to learn, to break through your current limits which keep you stuck in repeated, outdated programs, and discover how to grow your abilities to not only transcend what no longer serves you to achieve your dreams and start learning how to thrive in your life, not just existing in your life, or merely surviving from month to month. Learning how to master yourself is where you step beyond and break through barriers into what you once thought was impossible by learning to use your mind more effectively.
As we find ourselves already at the completion of the first month January now moving into the second month of this brand new year, I invite you to stop playing around with resolutions. Rather choose to step into process where you start contemplating what you actually DO want, so that you can start making real commitments worthy of you and begin to engage with a process and structure that will support you in your commitment to making those goals your reality, and to making 2019 the year you will thrive, because it IS absolutely possible.
Contact me and allow me the opportunity to work with you where you take that step into a whole new dynamic way of living life! Together we can turn things around and chart for you, a new and exciting way forward where you discover ways of becoming your full potentiality.
Shelley Ruth Wyndham BA DNM
Transcend beliefs! Transform your life!
Based in Noordhoek Valley, Cape Town, South Africa
You CAN begin to heal your-self and heal your life!
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
An overview from Shelley Ruth Wyndham briefly outlining the energy focus for her monthly Full Moon gatherings for 2019. These gatherings are a support structure to the transformation work Shelley provides humanity. She regards these times as the birth of humanity, remembering love and what it means to be human and here in these times.
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