For most of us, the New Year begins with great expectations. It may be a resolution, a hope for better things, or plans to change. Inevitably we tend to focus on what we want to do differently. But, how many of us find our enthusiasm waning by 1st February and that those positive plans have completely fallen by the wayside come April?
Why Positive Change is Hard
Our brains are wired to avoid change, because learning is energy-intensive, requiring new circuits to be created; referring to existing patterns doesn’t tax our minds in the same way. The brain’s default is to use less energy, which means it’s much easier for us to carry on doing what we’ve always done, rather than practice the new thing until it becomes habit!
Whether you put it down to evolution, Mother Nature, or the power of a Higher Being, as a species we are naturally resistant to change…. and, ironically, we don’t like to admit it. Stepping outside the comfort zone of routine is harder than we expect. Our natural inclination is to come up with the reasons why we might as well not bother going to that event in town, be it weather, traffic, time, “I’d have to change my clothes”, or “I haven’t paid yet, so no big loss”. We are the masters of excuses.
However, what if a mere 10 seconds of reflection each day were enough to develop those new circuits in your brain? This 10-second rule is the reason that, for millions of us, posting a quote, a phrase or a reminder on our screen, fridge, or mirror is so effective in helping us achieve a goal. The simple act of repetition helps the brain develop the new circuits required to develop a new behaviour or habit.
What if creating a new habit was easier than we think it might be? Implementing change can begin with the simple step of recognising what you are good at – then building realistic expectations from there and creating the reminders you need to accomplish them.
So, if your New Year’s Resolutions have become a dim and distant memory, how about making a list of accomplishments? It’s so much more gratifying to realise all you have already achieved, rather than to see your well-intentioned resolutions as a list of weapons to beat yourself up with.
Creating Great Expectations… and achieving them!
Firstly, begin with writing a list of the things you have achieved, or accomplished in the last 12 months.
Then, write a second list of the things the first list has inspired you to think about…. new ideas; further developments of the original cunning plan; whatever comes to mind that you’d like to pursue this year.
Finally, make a note of the reminders you can create to ensure you establish new habits that allow you to accomplish your goals.
Remember, acknowledging last year’s accomplishments can go a long way to inspiring the things you can do this year.
And of course, if you need support along the way, here at Glint we can provide coaching programmes and hypnotherapy to help keep you focused and on-plan!