We set New Year's Resolutions with the best of intentions and then ... how many do we keep? To understand why New Year's Resolutions fail, we need only look at how the brain -- the mind -- works.
New Year's Resolutions and all other goals are set by the conscious mind. Their achievement, however, is a function of the subconscious or nonconscious mind. When we set goals/resolutions without enlisting the support of our nonconscious mind, they are doomed to failure.
The parts of the brain that carry out the nonconscious mind's bidding control all the bodily functions that keep us alive and well without our having to think about them. We don't have to consciously tell the white blood cells, for example, what to do or keep reminding the heart to beat or instruct the liver on how to do its job. That's the job of the nonconscious mind. That's how powerful and essential it is! The nonconscious is also the repository for all our habits -- including our habits of thought, our beliefs. The experts estimate that 96 to 98% of our behaviors is controlled by the nonconscious. That means that our volitional/conscious mind only controls 2 to 4% of our actions -- the rest of our actions are habitual AND habits are thousands of times more powerful than are desires, which include our resolutions.
If we make a New Year's Resolution, with our conscious mind, to exercise every day for at least 30 minutes, for example, but our nonconscious holds the belief that, "I'm too busy to get daily exercise sessions in" or, "I never can stick with an exercise program for very long," then these beliefs / habits of thought, which reside in the nonconscious 24/7, will sabotage your best of intentions.
The answer is to reprogram your nonconscious mind. The only reason the nonconscious holds these self-sabotaging beliefs is because we put them there in the first place. By repeatedly thinking that we don't have time to exercise or that we have no will power, these thoughts, over time, became our dominant thoughts when it comes to the subject of exercise. These thoughts became our beliefs, true or not. To stick with our resolution / new goal, we must reprogram the nonconscious or override the current negative habit of thought. How do we do that?
We created these self-limiting beliefs by thinking the same or similar thoughts over and over again. To override these resolution-destroying beliefs, create a new pattern of thinking. One way is to create and repeat affirmations. For example: "By getting up 30 minutes earlier to exercise first thing in the morning I find I have more energy and am more productive for the rest of the day." or "I easily incorporate exercise into my day and feel great as a result."
These are just samples. Write your own. Read or recite your affirmation(s) several times, three times a day -- upon arising, right before bed and in the middle of the day. Do this until it becomes your new habit of thought. In order to lower mental resistance -- the mental argument in your head that this statement is not true, you can soften it by starting your affirmation with "What if ..." or "Won't it be great when ..." If you really don't believe you have time, keep reminding yourself that, "if some of the busiest people in the world can find time to exercise, then I certainly can, too."
Another successful technique is to visualize how you're going to look and feel and what you are going to be able to do because you took the time to exercise or whatever your resolution is. Picture yourself, for instance, skiing down a challenging ski slope or playing tag/ball with your grands and great-grandkids or getting genuine compliments at your next reunion. If this didn't work, do you think the top golfers and other athletes would waste their time doing this? Visualization works because the nonconscious mind does not differentiate between vividly imagined events and things and actual physical world happenings; to the nonconscious one is just as real as the other!
Remember, we choose resolutions with our conscious mind, but we achieve them with the nonconscious. The conscious mind is easily distracted; experts say we lose focus every six to ten seconds on the average. The nonconscious never loses focus -- it's job is to stay ever vigilant to keep the status quo, to maintain homeostasis. Change that lasts requires a reprogramming of our mental software -- our nonconscious. Both these parts of the mind working together makes anything possible, any resolution successful. Without their working in tandem, supporting each other, your (and my) resolutions will fail!
Ed Mayhew is a leading authority on slowing and reversing aging naturally, who through his speaking engagements, books, CDs and newsletters, helps Boomers thrive! His age-redefining books include: Fitter After 50, Fitter for Life and AGE BLASTERS: 3 Steps to a Younger You Visit him at: www.YouCanGrowYounger.com www.FitterForLife.com AND Ask for your F*R*E*E** Fitter After 50 e-newsletter