Say NO to New Year’s resolutions. Create a long-lasting change that will transform your whole life instead.
Did you know that over 50% of people who make New Year’s resolutions fail to fulfil them in the first 6 months after establishing them?(1)
With the start of the New Year, many purchase gym memberships and class passes to improve their wellbeing, get in shape and lose weight. We set big goals to save money, boost our physical health or quit smoking. The desire, motivation and intention are there, but somehow we fail in execution.
Why is that?
And what can we do differently to introduce a long-lasting change instead of marking each Monday in our calendar as THE DAY to start a new life?
DEFINE YOUR PURPOSE
Start by being very clear on your intentions. Yes, your heart-centred BIG WHY. Why do you want to shift and introduce this change? How will your life be different when you (choose your goal)? Instead of logically calculating different outcomes, emotionally connect with your purpose. So, whether you want to be a better parent, travel around the world, or perform at your best at work, it must feel deeply important and aligned.
Although external incentives do have their place and can powerfully complement an inspired goal (2), a number of studies (3) show that overall positive development and meeting long-term goals and driven by intrinsic motivation, where you follow something for its inherent satisfaction, is more probable than those driven by purely extrinsic motivation.
RELEASE LIMITING BELIEFS
Instead of purchasing another membership or an app, you will never use, pause and self-reflect if you are holding on to certain beliefs, thoughts and stories that are not in alignment with your new goal. Chances are that you unconsciously cultivate negative beliefs that keep you in this never-ending loophole. Awareness is the key here!
This simple 3-step process can help nip nasty outdated belief systems in the bud, before starting any new goal-setting:
- STEP 1: Ask yourself “Why don’t I believe I can be… (insert your goal, e.g. toned, healthy, rich, emotionally stable etc.)”. List any reasons that come to mind.
- STEP 2: Now that you have identified unsupportive thoughts, try questioning them and finding proof that the opposite is possible. Consider objectively, “Why is this belief not necessarily true”? For example, if you don’t feel it is possible to earn $100,000 a year, really think about what sort of sources of income would make this happen. Imagine you were talking to a friend or a loved one, who you want to inspire and motivate. Don’t limit yourself – and make this fun!
- STEP 3: Finally, ask yourself “Why should I have my dream/meet my goal?” If you want to become healthy, some of the reasons could be living longer for those you love, reducing the risk of heredity disease, walking to the car without being out of breath, etc. Really reflect on how much quality of life for yourself, your loved ones, and the world around you will improve by achieving your goals.
CULTIVATE A GROWTH MINDSET
Have you heard of neuroplasticity?(4) Your mind is flexible and you can form new neural pathway connections, meaning you can completely transform who you are if you don’t like the version you see in the mirror every day.
To achieve that, you need to cultivate a growth mindset, a term coined by Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck in her pioneering 2006 book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. With this approach, you embrace challenges instead of avoiding them, learn from criticism rather than being offended and closed-off, keep trying and trying and never give up. A person cultivating a growth mindset is always willing to learn from their failures and is on a constant journey of self-exploration and self-improvement.
Hint: From today, start to think about ‘failing’ as the best word in the English vocabulary – First Attempt In Learning.
LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE
The six logical levels of change, an NLP model proposed by Robert Dilts (5), is a great framework to understand how a change happens on a deeper level.
Let’s look at a specific example. You want to decrease your stress levels (because you know that stress is a silent killer) to live a happy and more fulfilled life. Instead of downloading a meditation app straight away, look at your life from a greater perspective.
Start from your environment. What do you need to change in your direct work and living environment to make meeting this goal more achievable?
Then analyse your behaviour. What triggers you and makes you super fired up? Go a little deeper, analyse your capabilities and skills. Do you know how to find the most suitable method to release stress?
(On that note: Becoming a part of a like-minded community and joining a wellbeing and yoga studio would be highly beneficial. You get support, skills and knowledge to shift your life.)
The last areas to introspect on that we mentioned before are your mindset and your purpose. The more you can shift on an identity level (meaning who you perceive yourself as), the longer-lasting change.
FORM TINY HABITS
Do you brush your teeth every single day? Is it challenging to find the motivation to do it? Your answer was probably no. You have done it so often in the past that it has become your second nature. It is so ingrained in your identity that you don’t question it anymore.
To make a sustainable change, you need to do the same – strengthen your motivation muscle and introduce tiny, healthy habits every single day.
In his New York Times bestselling 2019 book Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything, author and Stanford behaviour scientist B.J. Fogg uses a vast body of research to show that improving your life is much easier than you think by implementing small, incremental daily steps.
And then one day, your neural pathway connections will reorganise themselves and you will start acting differently. The change that was so hard to achieve in the first place and you were so resistant to it will become automatic.
At Myall Wellbeing, at the start of February, we are launching our new Myall Challenge. This challenge will give you an amazing opportunity to form new habits, get accountability and support and kick off the New Year feeling stronger and healthier than ever!
To check the details our new Challenge, you can click here.
(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6901269/#:~:text=In%20the%201930s%2C%20the%20 Rockefeller,funds%20based%20on%20its%20promise.&text=Adolf%20Meyer’s%20ideas%20and%20influence,imagine%20and%20later%20reimagine%20neuroplasticity.