Happy New Year to all!

Yes, I was “making merry” over the holidays with my family.  It was so good to have time with them without appointments and deadlines.

But now it’s already January, 2 2017.  Ooops – there’s a resolution (posting the same day weekly) shot to heck.

That’s what’s on my mind, and possibly on yours.  Every year, many of us make resolutions for the new year.  Maybe you already have a list of resolutions.

Unfortunately, most people who make resolutions struggle with them, then end up forgetting about them.

What to do?

Here’s something different:  Don’t make New Year’s resolutions.

Here’s why:  a resolution means that we have resolved to do something.  In other words, we intend to engage will-power to force a change what, frankly, some part of us doesn’t actually want.  In some way we enjoy the behaviors we want to change or we wouldn’t be doing them.

Given that we also dislike that behavior what can we do?

What we can do is to go about it differently.  Decide to make changes, not resolutions.  Here’s how in 3 steps:

1.  One small change at a time

For example: what if you want to get up an hour earlier every day?  An hour is a huge change and will make you feel sleep-deprived.  So it’s less likely you will make it stick.  Make a smaller goal: waking up 5 or 10 minutes earlier.

2.  Create a process to make the change

Set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier, hit snooze for 5 minutes, and get up after that.  Victory!  You’ve now gotten up 10 minutes earlier.  And you still got to snooze to adjust to getting up.  Keep it the same for a week, then repeat.  In one month, you will be getting up an hour earlier.  Victory!

Note: if 10 minutes was too big a change, make it 5 minutes:  alarm set 10 minutes earlier, and snooze for 5 minutes.

The most important reward from a brain/neuroscience standpoint is that you’ve let your brain know that you will follow-through when you ask it to issue a direction.

Why is this important?  Your brain is interested in keep things the same.  It’s interested in stability.  Instability means things are out of control and to the brain that’s dangerous.  So if you fight with the brain to make a change the brain may well win by sabotaging the change.  It may make you uncomfortable, or even fearful of any change.

But if you get your brain on board with the change you will probably succeed.  One way to do this is by making the change small enough not to set off alarms.  Then when you create a habit of following through with small changes, your brain will actually help you make other bigger changes.  Now you’ve got the brain on your side.  In other words, you now know you can trust YourSelf.

3.  Track the change   

What you pay attention to grows.  That’s true for any activity or change: for making money, for improving relationships or other behavior.

Keep track everyday of the results of any change you are making.  Any kind of record-system works, even just a piece of paper you keep by your bed.

Keeping track of your success will help keep you on-track with your change.  What you keep track of grows.

Happy New Year 2017 – To success in the knowing the Gift of YourSelf

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