Year Resolutions - Do They Really Work?
remember that feeling at the beginning of a new school year starting
with brand new school supplies? That sense of freshness and new
beginnings as you open up the first page of an untouched notebook and
hold a new sharp pointed pencil poised to make the first mark? Usually
the first few pages of my notebook would have my best neatest writing,
which then deteriorated as the time went on. My desire to do my best,
reaching for higher standards of excellence dwindled as the day to day
routines of daily living took me back to standards of mediocrity and
just getting by.
The beginning of a new year is often the time when
we reflect on the year that has past and see things that we would like
to change and do differently. A new year represents a new start, a new
chapter and a clean unwritten page in life. There is a desire to live
better, reach new goals, and make a fresh start. We make New Year
Resolutions and promise ourselves that this year we will do them. We
summon up our will power and determination and step into the New Year
with the greatest and sincerest of intentions.
New Year Resolutions have become almost the joke of
this season. It is well recognized that those well intentioned New Years
resolutions often fail as quickly as they are made. One common
resolution is the goal to lose weight by eating sensibly and exercise.
It is the busiest time of year for Fitness Centers, but statistics have
shown that new memberships are rarely kept up more than month or two.
One thing that New Year resolutions do show is that good intentions are
not sufficient to make permanent changes in our lives.
Why do most New Year Resolutions fail?
We are motivated by pleasure in life rather than
pain. Many resolutions involve some kind of deprivation of pleasure
whether it be eating, or stopping a bad habit. We know that although we
enjoy our bad habits, their consequences are ultimately not beneficial
for either our health or life. The desire for instant gratification for
short term pleasure is far stronger than any mental logical sense of
reason in most cases. We know in our head what we should do, but doing
it when it opposes our immediate desires is tough.
Our mind is composed of two parts; the conscious
and subconscious mind. Brain activity takes place through neurons. In
one second of time the conscious mind uses two thousand neurons, and in
that same second the subconscious mind uses four billion neurons. This
means that every second there are two thousand neurons making conscious
decisions and four billion neurons making subconscious decisions. Which
part of your mind has the greatest control do you think?
The subconscious mind is trained by the constant
repetition of the beliefs, values and lifestyle that you have taken and
lived from an early age. It automatically follows the familiar and well
trodden path of well ingrained thoughts, beliefs and behaviors. The
subconscious operates from such a well established history that it
responds automatically with learned responses and behavior. This is why
it is so difficult to create new habits of thoughts and behaviours, the
subconscious mind will always try to revert to old familiar way of doing
things, because they have become so automatic. The conscious mind has a
hard job to make permanent changes because of the power of those four
billion neurons. It can be achieved, but it takes hard work by the
conscious mind to retrain our subconscious mind.
It is said that you need to do something at least
30 times to create a new habit. For changes in life long learnt
behaviors it can take far more than that. For example have you ever got
in the car and driven to your destination, and not really remember the
journey there. You have been driving using the learned behaviors of your
subconscious mind, and your conscious mind has been thinking about
something else. However if you were to drive in a different country
whose custom is to drive on the other side of the road Ė your conscious
mind would be working very hard to correct the learned and instinctive
behavior of your subconscious mind. In fact the whole experience of
driving on the other side of the road feels wrong and uncomfortable, and
if you lose your concentration you could find yourself automatically
going back to familiar patterns and become a road hazard!
Here are tips for working on those New Yearís
- Donít expect instant
results - itís a process
- Plan small attainable
steps to your desired goal
- Celebrate each successful
step towards your goal and work on it until it feels automatic
before progressing to the next
- Donít give up when you
experience relapses and set backs
- Review your new steps and
goals several times daily.
- Visualize what reaching
your goal will look and feel like
- Write down your steps and
- Find people who will
support and encourage you on the way.
By Barbara White
Free Inspirational Daily Quotes