This Is Why Your New Year’s Resolutions Are Not Effective

“Change is the only constant” 
 

How true does this feel when we look around and when we have a look inside ourselves. Humans are restless. We strive for improvement, we pursue dreams- collectively or individually. Whatever it is that we are going after involves a change of the status quo. We want to change our habits or behavior, eat healthier, be more social, do more sports or get a more fulfilling job. None of this comes for free and neither is it easy to achieve. All changes require efforts, some bigger some smaller, for old patterns and ways need to be replaced.

And so when the new year comes, constituting that mental break and a new beginning, we often sit and wonder about our resolutions for those 365 days that lay ahead. The mistake we often do is to neglect HOW exactly to make those resolutions come true. This ‘how’ should be planned as precise as possible and one should not only look at the general method. What matters for any desired change to actually be implemented is the practicability. Real feasibility can be achieved making sure a few conditions are satisfied:

 

  • You can work on it regularly, daily perhaps.
  • You have little milestones on the way to your final goal.
  • You go step by step and do not take extreme measures.
  • Get support, real helpful support from someone who can keep track of your progress.

 

Why this? And how does it help you make your resolutions effective? The answer is one’s own brain. Our brain is basically split in two parts: the conscious and the unconscious. The unconscious part is the one that automatically directs us, the one that ‘stores’ our habits and makes sure they are being carried out without us even being aware of it. Its purpose is to save the scarce energies and resources our body has and to be efficient. That is a great thing. However, this part of the brain comes in the way when we try to implement changes.

Transformation needs consciousness. Consciousness depletes our energy resources. And once energies are depleted, the unconscious part of the brain resumes work and makes us return to those old patterns that are still stored. The more extreme measures we take, the more sudden and quick we want them to be, the more energies the change consumes. When resources are used up all at once and more quickly, there is no time for them to be replenished before the unconscious goes back to work. And by that all progress that had been made so far will be lost.

The 4 suggestions above solve this dilemma. Slow paced changes that require little effort only but take place regularly will effectively push you towards that ultimate goal. Your mental resources do not all get used up at once but only a little bit by a time and prevent your unconscious from getting into the process of change.

The additional effort you will have to make is actually plan how you can implement slow and little changes. Let’s say you want to start exercising regularly. What you should not do, is start the 1st of January with a two hour workout that you are planning to keep up with for the rest of the year. Instead start with those squats for instance. Five of them in the evening the first day you start. And then add a few every once in awhile. The increases will add up but the incremental changes are bearable for your brain.

If you know how your brain works, you know how you can trick it.

 
 
Svea Freiberg
#Team Skies
 

* This is a sneak peak of the upcoming January issue of the Magazine. Stay tuned!
P.S.: Bear with us for the new issue. Good things take their time…

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