A lot of us started the new year by making resolutions. By this time in January, most of us have broken at least one of them! So how do you make sure that you stick to the rest, while they are still intact?
It’s not enough to make a list and hope that it will all happen, somehow. If you can make yourself truly believe in your goals and your ability to achieve them, there is a much better chance of success. I would like to share some ideas on how this can happen. Really, it’s simple psychology, and something that we don’t need an expert to help us with.
When you set your goals, they should be specific and achievable. For example, if you decide that you want to lose weight, the amount of weight loss you aim for should not be so great that it would take a miracle to reach it. The number of pounds and the action you plan to take to reach that goal should be specific so that each week you can measure your progress against the ultimate target.
Once you have decided on your goals, it is a good idea to record them, first by writing them down, and second by sharing them with others who are close enough to hold you accountable for your progress. Sticking to our weight loss example, write your target down and stick it on the refrigerator door, or some other prominent place that you will see every day.
Now imagine yourself having achieved your goal. This is a technique that we use in hypnotherapy, and it is very powerful. Don’t just say “I am going to lose weight” but imagine your new appearance, and think about how your life will be different when you are thinner. Maybe you can imagine rewarding yourself by buying new clothes in a smaller size. Our minds comprise two distinct parts – the conscious or critical mind, which we use for daily life, and the unconscious mind that is the repository of emotions, memories and quite a lot of our anxieties. If I tell you not to think about dieting, you will think about dieting, because the unconscious mind does not know how to deal with ‘not’. So if you imagine the new slimmer you, to your unconscious mind that will be as real as having achieved it already, and it becomes a part of who you are and who you will become. The stronger the picture you paint in your head, the better the chances of attaining your desired goal.
Do not allow yourself to think that you cannot reach your goal. Often we tell ourselves that we are being too ambitious, that the target we set ourselves was an impossible dream, and that is the reason we can allow ourselves to fail. Refuse to make excuses to yourself, and keep on track, even when you have the occasional setback.
I have decided that in 2014 I am going to add 10 pounds to my weight, without any additional body fat – in other words it should be 10 pounds of muscle. I have a picture in my mind of how my body will look with that amount of additional muscle, and I think about the clothes that will no longer fit me, as well as the great pictures I will be able to take of the new me. I am sharing my goal with my readers, and I am ensuring that my unconscious mind is fully committed to this enterprise. I will report back at the start of 2015 and let you know how well I succeeded!