Get your mind on board with what it is you wish to change! Warning, this may cause radical changes.
I love this time of year, with the ending of previous the year and just over the threshold of the new one can come a time of great reflection. A time to evaluate what worked well last year and what not so well, what changes do we wish to give extra energy to at this time of new beginnings and fresh starts. Perhaps you know clearly what you wish to change or manifest, perhaps not. Perhaps every time this passage of time comes around you make a list of all that’s got to go and all you wish to bring in or move towards, a greater sense of health, wealth, happiness, habits of mind or body that you want to release and exchange for a healthier/more fulfilled version of life.
The truth is that for many of us the exultation and renewed vigour we feel for making positive changes at this time can too soon give way to the same old same old, patterns of thinking and behaviour that we felt determined to transform can wither into doing exactly what we’ve been doing for ages with exactly the same results, cue the apathy and discontentment.
The reason so many fail to uphold and truly embody the changes we wish to see is that behaviours/habits/ways of thinking become more and more entrenched in our mind and thus in our lives. The more we practice them, do them, repeat them, over and over and over, the more ingrained they become in our neural pathways in the brain. Much like a path through a meadow the more it is travelled the wider and more established it becomes.
Intention alone seems to be not enough to make the positive changes many seek to implement at this time of year. What is needed is conscious and consistent action. We would not expect a well trodden path through a meadow to appear from a few well meaning ventures through it. It would not take long before nature held its ground and reclaimed the path once more. The same is true of our habits and behaviour patterns. Keep going down the same path and the pathway becomes entrenched, but to do something different again and again and again, even when, and especially when you don’t feel like it and a new pathway/habit/ way of thinking is formed.
In yogic philosophy it is said that it takes 40 days of consistent action to break a habit and 90 days to instill a new one. That’s a lot of baby steps to take to reach ones goal. No one in their right mind would rock up to the London marathon expecting to run it without having put the work into training and preparing beforehand. The first runs may be hard on the body and mind but over time it would become easier. It’s incrementally that we grow, bit by bit, step by step, breath by breath.
New Year’s resolutions are a good idea, but the trick is to approach them in a way that has some real impact. Some ways you can do this…
- Rather than make a wish list that you stick in a drawer somewhere, sit down and really think about it. Include only things that you’re ready and committed to changing, then place it somewhere you will see it often to keep inspired.
- Create an action plan for how you approach each change you wish to make, be very specific.
- Give it meaning. Think about why you want to make these changes, how will they impact your life, what are the benefits you’ll receive, find the motivation.
- If you fall off the wagon, forgive yourself and start again. Ingrained behaviour patterns don’t always loosen up overnight. If you’re really committed to making these changes, don’t give up. Go back to square one as many times as you need until it sticks and it will. Resolutions are for life, not just for the New Year.
If all else fails consider working with a life coach to set you off on the right track. More than half of all resolutions fail, but this year they don’t have to be yours!
Click here to complete this questionnaire to gage how useful it might be for you to have some support to make the changes you wish to and to make this year your best yet.
Ashley Jones works at Camden on Tuesdays. Click here to book an appointment and find out more.