When asked about making New Years resolutions, one of my clients told me she refuses because she stated “(they) are simply doomed to failure by the very nature of making it a resolution”. I’d like to say she is horribly wrong, and I certainly don’t like being a negative Nancy, but how are your resolutions going so far?
If it’s going well, awesome, congratulations and stick with it! If you are however, like so many of us, struggling to maintain our lofty goals of exercising more, losing weight, calling your Mom more often or putting things away immediately, then lets have a little chat shall we? First we need to understand WHY so you can stop being mad or disappointed in yourself. Excuse me while I geek out on you for a minute as I talk about our brain.
Self restraint (keeping your new years resolution) lives in the frontal lobe of the brain. Unfortunately the frontal lobe is the new guy in town just doing his best to compete with what’s behind it. And that is the primitive part of the brain which is where pleasure resides… It is here that survival instincts have had millions of years to master making us do things that literally make us happy. Like sex, and eating. Survival. Hmmm. You see, every time we succumb to those things we like, whether it’s eating that chocolate, buying yet another pair of heels, or watching television instead of doing your taxes, we get a shot of dopamine and we feel good in the moment, and guilty after.
So how do we outsmart the Don of the brain? We do not have an unending supply of willpower so don’t test it without a plan. So let me give you 5 strategies that should help formulate your plan for success:
1. Break it into little pieces.
Don’t say I want to lose 20 pounds this year. You will likely run out of willpower for that by the end of the month (week, day?). Tell yourself you want to start by losing 1 pound by the end of next week and 5 pounds by Valentines day and then you can buy that dress that is a little snug right now. Oops that’s 2 strategies for the price of one. Yup, break it up and reward yourself!
2. Call for success.
Remind yourself of past successes and how great you are. Success breeds success.
3. Use the power of visualization.
Visual help…that primitive part of the brain is surprisingly easily tricked by images. A picture of you at your best on the fridge, or a shot of the beach you want to wear that bikini on, or a chart showing your progress. Remind your pleasure centre that getting the prize (reaching your resolution) will be the biggest dopamine reward possible!
4. Trick your mind.
Go for a short walk, or go to bed! If the fridge beckons you and you know it isn’t because you are hungry, get away from temptation. Walking is surprisingly effective, and it doesn’t take long. About 5 or 10 minutes will increase your dopamine enough to quell that sneaky urge! And bed, well who can resist anything when they are tired?
5. Write it down.
Write your resolution(s) down in detail and keep it where you can see it, in fact, tell everyone you know. What you are doing is constantly reliving that exciting moment when you made that darn resolution to begin with!
I figure since you are in line for success now, you deserve your first reward and this is it. When setting your resolutions, pick something that is doable. Is going to the gym three times per week for a couple hours at a time which would be necessary to meet your goal of “becoming more fit and toned” simply not possible with your busy schedule? Call Studiotec and book your twice a week 20 minute workout so that you can meet your goal with time to spare!
So there you have it! I hope you feel more equipped than ever to finally reach that resolution and keep all parts of your brain happy and healthy in 2017!!