There is a great book called, “Change or Die” by Alan Deutchman. In it, he reveals that when heart patients are faced with the consequence of dying if they don’t adopt a healthier lifestyle, an astounding 90% of patients will not stick to the long-term change recommendations by their physicians. How can this be???
Even when we want change more than anything else; Even when we are certain that we will be healthier or happier or even avoid death (!), our brains are wired up to avoid anything new. Your brain sees sameness and status quo as safe and sound, so why change? If you survived yesterday, then that’s good enough for your brain so it will use any sneaky tactic it can to keep doing the exact same things you’ve always done.
It’s imperative that you have a good understanding of how your brain works so you can trick it into letting you go to yoga or work on your novel until it becomes a habit (this is where I come in! I can show you how to do this!, Then, your brain will be your biggest cheerleader because practicing Chinese or a run with your dog has in and of itself become something normal. And, like I said, your brain just loves normal!
Starting at the Goal Will Almost Always Result in Failure…
When YOU (your mind, not your brain) say, “Starting January 1st, I am going to run four times a week” Your brain says, “No. We’re not.”
When you say, “by the end of 2014, I want to be running regularly.” Your brain says, “sure. Ok.”
Starting at the goal sets you up for a likely failure that, if bailed on over and over, can really hurt you and make you feel bad. If you know me, you know that in order to change anything, the name of the game is feeling GOOD.
It is IMPERATIVE that you are feeling good about what you want to change instead of feeling bad that you aren’t doing it. There are some folks out there that have given up altogether. “I won’t do it” or “I can’t change,” and if every thought is an affirmation (and every thought is an affirmation), this is trouble.
You have to have something to work toward…you have to make a reasonable goal. Life is a journey of these goals. Life is not Google. That is, instantaneous change. If it was, all your positive changes and accomplishments wouldn’t mean a damn thing. They mean something because you have put yourself, your thoughts, your work and sweat into them.
No One Does Anything Every Single Day
Even olympic runners don’t run every day….even behaviors you think you do every day, you have missed. Have you ever, in your life, forgotten to brush your teeth?
So, bag what Dr. Oz says and (unless it’s biological) don’t aspire to do anything everyday. Instead, make the goal to work on writing with your son regularly. Aspire to do push ups on most days. There are some things in your perfect part (if you don’t know what that is,click here) that you couldn’t simply do every day. Could you go to the movies every day? Could you even go outside and enjoy nature every day???
No. So, help yourself in feeling good and think about getting things into your life with regularity instead. It feels better. It feels good. It’s possible and it’s actually easy if you know the right steps!
The Little By Little Mentality will Pave Your Road to Success
I’m not going to get into the Mothers of Motivation (MOMs) here, but just know that you will need to approach menu planning or meditating with the Little by Little Mentality for it to work long-term. Just because you could physically run for 45 minutes right off the bat if you haven’t been running at all does not mean it’s a good idea, nor does it mean you will ever do it again!
Ever picked up a guitar and thought it might be fun to play? If we decide that we want to be able to rock out on guitar, why can’t we just whip out some Jimi Hendrix licks? We made the decision, right? Because your brain needs time to allow for new neural pathways as you learn, it needs doses of the guitar little by little. You could not eat all your meals for the whole year in one day (and if you could, believe me, I would!), because your body needs food little by little. Know that your brain is a part of this body that needs little doses of something new to allow it in, enjoy it, feel good and change for good.
As I said, I could go on and on! I won’t! Instead, call me if you need me, sign up for the New Year’s Resolutionist’s Mistake Workshop and follow me on FB andTwitter.