It’s that time of the year when resolutions abound. You look at yourself in the mirror and promise that this year will be different. This will be the year you finally get rid of those extra ten pounds, stop smoking, learn to manage your stress, get enough sleep, go to the gym three days a week. This will be YOUR year.
What is it that makes change so difficult?
Your brain is hard-wired to steer you toward pleasure and away from pain – making it easy to throw in the towel when the going gets tough. It is also often said that anything worth having is worth working hard for, so you may reason that this change will certainly be difficult. Can you can see where this is going? As a result, it’s common to focus on the negative in attempting to make changes:
I’ll never eat dessert and pizza again.
I know I’ll be miserable to be around, but I’ll suffer through it and quit cold turkey.
I’ll get up early for the gym even if it means less sleep and being grumpier in the morning.
It’s no wonder that after only a week’s time you find yourself looking in the mirror and thinking, “Well, maybe next year …..”
What you are thinking shapes your reality. According to Dr. Fred Luskin of Stanford University, you have about 60,000 thoughts per day, and 90% of them are repetitive – the same thoughts you had yesterday! Albert Einstein is credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” Taking a hard look at what your thoughts are is a good first step.
Have you ever planned a trip to a place no one you know had ever been, only to start seeing that destination advertised and mentioned everywhere? Have you ever considered buying a car because it wasn’t very common, only to start seeing that model on the road every where you went? What you focus on expands. Center your thoughts on the solutions and benefits, instead of the problems and sacrifices.
Using logic may help create a plan, but it isn’t the driver of your change. Your emotions drive everything – you only confirm with logic. The more detailed you get about how this change will affect your life, the more motivation and stamina you’ll have to draw on to accomplish it. For example, “I want to wear a smaller size” isn’t as powerful as “I want people to see me confidently enter a room and feel good about myself.”
Step in front of that mirror and look at yourself again. This time, change your thoughts to reflect the outcomes you want to see:
Because I’ve said no to the things I don’t have to take responsibility for, I’ve freed up time for an afternoon of golf.
I can sleep peacefully knowing that I’ve remembered to put everything on my to-do list for tomorrow.
Starting my day with exercise gives me so much energy that I’m more productive all day.
Implement these seven easy tips for putting the magic back in your mirror:
1. Every day stand in front of your mirror and commit to one thing you are going to do for yourself – it doesn’t have to be big, just positive.
2. Imagine the change you want and vividly see yourself being it, doing it, or having it. What you imagine you create.
3. State your commitment to yourself again, write it down if you need to, and then take inspired action.
4. Expect and allow your commitment to unfold at the right time during your day. Fulfill your commitment to yourself because you want to, not because you have to. Make it a pleasant journey, not a chore.
5. Have a plan with realistic goals. Change without a plan is just a dream.
6. If you fall off your plan, be honest about why it happened, forgive yourself, then get back on it.
7. Check in every day to examine what you are feeling instead of what you are thinking. – Watch for ‘disconnects’ between thinking (logic) and feeling. Your emotional temperature is the real indicator of what is, or isn’t, happening.
Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “Change your thoughts. Change your life.” You create the reality you want with your thoughts. Learn to think different thoughts and this will be your year!