At this time of year many of us are thinking about or have already set New Year’s resolutions. Goal setting can be a great way to keep the mind focused about what is most important over the next year. There are many ideas and theories about goal setting, but how do we stick to our New Year’s resolutions?
Peter Mabbutt of LCCH International, talks about the Clear Goal Concept. Although just dreaming to achieve a goal isn’t enough, nevertheless to achieve a goal without a dream is almost impossible. If for example, weight loss is your goal, you need to imagine how you want to feel i.e. imagine yourself feeling fantastic, healthy and energetic, walking down the street and hearing the compliments from your friends when you arrive at the restaurant or pub. Listen to your positive inner voice that encourages and compliments you as you gain the figure you want.
If you want to be successful with your New Year’s resolution, don’t focus on will power; focus on creating the habits that will get the results that you want. Studies show that people who are successful at reaching their goals automate the behaviors that get them to their goals, so they perform them without even thinking about it. That’s what makes them so successful. It isn’t about willpower; it’s about habits and about doing the right things on autopilot.
Habits that we don’t have to make decisions about are an extremely powerful tool for creating change. So what creates a habit? Firstly, they are automatic, occurring as part of our daily routine. Secondly they are triggered by cues in our environment such as place or time. Thirdly, every habit has a reward, when we start to look forward to and hunger for the reward then the habit becomes automatic
Indeed If there’s something you want to do regularly in your life – like New Year resolutions – habits can make the wear and tear on following through so much easier. They get us out of the tiresome business of making decisions and using our self-control.
Each habit has three components: the cue, the routine itself and the reward. A huge part of understanding how to change or control your habits is identifying the cues and, very importantly, understanding the reward that routine delivers to you.
Breaking a habit is challenging. Once the neural pathways are set with cue, routine and reward, they are there to stay. So rather than thinking in terms of breaking a bad habit, it’s better (and easier) to change the habit into a healthier one. That means finding a new routine that corresponds to the old cue, one that will deliver whatever reward you are getting from it currently. For example, if you have a habit of eating chocolate in the afternoon to raise your energy levels, keep the routine, but instead of chocolate have some fruit and a handful of nuts instead.
Now it’s your turn. Think about the routines you need to create or replace so you can have a happy and successful 2018?