Now that’s it’s well past January you’ve had plenty of time to break whatever New Years resolutions you made. Are you feeling guilty about it now? So let me say in a word DON”T! Guilt isn’t worth the computer pixels its written on.
Feeling guilty, shaming yourself, and verbally beating yourself up will never get you to make a positive change. It will only make you depressed and unhappy.
Social science research tells us that new years resolutions rarely work. So how do we make positive change in our lives? To successfully make change we have to engineer a successful strategy for ourselves.
Instead of a Guilt/Shame Spiral for your New Years Resolution, Try This Instead:
No more negative self-talk!
We have to start from a positive self-image. You can’t loose weight if you call yourself a fat pig. Instead you have to convince yourself that you are a good and loving person who would benefit from loosing a little weight. Your weight does not make you a bad person. Being overweight means nothing more then “gee, I need to loose weight for my health and happiness!”
From this positive vision of yourself feel into the aspiration of the change you want to make. See yourself in a positive loving light and see yourself manifesting the change in your life. Then ask yourself “how can I make this happen?”
Change your environment to change your life!
We have to come up with a strategy that forces us to break out of our habitual patterns. If weight loss is the goal then first analyze your habitual patterns around food and see what needs to change in order change eating and exercise habits.
Is there food that needs to be removed from your house and never brought back in?
Do you need to change your route to work to avoid a certain cafe?
Perhaps the Friday cocktails need to be replaced with weekly meetup exercise groups
As so on…
Social scientists call this “outsourcing control to the environment.” It basically means you recognize that a certain habit is getting the best of you so you change the environment to give yourself a fighting chance at successful change. For example if you are trying to quit smoking and everybody at the office who smokes does so outside a certain entrance to the building, you need to park on another side of the building and enter from a non-smoking door. This disrupts the old pattern and gives you a fighting chance.
Ask for Help!
Getting trusted others to help you is a great way to change the habitual patterns. Recruit friends and family to help you. Pick people who have your best interests at heart. If there are people in your life who sabotage your efforts at positive change then seriously consider removing them from any influential ability over you. We all work best when we work together.
Meet yourself each day with continuing compassion and self-love. Know in advance that you will fail on occasion. As they say in Alcoholics Anonymous “relapse is part of the cure.” Falling back into an old habit for a day is not a problem if it is only for a day. Just get back on it.
So much of the time when we have a moment of failure we just turn it into proof that we are a failure and we can’t do it. This usually comes from a place of self-loathing. Go back to step 1, re-find that positive self-image and then start again. As they say in Alcoholics Anonymous “If you fall off the wagon, just fall back on again.” Do it as soon as you realize what’s happened. Don’t wait.
Remember, Change is Physical
And that takes time. When you are feeling like you’ve failed, remind yourself that change requires you to re-wire your brain. It’s going to take time and repetition. A new habit is the created when you do something new long enough for a new neural pathway to develop in your brain, while at the same time stopping the old habit long enough for that very well developed old neural pathway to weaken. All of our habits are something we’ve done long enough for the brain to automate it and put it into unconscious memory. That’s what you have to accomplish to make change.
Be Patient, Be Kind, Be Loving and be Persistent. You can do this!
Do you have a story about change or failure you want to share? Feel free to post it below.
If you are feeling stuck or depressed about things I can help. Feel free to contact me on the Contact Larry page and I’ll talk to you about it.
Are you ready to start making positive change today?
If so, here’s what to do next:
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