Making Change StickDec 29, 2020
As we get ready to close out the year, we reflect on this past year, including the setbacks that we've overcome and the precious moments that we've enjoyed.
It is also the time of year when we get to look ahead to the new year and decide what we wish to change or improve. Perhaps you’ve already made a New Year’s resolution.
Most of us have the best intentions when making a New Year’s resolution, and perhaps spend the first few weeks feeling totally motivated and running at an all-time high. But, typically within a few short weeks, our old conditioned behavioral patterns re-emerge and we’re back to square one. Only now, we are left with residual disappointment, frustration, and guilt about the fact that we weren’t able to follow through on our intention. It’s a lose-lose situation, which is why about 80% of people fail to make those changes stick according to the U.S. News & World Report.
Why do so many of us struggle to change?
Those of you who attended my training and coaching programs are familiar with how your mind works, and you know that the number one reason that we fail to make change stick is that we are holding on to unconscious resistance. Therefore, our consciousness must change before our habitual behavior can change.
Einstein said, “We cannot solve a problem on the level of consciousness that created it.” This statement is absolutely true. As an example, let’s say you’d like to strengthen your network to open up more possibilities in the new year. You may say at year-end, “Next year I’ll find a way to connect with the right people and leverage my network.” While that’s a fantastic goal, it most likely won’t happen unless you change aspects of yourself first, so that you will be able to attract—and strengthen—those relationships. This is because people who repeat patterns in their career or life do so because of old programs from childhood, where we didn’t feel good enough or worthy enough. So, we’ve got to set ourselves up for success by repeatedly conditioning our nervous system for the changes that we want to create.
To help you create change that sticks for good, here are a few steps to get you started:
1. Set a Meaningful Intention: Decide on a simple word or statement that lets your brain know that you are committed to making a positive change in your life. Write it in the positive (i.e., what you want rather than what you don’t want) and make sure that it is emotionally meaningful to you. To help you do this, click here to access Episode 23 of The MINDset Game® Podcast, where I guide you through a simple yet powerful process to select your “Word of the Year.”
2. Create Leverage: Your mind is wired to make you run away from potential danger and to move you towards things that feel good. Write down at least 5 strong reasons why you want to change. Consider what will happen if you don’t change and be specific about all the pain that you may experience if you maintain your old patterns. Also, consider the positive rewards that you and others will experience when you shift those old patterns and achieve your objectives. For example, if you want to lose weight, one reward could be comfortably fitting into your favorite pants or looking amazing at an upcoming event. And it helps to continuously remind yourself why you want to make the change by placing pictures or your ‘Word of the Year’ throughout your environment, such as on your fridge, on the home screen of your phone or computer, etc.
3. Manage Your Energy: Change can be uncomfortable, so it’s important to stay coherent every day and build your resilience capacity by using proven tools like the Quick Coherence® Technique by the Institute of HeartMath. This will help you to stay focused and make decisions that are aligned with your goals, especially under stress. Click here to learn how.
4. Consistently Review Your Plan: Many people get overwhelmed by big goals because the unconscious mind does not know what to focus on first. Therefore, create a plan and visualize your action steps each morning to prime your body for those actions. Also, review your action steps each night to assess what worked and what didn’t work. And be flexible to adjust your plan and ask for help when you do not get the consistent results you expect.
5. Create an Accountability System: Although some people can hold themselves accountable for change, in my experience it is helpful to get outside help, especially for big changes. This is especially valuable over time as the initial excitement of the goal fades and the going gets tougher.
6. Track and Celebrate Your Progress: Build a simple reward system for yourself to motivate your unconscious mind to keep up the good work. For example, you may create a chart that you can see and update every day.
If you fall back into your old patterns one day, give yourself some love because you’re human, and then make the CHOICE to refocus on your intention without feeling that old disappointment or guilt. The kinder you are to yourself and the more you stay focused on your future, the more empowered you will be to overcome your present reality.
These are just a few initial steps to help you lessen the resistance to change so you can build positive momentum. The important thing is to trust that it IS possible for you to change, no matter how many times you’ve tried in the past. Now that you know the truth behind how to make a change stick, you can get even better results.
Check out Episode 23 of The MINDset Game® podcast here, where I guide you through the 'Word of the Year' exercise.
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