So, did you make any resolutions this year? And if so, how many of them are still on track now that we are in mid-January? Statistically, most New Year’s resolutions do not last even three weeks. This fact might lead you to believe that setting positive goals for the year is a futile exercise. However, the reason that resolutions fizzle out as quickly as New Year’s champagne is that you may not understand the dynamics of the subconscious mind.
Whether you want to break a persistent negative habit, such as smoking, or create a positive one such as getting on a regular exercise program, the secret of success lies in making the new behavior second nature to you. Most of us attempt change by forcing our will power to cooperate with our goals. This usually results in a having great enthusiasm for a few hours or a few days, but then quickly running out of steam. Will power is a faculty of consciousness — the part of your mind that comprises roughly 10% of your total mind power. In order to bring about any permanent change, you must first convince the subconscious mind, which is seven to eight times stronger than your will power! Consequently, the new behavior becomes virtually effortless.
Let’s consider the most common ways that we plan or declare our New Year’s resolutions: I ought to quit smoking; I am going to try to lose some weight this year; I would like to get into a regular exercise routine. In these familiar examples, your best intentions would be almost immediately canceled out, simply because this language is vague to the subconscious mind and cannot be translated into action.
Here are some tips for rethinking your New Year’s resolutions and giving them a fighting chance this year:
- Always state your New Year’s resolution in the positive, avoiding words such as try, don’t, maybe, can’t, failure, etc. Don’t describe what behavior you want to move away from (example: I want to quite smoking); state it as behavior you are moving towards (example: I am creating healthy lungs, a clear mind and high vitality).
- Use the present tense. The subconscious mind responds best to suggestions that are stated in the now. For instance, I will make exercise a part of my life is totally ineffective as a way of activating the subconscious. Exercise is a part of my daily routine; I am taking advantage of every opportunity to exercise. This is a proactive way of engaging your mind’s potential.
- Repeat your resolution to yourself mentally or out loud, several times a day for a 21-day period. If you can do this for a full 21 days without a break you will greatly enhance your chances for creating permanent change.
- At least once a day, spend a few moments (30-90 seconds) seeing, imagining, hearing, or feeling the positive outcome. For example, if your resolution is to maintain your ideal weight, hold that image in your mind as you take a few deep and gentle breaths.