Twelve months give you 12 reasons to complete your New Year’s checklist. The only reason resolutions are significant is because the pursuit of excellence is instinctive in everyone.
The premise is that nobody is perfect. Some may use it to justify character flaws they don’t intend to correct. But others, who strive for perfection, will use this as a jumping board to confront the issues and take corrective action.
To make a new version of yourself includes the promise of a better you. It also requires one pivotal element: a positive mind.
Some life coaches believe that, in order to succeed, you must try to focus on one goal alone. It actually depends on one’s capacity to achieve.
If you like a good challenge, then go for it. Just do what you think can accomplish—not more.
Human beings do not lack discipline. There is a battle going on in the brain—a tug of war between the frontal part, which is rational, and the primitive part, which is deemed vulnerable to pleasurable instincts.
Circuitry of the brain
Harvard Medical School psychiatrist Joseph Strand explains that the circuitry of the brain has evolved to include desires like sex and eating. And yet, in today’s world, other pleasures have been included, which could vary—from eating chocolate or a pampering day at the spa, to buying an expensive pair of shoes or earrings.
The question is, how does the rational in you control the pleasure-seeker within?
Drawing up your resolutions won’t work if you do not have the willpower to fulfill them. It’s like flexing the muscle of your brain—the more it’s used, the more powerful it gets.
1) Flex the brain muscles by challenging your self-control. Whether it’s to stop smoking or to lose 10 lbs, the same principle applies. You’ve got to master the will to do it every day.
2) Many goals, one at a time. You may have 12 things in mind, but take one and focus on it. Take your weight loss plan. It is not about eating less, but a lifestyle change. This means altering your grocery list to include healthy and organic food, and less processed and refined stuff. Thus, one main strategy requires may sub-strategies. Consider exercise a main component, too.
3) Small successes. While it is true that self-control is finite, you can instead do small acts of willpower. Instead of telling yourself you will exercise every day for one year, take baby steps.
Promise yourself that for the next two to three weeks, you will do brisk walking daily for 20 minutes. Once it becomes a habit, you will naturally find your rhythm until it becomes a habit for life.
4) Stay happy. A cheerful mood keeps you on track. With lifted spirits, you will go the distance. When you have a good disposition, nothing will faze you—not even a decadent chocolate cake. Your resolve will not falter if your mind is upbeat.
5) Nourish your brain. Eat brain food, or any good glucose for energy. It’s because artificially sweetened food or drinks will not energize the brain. So, eat and drink healthy in order to stay alert.
6) Control the rebel in you. This is the same one that will break you down. Time to outsmart the rebel, which weakens your resolve. The best way is not to be too strict on yourself. For example: “I will never eat sweets,” as opposed to “I will eat sweets only on Sundays.” Isn’t the first one more doable?
‘Proud of myself’ list
7) Think of your triumphs. Whenever you are feeling down, do not be discouraged. Think about all your achievements, not your failures. Just to get out of bed each day is already something to be proud of. Make a “Proud of Myself” list; include 100 things you have done that you are proud about—whether it’s passing your driving test, reducing your alcohol intake or brushing your teeth for two minutes daily.
8) Personal power. It’s about control. When you are “handling a situation well,” it means you have full control. People who have a natural instinct to control matters externally, more often than not, can manage themselves better.
9) Visual sense. If you have a visual image of a goal, then it will be met more easily. Choose a photo of yourself looking your best (perhaps one taken 20 years ago) and place it in front of your fridge. This should be incentive enough.
10) Avoid temptation. If you feel that your defenses are crumbling, run away from the temptation. Be as far away as possible from anyone or anything that will derail you from your intended destination.
11) Be hopeful. Just when you feel like giving up, reach into your soul for much-needed hope—reboot!
12) Never give up on yourself. You might wish to give up on sugar, food cravings, alcohol, drugs, toxic relationships—but never give up on yourself.