Forget the “New” You; Discover the Best You This New YearAlex Theoret
“Resolution” has got to be one of the most loaded words in the English language. It represents both hope AND falling short of expectations. Most resolutions cluster around improved health (38%) and self-improvement (47%). Yet, strangely the pledge we make at the beginning of the year to improve our happiness actually ends up making us more miserable. As it is, only 8% of resolutions are actually realized.
But it’s not willpower or personal failings that determine resolution success or failure. The real issue is strategy – as in, most people don’t have one. The literal meaning of “resolution” is to break large issues down into smaller parts. And that’s exactly what your strategy should be if you want to succeed in your goals for 2015.
1. GET REAL
Make your goals realistic to begin with. If your idea is to lose 100 lbs. and become a winning contestant on American Idol after you’ve eloped with George Clooney – stop. Contain the scope of your goal and give yourself sufficient time to achieve it. Losing weight, for example, is challenging. Whatever your magic number for lost pounds, scale it back by 50%, then give yourself twice as much time to achieve it. Reaching your goal – even if it is less ambitious and takes longer – is better for your well-being in the long run.
2. GET SOME SLEEP
And speaking of weight, restorative sleep is one factor that helps people maintain a healthy weight. So much of humanity is sleep deprived these days that we forget how crucial getting shut eye is to our health. Insomnia takes many forms. It’s not just about not being able to fall asleep. In fact, staying asleep is major challenge for the majority of people suffering with insomnia. When we don’t get truly restorative sleep (7-9 solid hours per night) we feel groggy and emotionally tender – not ideal conditions to tackle challenging goals.
3. TALK THERAPY
Just a few weeks in and struggling to maintain progress towards your new goal(s)? Guess what? So is everyone else. Remember that 8% resolution success rate? That means 92% of the people out there are having a difficult time too. One of the best ways to not let your goals slip completely from your grasp is to discuss it with someone your trust. They are most likely struggling with their own resolutions. Trust is the key factor because if you can be truly honest about your struggle, then you can then break the bigger problem down into smaller pieces (resolution) and figure out how to adjust your strategy.
4. SLIPS ARE OK
If you have a setback – and inevitably you will – don’t get discouraged and don’t give up. Unfortunately, slips along the path towards a new goal can reaffirm negative messages about ourselves. It’s that shaming voice in the back of our brain that says, “See? You don’t have the willpower to do this” or “You were never going to get that anyway.”. Setbacks can be the start of that slippery slope to failure. But they can also be an important cue to reassess how we are pursuing our goals. Looking down into the abyss of failure should be cause for reflection and raise critical questions. Is your goal unrealistic? Who can you reach out to for support? The important thing is to get back on track and not be deterred after falling off the wagon.
5. GET NEUROFEEDBACK
Neurofeedback brain training is an amazing tool for achieving new goals. Taking on a new resolution without some kind of plan only increases the probability of failure. Training with neurofeedback can help your brain break down complex challenges into smaller, more manageable “bites” (there’s that “resolution” word again). Neurofeedback can also help increase restorative sleep – an important factor in achieving new goals. Make the pledge to do neurofeedback sessions consistently. Most likely, you will not only start to feel better, you’ll find your goals don’t seem so distant and difficult to achieve. Because now you have a plan of attack. Big goals; small pieces. Things only get easier from there.