Just One Thing You Need To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

Just One Thing You Need To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

As the New Year approaches, it is a great time to start thinking about what we can do to improve. But if we don’t have a good track record with New Year’s resolutions, we might find the idea daunting. We might even be wondering if it’s worth doing. Indeed a 1study that tracked people who made New Year’s resolutions found that only 46% kept their New Year’s resolutions past the six-month mark.

How To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

But all hope is not lost! If 46% of the subjects were able to keep their New Year’s Resolutions, then what was different about them that made that possible?

They believed in their power to change, they had the skills to change, and they were ready to change.

In other words they had the optimal mindset and skills to change.

While you can acquire the 1skills to change, you need to start with the optimal mindset. It is equivalent to having an engine that powers your car. It’s the driving force. And the optimal mindset begins with the belief that you can change.

The belief that you can change comes from having a growth mindset.

So what is this growth mindset?

Fixed vs. Growth Mindset

Having a growth mindset is key to keeping your New Year's ResolutionsCarol Dweck is a motivation researcher who says that people either have a  fixed intelligence or a growth mindset.  People with a fixed intelligence mindset believe that their character, intelligence and creative abilities can’t change.   They believe that you either have it (intelligence/talent or personality) or you don’t.   People with a growth mindset believe that challenges are an opportunity for growth. They believe that effort made to improve oneself will pay off, as long as they stay determined to reach their goal.

The Power of Believing You Can Improve

Believing that you can improve is so powerful, that when she taught this belief to disadvantaged school children who usually struggle academically, their performance changed dramatically. Students who didn’t take school seriously became determined, disciplined, focused, and developed a passion for learning!  Teaching the growth mindset was so powerful, that it eliminated significant differences in groups that typically underperform in schools in just one year!

When I work with clients, one of the most important factors that determines their success, is believing they can improve.   If they don’t believe in themselves, they don’t invest in themselves or commit to any strategy for success.   If you want to keep your New Year’s Resolutions, you absolutely MUST believe that you can!  

Why You CAN Change

Our brains are always changingIn neuroscience, the idea of neuroplasticity has shown that the connections in our brains are strengthened with experience.  At some point you learned to walk and talk. You didn’t come out of the womb with those talents. You also know that you are older and wiser than when you were when you were just a few years ago!  Know that everythingwe do, whether its learn a new skill or watch a new TV episode affects the wiring of our brain!   The more we stretch ourselves to try new things, the more intricate our wiring, the more cognitively flexible we can be, and the better we can adapt to change.

In other words:

We are always changing.  It is up to us to determine how!

When I Struggle with Having a Growth Mindset

I am a huge advocate of the growth mindset, but my growth mindset hasn’t always stayed strong.  Recently I’ve had a knee that hasn’t healed, and complications from gastritis and arthritis.   I’m starting to feel old with the aches and pains and the physical limitations that I’ve been feeling.   The stereotypes associated with aging are in direct conflict with the growth mindset.   So how do I keep my growth mindset strong despite the fact I feel old?

Find role models

When I think of aging, I am determined to do it like Joanna Quass, the 91 yr gymnast or Paddy Jones, the 94 yr old salsa dancer.  While I don’t intend to compete at their level, I do plan to stay as active as I can through my entire life.  I am determined to not let anything get in the way of that!

I try to keep these models of successful aging top of mind, so that I stay focused on what is possible with the right mindset.

What holds you back from believing you can change?    Can you find role models that have been in your shoes?

The Influence of Your Network

A study from Harvard drew maps of people’s connections to examine how we are shaped by the people we spend time with.   This was a longitudinal study, and for every person, if they had a friend that become obese, their chances of becoming obese went up by 57%!   The risk hovered around 40% if the person had a sibling or spouse that became obese.   There were even effects of more remote connections.  Their chance of becoming obese even went up if their friends of friends of friends became obese!   This was the first study to show the public health risks of social networks.

What does mean for you?   We are profoundly influenced by the people we surround ourselves with.

Another way to look at this is from the concept of post-hypnotic suggestions.   This is the idea that we are influenced not from logic and persuasion, but by subconscious observations of how specific actions are received by our environment.

For example, back in the 1960’s and 1970’s social activism was seen widely as a means to regain our power as citizens.  Somehow things started to shift in the 80’s and 90’s, so that activists were seen as loan rebels.  Now more and more people are realizing that we need to fight for what we believe in.  Those beliefs don’t happen in vacuum. They happen because of how our environment, and the people we surround ourselves with are changing.

our friends influence our behaviorWhen it comes to engaging in healthy behaviors, it is a lot harder to be the only person eating your own banana split, if your 6 friends have decided that they want to get one serving and share it 6 ways.   If your friends want to go hiking, you are more likely to want to join them.  If they spend more time at the bar, then you are more likely to spend time there.   Our strong need to be socially acceptable influences our behavior more than we realize.

The Influence of the Media

We also need to realize that the media we consume, whether it’s TV, youtube, social media, the radio, podcasts or movies all influence us as well.   How people in the media treat each other influences how we behave towards each other.  Billions are spent on advertising because it influences how we feel towards specific products, and thus our product choices, and our assessments of what we need. Similarly, seeing strong female or African American role models of leadership subconsciously influences our beliefs about whether they can be effective leaders.

Making conscious choices about the post-hypnotic messages we get, whether it is from our social circles or the media we consume or the place we choose live, has profound effects on our beliefs and the choices we make about our health.   In other words, it can profoundly influence our ability to have a growth mindset.

Celebrate your Successes!

Stay determined and make it happen!When I work with clients, I always check in with what we have worked on in the last session. I find while some clients will tell me about how things have changed, others will try to quickly bypass the question by launching into the next problem.   With these latter clients, after listening to the next problem they want to resolve, I circle back to what we worked on and ask them to reflect on any changes they might have seen.  It seems to take more effort for some clients to sit with and appreciate the progress they’ve shown.    I find myself regularly reminding them to be sure to celebrate their successes.  If we’ve been disappointed a lot in our past, we may come to the conclusion that nothing ever works.  Unfortunately this belief gets in the way of our ability to succeed and to achieve what we want in life.

On the flipside, if we can appreciate and celebrate our successes, we’ll have more drive and grit to keep moving forward despite the challenges that we may encounter.

To Keep Our New Year’s Resolutions:

We must refuse to accept limiting beliefs!

Keep Mindset Top of Mind!

Do you believe that you can reach your goals?   If your answer is no, then list your excuses and then work to challenge your negative assumptions.

Remember:

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, your right.”

                                                                 –Henry Ford

If you’d like help changing your beliefs, and want habit change to be easy without exhausting your limited willpower, learn more about how I can help you here.  Often many of our barriers to change are subconscious, and based on our ancestor’s experiences.  So if you find that you still aren’t convinced that keep your New Year’s Resolutions, know that we may need to release inherited beliefs.   To learn more about how that is possible, contact me here to schedule your complimentary consultation.

 

Related articles:

7 Tips to Make Your New Years Resolutions Stick

The Power of Believing You Can Improve

5 New Year’s Resolutions For Your Mind & Brain

5 New Year’s Resolutions to Consider for Personal Growth

 

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