Here we are at the second week of 2015. Statistically speaking, the time is nearing when many people will break their New Year’s resolutions. But don’t let that happen to you this year! This is the year for victory, the year you stick with it.
You’ve already gone two weeks with willpower, focus, and maybe with a little modification you can keep going. Yes, it is acceptable to make changes to your new year’s resolution. It is better to make the modifications necessary to increase your likelihood for success than to totally fail and be disappointed later.
Let’s pretend it is your first day at the gym; you wouldn’t grab a 150 pound weight and lift away, would you? Instead, you would lift weights in increments, gradually working your way to lifting 150 pounds. Most people set a goal which is far too big for the brain to handle. If your New Year’s resolution demands a huge change in your behavior, then you’re guilty of the former.
If this is the case, take a moment to adjust the goal—scale it back to something smaller and more specific. Your brain works better with specific resolutions verses abstract ones. An example of a typical abstract resolution is to lose weight and be healthy. Yet, you are far likely to succeed with this goal if you make a commitment to enjoy a yoga class at least 3 times a week, for instance, instead of “be healthy.” Notice how I didn’t say set a goal to attend a yoga class daily. Remember, a baby step back is also a large leap forward. If you find that achieving your goal is not challenging enough, you can always set your sights higher.
Let’s look at how your brain works. The pre-frontal cortex part of your brain is responsible for willpower; you need willpower to achieve any goal that requires discipline and focus. If you have not been using this part of your brain, it may need a little bit of training. More importantly, up until now, your brain has been wired to do things in a certain way; these habits did not happen overnight. To create a new habit, it takes training and willpower, so be gentle on yourself if you can’t fulfill the goal immediately.
I recommend creating a tracking sheet that only lists 40 days for achieving your goal. Taking baby steps, like this, with only 40 days listed, allows the mind to only focus on the short-term objective. I lay my tracking sheet on my pillow. This way, at the end of the day when I see my tracking sheet, and if I haven’t done what I said I was going to do, I still have time to complete it before going to bed. After 40 days, I recommend that you reward yourself for taking one step closer to your resolution.
On my tracking sheet, I write one word to describe my experience for the day. By observing my days unfold in exciting new ways, this helps me fulfill my goal of being mindful every day. You can find a copy of my tracking sheet on my website, www.gurumitar.com under the “Inspirations” tab.
Remember, when you start your next 40 day tracker, feel free to make any changes necessary to keep it going. Keep me posted on your 40 days to victory.