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New Year's Resolution Success

The first thing to keep in mind is that a New Years resolution is a behaviour change - you are wanting to do something different. ALL our behaviours are determined by the thinking that goes on in our brains. But as I emphasize the majority of our thinking is done by the automatic, unconscious part of our brain.

This is the most important aspect to realize about behaviour change. You see our brains are very good at matching the situation in front of us to our past experiences - our brains do this without us even consciously thinking about it. This is a strength - it is a large part of our expertise - and it's why we value experience.

This is also why we keep seeing things and doing things the same way over and over again, even when we recognize there is a better way to do it. So a key is recognizing that the challenge to changing our behaviour is the automatic processing of situations that we do.

Keeping this in mind, here are four important aspects to successful behaviour change. (Note that these are not "4 easy steps"...)

1. Be really clear on why you are doing it - what's in it for you?

a. Why are you doing it? Not just "I should" or "have to" or "good for me" or "spouse says I should." It needs to be personal. It might be a better relationship with spouse...

b. Be specific and exhaustive about this - list all the benefits of doing it, and of avoiding it, and WRITE IT DOWN.

2. Make yourself aware at the time... because the past habit is carried out by your unconscious, you often do it "without thinking".

3. Develop a strategy to Give yourself TIME to decide consciously. Your unconscious brain works faster than your conscious brain. That's why sometimes something comes out of our mouths that we realize as we are saying it that we shouldn't.

4. Find an alternative not opposite behaviour.

a. Like the martial arts approach - deflect, not stop

Remember it will be tough; expect setbacks, you are trying to change your unconscious programming. These days lots of talk about right/wrong, succeed/fail, what I call EXTREME THINKING. Realistically, probably will have setbacks... think of it not as failing, just not succeeding YET..

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