Resolution time. Every year it comes around - I will be better, slimmer, stronger, fitter, nicer, richer ... ! The resolutions are always a good idea, and we always start off with the best intentions but never seem to make the change permanent.
How come? Very bluntly, we do things because we get a payoff – I go to work, I get paid (I feel valued); I build a house, I get shelter (I feel warm and safe); I do a good deed, I get praise (I feel good), and so on. Each time we are satisfying a feeling and the feelings drive our behaviour. When I eat chocolate I get several instant payoffs - I feel sweetness inside me (sugar hit), I feel special (good people are rewarded with sweets in our culture), I feel valued (I can have that expensive treat). You will probably have noticed that people eat more chocolate (and other comfort foods) when things aren’t going well for them.
It’s really hard to swap an instant payoff for some obscure goal that may or may not be achieved in the future (for instance ‘I am going be 10kg lighter in 4 months’).
So, in order to make your resolution(s) stick, first (this is the hard bit because you have to be totally honest) when you find yourself heading for the chocolate counter (or the fridge, or the drinks cabinet) bring to mind that you are doing it for a payoff. Identify what you are really getting out of it, you need to look beyond ‘It tastes good’ or ‘I’m thirsty’, (we all know that water is far more thirst quenching than any other drink).
When you have identified these feelings, then craft your resolution so that the feelings are taken care of with the new behaviour. The modified resolution might then read: 'When I feel the need for sweetness I eat some luscious strawberries' or 'When I need to feel love I think of my beautiful grandchildren'.
You will notice that the new resolution acknowledges the need and is written in the present tense with no negatives (not, won't, lose). Also, try saying the resolution out loud to yourself every morning.
If you take time crafting your resolutions in this way you may find you have better success.
Happy New Year from Ross
Ross is a practitioner of Postural Integration – a method of bringing the body and mind back into balance by addressing feelings that drive behaviour.
by Ross Housham