10 Ways to Keep Your New Years Resolutions
What are your goals for next year? Here’s how you can achieve -- and maintain -- your resolutions for the New Year.
BY: Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo
Our brains have a picture of who we are, which helps guide our feelings and behaviors.
To help illustrate, consider something called phantom limb pain. Phantom limb pain refers to the continued sensation of a physical affliction in a limb after it has been removed. So, someone with a neuropathy in his or her leg, for example, who has had their leg amputated, would still feel the pain. Not only that, but they might try to get up and walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night without their crutches, thinking their limb is still there.
What causes phantom limb pain? Scientists think it has to do with our brains, which continue to have this painful limb represented as an attachment to the body.
How does this apply to us? It appears that our brains also have a images of other aspects of us, too, such as our size. So, if your brain “sees” you as overweight, then even if you lose pounds, you will eventually gain it back.
The good news is that we can change our brain using visualization. Close your eyes and picture yourself having achieved you goal: being smoke-free, losing weight, interacting with your loved ones in a stress-free and calm manner… Don’t worry about how you did it right now. Just imagine that you have.
Now focus on this experience. How do you feel? What kinds of things are you saying to yourself? What are others saying to you? What do you see- people smiling and clapping for you? Use all your senses to really experience what it will be like to achieve and sustain your goals.
Our brain does not decipher from real life or imagined. As a result, visualization will help train your brain to see, and then achieve.
Get help from friends.
Rome was not built in a day — nor was it constructed by one person. Reach out to get the support you need.
Tell the people in your life what your goal is and how they can help you. For example, if you are trying to lose weight, ask friends not to bring you any sweets over to your home. Enlist some friends to go walking with you. Find an accountability partner to whom you report your progress.
You may also want to seek assistance outside of your current network. Support groups, online social networks and even professional help may be instrumental in assisting you with your goal. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. If you are having trouble, go back to #1 to review why this is so important.
Change your environment.
When in Rome… (Just keeping with this Italian theme).
If you are trying to lose weight, then it is probably best not to hang out in the donut shop. If you goal is to limit your alcohol intake, then being with your drinking buddies may not be helpful.
This is not to say you can never go to Dunkin’ Donuts or be with your old pals. It just means right now, as you are making this change, you may want to keep your distance.