Already broken your New Year’s resolutions? The good news: it’s not your fault. The bad news: change ain’t easy. Here is why we should dream BIG but start SMALL…
As humans, we are engineered to dream of being better versions of ourselves, and a new year heralds just that: a chance for a fresh start; an opportunity for change. Hope. Each year we are faced with a seemingly clean slate and eagerness to rewrite the script. We dream BIG. But all the good intentions are often driven by the pressure of making (and keeping!) the New Year resolutions, which most of us are set to fail from the get-go, dismally. Why? Because pledging to eat more salad and get a gym card is not enough to reinvent ourselves on the 1st of January. Overhauling your life is a long psychological (and biological!) process rooted in deep commitment – not sparked into existance by a giddy mind over a cling of champagne flutes. The good news: it’s not your fault. The bad news: it’s not that easy to change. Here is why…
Humans are strongly habitual creatures who have learned what works for our survival, and we’re sticking to it. These habitual pathways are created in our brains to ensure our safety, with a built-in feel-good dopamine hormone release reward system. It’s why we feel good after a workout (we know it’s good for us!) and after we devour some chocolate (it feels good to us!). Breaking a habit, therefore, requires some serious brain re-wiring (neuroplasticity) and studies repeatedly show it takes at least 21 days to change a behaviour.
But it’s more than doable and certainly worth the effort. If you don’t have the will or patience to actively and consciously unlearn a habit in 21 days, there are two other strategies proven to work wonders: mindful meditation (which literally changes the density of your grey matter linked to learning, memory and self-awareness) and hypnotherapy (therapeutic technique tapping into the subconscious mind). And whichever route to change you decide to take, make sure to boost your brain along the way with regular physical activities and healthy clean diet (abundant in omega 3 and antioxidants).
So dream BIG but start SMALL. Pick attainable goals and build a habit of building new habits. And if there’s one resolution worth making every day, it’s to love, accept and respect yourself – regardless of your perceived flaws. You CAN quit smoking, you CAN lose weight, you CAN learn to play a new instrument. And you CAN start TODAY, and any day!
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017!