One good way to approach New Year resolutions is to utilize visioning. Visioning is a technique that in action can vary greatly, but in principle is the same - "what is it you want to feel and know within when you reach your future?" Trying to will ourselves into a goal or a future by simply assuming that goal will make us happier and healthier, is missing a very important aspect of success - your heart and soul - the deep emotions that govern our lives.
Without your heart and soul behind your push toward the future, you won't get there. Will power isn't enough. The explanation behind this "heart and soul" concept is really the brain. We all have a survival mechanism in the brain - I call it the lizard brain as do many others - and this part of the brain is strongly based in memory, the senses, and the emotions (particularly fear). It has to be - the lizard brain's job is to sense danger and react. Will power, saying to yourself, "I want to quit smoking" "I will lose 30 lbs." "I will exercise everyday" simply isn't strong enough to overcome the lizard brain. If you have a survival instinct, a fear response, a deep emotional connection, to smoking, to eating, to avoiding the gym, that instinct, that response, that connection will be stronger than willpower.
How do we make our willpower stronger? We create emotional and sensory connections to the goal that with time and work become more powerful than the lizard brain. Sometimes people are able to do this without a lot of time and effort. This happens when a fear response is strong enough and the lizard brain connects to the change that needs to occur - we see this when people quit smoking easily or when dietary changes are made after a health diagnosis. Many others can not make these changes and the reasons are complex - the brain is complex!
However, it is possible to retrain the brain in the direction you want to go! Visioning is a great process. Begin by identifying your goal, your future. Then, go deep into what this will feel like, look like, taste like, smell, like - get the senses as involved as possible. Show your brain how wonderful this future will be, how amazing it will feel...... You can do this with meditation - just sit and create the images and feelings in your head. You can do this with creative processes - paint, draw, cut out magazine pictures and words, make music, chant.....there are many possibilities as long as the process creates the feelings and images for your brain to know your future.
Now, you need to do this for 30 days minimum. That may seem like a lot, but if your brain has been forming deep connections to a habit you want to change, these are going to take time to over-ride. It doesn't mean you paint a new picture everyday, or create a new song everyday, but you spend time with it and in that state of mind and feeling everyday for 30 days.
Share how you will vision your future......