New Year! New You!
It’s the beginning of the year and we have made our new year’s resolutions. We are excited and motivated to make positive changes in our lives. It might be hard to believe now, but in a few weeks, you might not be feeling so excited about your resolution goals. Our initial enthusiasm starts to disappear and it is difficult to stay motivated. What was new and exciting is now a boring grind and a hassle. How can we keep that enthusiasm and motivation for weeks, months, and even years? By using mindfulness techniques to harness the power of our minds to reach our resolution goals. You might be wondering what mindfulness is and what it has to do with resolutions. Our minds are very powerful. Everything that exists and has been accomplished was once an idea that came from someone’s mind. We can use this power to help us reach our resolution goals and maintain them over time.
Harness the power of your mind by using mindfulness practices.
Mindfulness is calming the mind by focusing on the present moment. During mindfulness practice, you are using the power of your mind to set your resolution goals into motion and make them a reality. Successful athletes, performers, and business people, such as Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, and Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings all attribute mindfulness techniques to their success. If it worked for them, it will certainly work for you! Some mindfulness techniques, listed below with brief explanations, include:
- Visualization-The process of imagining yourself reaching your desired goal.
- Meditation-Involves being in stillness and silence, without distraction. While meditating, some people focus on a question they would like answered. Others focus on a sound, an image, or repeat a mantra or affirmation. Still others might use focused attention to still the mind. For example, a person might use their five senses to notice all the details of an apple, such as how the apple looks, feels, smells, sounds, and tastes while eating it.
- Journaling-Writing down affirmations and statements of gratitude. With mindful journaling, you are write down positive affirmations related to your goals, and give thanks for what you already have and your accomplishments.
- Guided Imagery-Focuses the mind and imagination on a desired goal, feeling, or state of mind.
- Hypnotherapy-Uses relaxation techniques to access the subconscious mind to focus on specific thoughts and tasks. It can be described as using your subconscious mind to reach conscious goals.
Use mindfulness techniques to train your mind to focus on opportunities for success in reaching your resolution goal.
Here are a few tips on how to use these mindfulness techniques in your daily life:
- Practice mindfulness every day. There is a myth that it takes a lot of time to be mindful. If you have the time, great. If you don’t, don’t scrap mindfulness practices altogether. Quickly imagine yourself reaching your goal. See yourself fitting into a new outfit. Imagine how good you will feel achieving your goal and/or once your goal has been achieved. It only takes a minute. I do, however, recommend finding some time during the week in which you can take your time with your mindfulness practice. This way you can focus on your goals and get maximum impact from your mindfulness practice.
- Get calm and relaxed for your mindfulness practice. Take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to relax. Even if you are in the middle of a busy day, taking a moment to take a few deep breaths and visualize your success can work wonders.
- Find a place that is comfortable, quiet, and free from distractions. Even taking as little as 5 minutes of quiet time can be helpful.
- Schedule mindfulness into your life. Just as you would make time for any other meeting or appointment, you can make time to be mindful. Mindfulness, regardless of your practice, is important not only with achieving goals. These practices also improve your overall sense of wellbeing and calm in your life.
Want to learn more about using the power of your mind to keep your resolution?
Come to my Mindful H.A.B.I.T.S. Realistic Resolutions workshop on January 14th, 2017. In this workshop, you will learn break through techniques to finally make a change and keep your resolution or intention. Click here to register and learn more. You can also schedule a session by clicking here.
To Resolve or Not to Resolve? That is the Question. Use these Resolution Resources to Help you Decide.
With the new year quickly approaching, many of us are starting to think about how we would like to improve our lives in the coming year. Some people make resolutions, others set intentions for the upcoming year. Then there are those who have resolved to never make another resolution again. We stress ourselves out trying to decide what we want to change, how we want to change, or even if we want to change. We remember our past failures and wonder if it is worth it. So we ditch the whole idea about making a resolution, intention, or anything even close. Regardless of what has happened in previous years, you can avoid the pitfalls of the past. How?
Make sure you have the resolution resources and support you need to set you up for success.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What resources do you already have to help you achieve your goal? Make a list of the things, people, contacts, personal qualities, skills, information, and finances you already have to support your success. You might be surprised at how much awesomeness you already possess! Be sure to incorporate these resources and strengths to your plan.
- What resources do you need to help you achieve your goal? Next, make a list of the things, people, contacts, personal qualities, skills, information, and finances you need to reach and maintain your goal. Create a plan for how you will get what you need to be successful. You might find that you will need to break your resolution down into smaller goals and timeframes. Struggling to find people to support you in your goals? Consider online support, such as Facebook and/or Meetup groups related to your goal. There is support out there, both virtually and in person. A qualified life coach can also provide you with objective support and keep you on track with your goals. Regardless of what type of support you select, make sure the people you choose are inspiring and partner with you to positively problem solve and encourage you when you are struggling.
- What are some possible barriers and obstacles to your success? Once you have identified these possible issues, find ways you can overcome them. Be creative! Avoid getting caught up in the “yeah…but” cycle. “Yeah, I could eat healthy, but there is a pot luck at work tomorrow.” “Yeah, I could exercise more, but I don’t have time.” Let’s face it, if something is really important to you, you will find a way to make it work. Don’t let these “yeah…but’s” keep you from living the life you have always wanted and reaching your goals. Find a way around, over, or through the obstacles and barriers you know about, as well as the ones that will arise over time. You can do it!
By asking yourself these three questions, you can make sure you have everything you need to create a lasting resolution or intention for the new year, or any time you want to make positive changes in your life.
Want to learn more about resolution resources? Come to my Mindful H.A.B.I.T.S. Realistic Resolutions workshop on January 14th, 2017. In this workshop, you will learn break through techniques to finally make a change and keep your resolution or intention. Click here to register and learn more. You can also book a session by clicking here.
Joy Carter, MSW, CHt. LC
Life Coach & Certified Hypnotherapist
The holidays are in full swing! While we are making our holiday lists and checking them twice, we may also be making a list of what we want to change about ourselves for the new year. Maybe we want to lose weight, get organized, or get on a budget. You have tried before, though were not successful, which makes you wonder if you should try again this year. Why not avoid the embarrassment and disappointment of not reaching your goals once again? You are not alone. According to Statistic Brain, more than half of the people who make resolutions do not keep them past six months. Why? Because of a failure to set realistic resolution goals that prepare them for success.
Don’t be a statistic! Follow these easy Do’s and Don’ts for worry-free resolution goal setting!
A resolution is really a goal with a fancy name. So, techniques used for setting lasting goals apply to resolutions, too. Check out these Do’s and Don’ts for setting habit change resolution goals that will stand the test of time.
- make goals that are outcome focused. Have a good and enthusiastic “why” for your habit change. For example, if you want to lose weight, look beyond just being able to fit in your cute new outfit. How do you feel when you eat healthy foods and exercise? Do you have more energy? Do you feel more calm and able to deal with daily stresses? While looking good in your clothes is a great reason, you might find your enthusiasm fading over time if you don’t dig deeper into how great you feel about reaching your goal.
- choose goals that are in line with your values. For example, if you value spending time with your family, but you pick a goal that interferes with your family time, you will feel like something is missing and find it difficult to maintain your goal over time.
- create goals that are specific, measurable, realistic, and time-bound. Many people make resolutions to lose weight. That’s a great goal, though it is way too broad. You need to get specific about what exactly you are going to do to lose weight. A better goal would be to “eat 3-5 servings (specific and measurable) of fruits and vegetable every day.” The statement, “Three to five servings of fruits and vegetables” is both specific and measurable. This goal is time bound because you will measure your progress each day. You could also make the timing of your goal larger if that is appropriate, such as “going to the gym for one hour at least three days per week.” These goals are also realistic for most people, though the exercise goal might require a medical check-up before engaging in physical activity.
- give up if you get off track. It’s easy to get discouraged and scrap the whole resolution when things get difficult. Instead of ditching the whole thing and resolving not to resolve again, look at what wasn’t working and why. Perhaps your goal to wake up at 4:30am every morning to lift weights wasn’t as doable as you thought when you were making the resolution. Maybe you need to go to the gym at a different time and start with less days per week so you can be successful. You can always work up to going every day when you are ready.
- blame yourself if you are not successful. Usually, resolutions fail because the plan is not specific or realistic enough for your unique situation and lifestyle. This is your plan, so customize it as needed to achieve success. Change takes practice. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself a pep-talk (or find a supportive person to give you a pep-talk), and get back on track. Each moment is an opportunity to start new and make different choices.
- ignore possible barriers and obstacles to your success. Identify possible triggers and challenges to your success and find ways to overcome them. If there is going to be a potluck at your office where you know there will be a lot of tempting treats, bring a healthy dish you can enjoy so you won’t be as tempted. Also, don’t go to the potluck starving, as you will be more likely to eat unhealthy foods if you are ravenously hungry.
These easy to follow do’s and don’ts will have you on your way to making resolutions that will last for years to come! Want to learn more about making resolutions that last? Click here for more information about my Mindful H.A.B.I.T.S. Realistic Resolutions workshop on January 14th, 2017. In this workshop, you will learn break through techniques to finally make a change and keep your resolution. You can also click here to book a session.
Joy Carter, MSW, CHt. LC
Life Coach & Certified Hypnotherapist
It is that time of year. After all the partying and celebrations, we take an inventory of our lives and think about making resolutions. During this reflection, you realize you have an unhealthy habit in your life that you want to change. Perhaps you want to lose some weight, save more money, or get organized. You know this change would make your life better, though you feel overwhelmed and not sure where to start. Maybe you have even tried to change before, though found yourself failing miserably, getting overwhelmed, and finally giving up.
Fear not, my friend! There is a remedy for your resolution woes! For your resolution habit change plan to work, we must first identify the reasons why you have held on to your old habit.
Here are some common reasons why we hold on to old habits:
- Our old ways are comfortable and familiar-Change can be challenging even when it is a good change. It is important to make sure you have the proper resources and support, such a support groups and accountability partners who will help you on your journey. In some cases, it is necessary to work with a coach familiar in habit and life change to support you in your goals.
- It is scary to do new things The unfamiliar can be uncomfortable even if it is something you know will be beneficial in the long run. You must decide that your desire to have a better life is bigger than your fear of the change.
- Fear of failure When making a habit change, or learning anything new for that matter, there is going to be a learning curve. In this learning curve, it is NORMAL and EXPECTED that we are going to make mistakes along the way. The key is to start over again DESPITE the setback. Don’t beat yourself up, take time to assess the situation, make corrections, and get back on track as soon as possible.
- Fear of success This might sound strange, though it is a real fear for many people making changes in their lives. This usually relates to your feelings of self-worth and if you think you are deserving and worthy of a better life. If you find yourself struggling in this area, contact a qualified coach for support.
- Reasons unique to you and your situation This list is not meant to be all inclusive. Take some time to identify other reasons you might have developed this habit. This might require some honest self-reflection about the needs you are getting met by your current behavior.
By addressing these issues, you can finally free yourself of ties to your old habits, keep your resolution, and enjoy lasting positive habit change.
Joy Carter, MSW, CHt. LC
Life Coach & Certified Hypnotherapist