It's that time of year again where we feel compelled to make the Resolutions for Change that we could choose to make at any point in the year because we see the New Year as a fresh start.
As a culture, we do it every year, most often with the same results: A few weeks later, we're generally back to the same pattern, often lamenting our "weakness" and "failure".
Why is it so hard to effectively create change? One reason simple reason is that due to biology, chemistry and conditioning, humans have a tendency to dwell on the negative even when something equally or more positive is occurring.
This is called Negativity Bias which means that we are more likely to register an insult or negative event than we are to take in a compliment or recall details of a happy event. It occurs mainly because:
Our brains are hardwired to overestimate threats so we don't take "unnecessary" risks.
Our brains are naturally wary of the unfamiliar (aka change), so we tend to be vigilant and stay away from perceived dangers.
Our brains tend to focus and remember negative experiences over positive as a means of protection by recognizing and avoiding future hazards.
We are hard wired to seek short term convenience even if this rarely results in us meeting our long term goals.
Humans, (and all other beings for that matter!) naturally resist being told what to do even if it is in our best interests and matches what we desire for ourselves. We typically WANT the outcome without having to put in the EFFORT it takes to get there, and this is frequently the root of much envy and jealousy towards others.
The good news is that we don't have to be slaves to the drips and squirts in our brains:
When we accept and acknowledge the right to NOT change, we create an opportunity that can make change possible. The key to this, though, is to not expect this acceptance to create change. To do so would be counterproductive.
Before embarking on creating change, consider where you may be in these Stages of Change, which is a model for behavioural change and modification:
The key to being successful during ALL points of this cycle is to recognize that setbacks WILL occur and to have a plan of action in how to deal with them - instead of assuming that they either won't happen or becoming crestfallen because they do happen (aka Perceived failure).
Just knowing that challenges will arise kicks the belief of failure right in the butt and allows for a perception of how new things are being learned with each challenge and restart.
Change is not linear and being aware of
your emotional reactions and beliefs to and around change
is a powerful tool to help you prevent a setback or
to nip a setback in the bud
before it becomes a full blown relapse.
The goal is to internalize the desired change so that it is a habit, and that can take up to 6 weeks of consistent and concerted effort.
So hang in there, and most of all don't give up; aim to have and maintain realistic expectations of yourself and your progress!
Remember, the choice is ultimately yours.
You have the power to choose which direction you take,
and how long you stay in a particular stage of healing / change.
Respect this ability and then acknowledge
and empower yourself accordingly!
Being aware of the following will also be helpful in what and how you choose:
Avoid internal and external negative influences, so steer clear of the constant complainers and apocalyptic prophets (to be fair, the world's been ending since shortly after it began - I think we're all going to be ok).
Temporarily boycott the mainstream news. You'll know what you need to know because it will be everywhere, but in the interim, this is about establishing a strong internal base for yourself that's not buffered about by external expectations and negative input.
Strengthen your boundaries. If you can't remove yourself from negative influences, you can learn how to keep attuned to your Self and not be influenced by the negative energy of others.
Get outside in nature. Ground yourself by touching the earth, which means no rubber soled shoes!
What lifts your spirits? Do more of it!
Resolve to heal low self-worth. You ARE enough!
How I can help and support you:
Seek out support! Manual Osteopaths will assess you and your lifestyle and take into account how well you move, sleep, eat and relax - all things that influence one's state of mind and well being.
I offer a safe and non-judgemental space to explore historical and familial patterns that may impede change and healing with gentle hands-on therapy, movement and exercise advice.
I also offer individualized support around healthy lifestyle changes that aim to support long term, lasting heath and improvement.
And at the end of the day, just remember:
Happy New Year everyone!
You've got this and are on the right track,
even if you don't yet know it!
You are going to be a