One of the top 3 resolutions people make, new year after new year, is living a healthier life. (Along with more money and more love.)
Whether it’s a heart-friendly diet or a weight loss plan or exercising regularly, people believe health goals are completely achievable because the onus is entirely on themselves. There are no bosses to please for the desired promotion or hoping for a perfect life partner to miraculously show up and offer the perfect relationship.
And yet, by February, approximately 80% of people give up on their new year health goals and revert back to their old eating habits and sedentary lifestyles.
Why is that?
Why do health goals fail so frequently, when succeeding at them is entirely a matter of personal choice?
Stop beating up on yourself if you have failed in the past, because it is not your conscious fault.
It isn’t merely a `lack of willpower’ as most people would think. The resistance, in fact, comes from long-terms habits (and beliefs) that have become ingrained in our brains.
The brain is a complex network of `neurological pathways’ that are established by repeated thoughts and behaviors. For example, if you have always eaten a tub of ice-cream to make yourself feel better during times of stress, you have unconsciously built a neurological pathway that accepts ice-cream as a `normal’ solution to stress. Breaking that default pathway and building a new one that involves going for a run instead cannot happen overnight. Just like a stream cannot change its course all of a sudden.
It’s a process that takes time and constant repetition to make a lasting imprint. And all the motivation in the world cannot replace old imprints with new ones unless you understand this basic principle.
But the good news is this: neurological pathways are `elastic’. (Scientists call it brain plasticity.) In other words, they can be manipulated and reformed by exposing your brain to not just what you do and think, but how you feel.
Feelings directly impact the subconscious mind, compelling the brain to rewire old channels, and right there is the secret solution to make your health goals stick.
In this article, we won’t talk about all the usual advice that experts offer on how to change the way you think about health and fitness. (If that really brought about lasting changes, every participant at a Tony Robbins motivational workshop would be leading perfect lives today.)
Instead, we will show you some simple methods that will incrementally change how you feelabout any goal you have set for yourself.
Try them. After all, what’s the worst that could happen? You’ll just end up feeling better?
# 1: Release Self-Judgement From Past Failures
Absolutely the worst thing that keeps us stuck in vicious cycles of failure is self-judgement. Nature taught us fear for survival reasons a long time ago. But society taught us something perhaps even more damaging: guilt and shame.
From childhood, when we were told we were a bad little person if we didn’t do what parents and teachers wanted of us, to adulthood when we’re constantly judged by family, friends and media for not being a certain way or aspiring to a certain lifestyle – there is no escaping the strangling web of guilt and shame that conversely keep us stuck in our old ways.
Because after years of conditioning to fit a certain mold, as dictated by others, we lose our individuality and sense of self-worth. And we subconsciously believe we are not good enough.
This is at the very core of the problem for a vast majority of human beings. We unconsciously scupper our own chances of success because we unconsciously believe we are not worth it.
If you can honestly face and address this belief, you’re basically unstoppable.
But how do you start doing that?
A small but very effective way, as propagated by Rapid Transformational Therapy expert Marisa Peer, is posting signs around your house that simply says: I Am Enough!
Yes, that’s it.
Write “I Am Enough” in bold letters on a piece of chart paper and stick it in your bedroom, where you will see it first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Post it on your bathroom mirror. Write the message on a sticky note and tack it to the edge of your computer. Make it a wallpaper on your phone.
Constant exposure to this short, self-empowering message will start to seep in after a while, says Marisa, who has successfully worked with celebrities, politicians and regular people like you and me, with incredible success. If you want to know more about this strategy, click HERE to hear Marisa explain it in her own words.
This is just one strategy. There are many more ways you can expose yourself to empowering messaging to change your own judgement of yourself. Do it repeatedly and continuously, and you will soon notice how differently you’re looking not just at yourself but at all aspects of your life where you previously felt short.
# 2: Disempower Your Negative Thoughts
Negative ideations are just that – ideations. They are not real. They’re figments of our imagination and they do not exist!
But worst-case scenarios are the thoughts we are most comfortable with. We may aspire to think best-case ones, but they vanish after a few seconds because our subconscious minds do not believe they are actually possible.
Thanks to well-established neurological pathways in our brains, we consistently default to negative thinking, which in turn, leaves us feeling angry, hurt, disappointed and discouraged.
Notice the pattern here?
Our habitual thinking keeps up caught up in the same cycle and all we do is just feed and repeat.
The only way to break out of this is to train ourselves to notice when negative thoughts are creeping in. And actively recognize that these are just thoughts. No more real than the script of our favorite Netflix show.
It needs practice, sure. But once you start policing your thoughts, you will quickly learn to recognize the self-defeating fiction for what they are. And once you recognize and release them, they can no longer hold you in their power.
Meditation is one of the best ways to teach yourself this practice. Journaling is another. Or lighting a candle in a quiet moment and keeping your attention on only the flame without the babble of thoughts crowding your mind.
# 3: Get Back On The Horse
Don’t lose faith and give it all up the minute you fail. Because fail you probably will. (Remember brain plasticity?)
There’s no shame in failing. But there is enormous power in being able to get back on the horse and keep riding in the direction you want. You may not reach in the 2 weeks or 2 months as you anticipated. But every time you re-embrace the reason you started on this journey with fresh enthusiasm, the distance still waiting to be traveled with get shorter and shorter.
The most practical way is of course to break up your end result into small, actionable ones. Celebrate each small milestone, however small they may be, because they’re all victories in their own right.
# 4: Enjoy Your Fantasies
What are fantasies? Nothing except believing fiction for real. This runs contrary to point # 2, but in exceptionally good ways. Power your positive feelings instead of encouraging the negative ones.
Vision boards work very well for this.
If your health goal is to lose weight, create a vision board with cut-outs of pictures that visually represent what you want. Like celebs who look the way you aspire. People who represent your idea of style. Favorite fashions you will be able to wear once you reach your goals. Stick them in a collage on a board and keep this board in your bedroom.
Allow yourself the luxury of feeling and imagining, even if it is for just a few minutes a day, as you look at this board. The best times are of course first thing in the morning, when your mind is as empty as it will be in the next 12 hours, and last thing at night, when you’re most susceptible to imprinting as you’re relaxing into a state of sleep.
# 5: Stop The Social Media Chatter
When will the world realize that social media is nothing more than a make-believe rat race?
We’re not saying social platforms are not entertaining – and sometimes even useful. But do take off the rose-tinted glasses and realize that your friends and family are not living the glorious lives, as captured in their images and videos, because they’re as human as you are. It takes a couple of seconds to click a `happy’ picture. A whole lifetime of struggle against challenges to achieve it.
Enjoy social media by all means but take all you see with a pinch of salt. And use the time you’d spend scrolling the life of others to build and improve your own.
What Does All This Have To Do With Achieving Your Goals?
Because we’re trying to steer you in a direction where transformation comes from within. We’re not offering band-aid solutions because they’re by definition, temporary. By clearing out old baggage of self-defeating ideas and beliefs that weighed you down in the past, we’re encouraging you to step into your own spotlight as the most glorious version of you.
Not as others expect you to be but in full and complete confidence of who you are.