[2 min read]
Would you, like me, prefer to never ever hear again that there’s no point in setting New Year Resolutions (NYRs) cos they don’t work? To my shame I used to say that for the first few years in this job, then someone pointed to me what a negative self fulfilling load of tosh that is! [Cue shame faced hang dog expression].
Everything we know about motivation confirms goals are an indispensable part of the story. Equally well-being requires a a sense of achievement, which it’s tough to generate without achieving goals. So lets not permit the naysayers to talk themselves – let alone US – out of setting some new year goals, aka resolutions. Let’s protect and boost our motivation & well-being by going for it – but in an informed way that maximises our chances of success.
No sensible person would deny that large numbers of people DO fail in their New Year's Resolutions. So what’s happening? The thing is this is yet another facet of the willpower myth, viz the belief that behavioural change, including goal seeking behaviour, is driven by strength of will. It isn’t.
Human behaviour comes from the unconscious, specifically the self concept. Change the self concept, our default patterns of thinking feeling & behaving rapidly , sustainably, automatically and effortlessly follow suit.
So please make sure your goals are up to date, relevant & balanced: work/home, self/others, peace/growth, short/long, positive emotion/flow (=absent emotion), meaning/enjoyment.
Then go get ’em using conditioning, self talk tools, visualisation.
Why all three? Firstly they all condition the the self concept into new goal focused default thoughts/actions.
Secondly because visualisation releases hyper motivation, extra physical resources when we need them, sensitised awareness to helpful opportunities, and gets our unconscious making, refining & constantly adjusting our plan of action.
Thirdly there’s a caveat to that – recent studies have shown that visualisation without action CAN lead to a palliative deluded confidence that everything will be ok without the need to actually do anything about it! So we need to use our self talk scripts to drive massive relevant action.
Lastly positive conditioning creates high performance states and the resilience we need to push through set backs without being deflected from our chosen path.
New Years Resolutions? I love ’em! Don’t be hoodwinked by the naysayers’ “it doesn’t work” excuse. Go for it!