New Years Resolution… Oh, Where Do We Wrong?
So it’s that time of year again… have you set your New Years resolution yet?
The mark of the new calendar year often brings with it renewed feelings of motivation. Unfortunately, motivation tends to be fleeting, typically fading after a few days. I recall reading in a Forbes article that only 8% of people actually follow through on their New Years resolutions.
Yikes. What’s the point then?
Well, the reason so few actually stick lies in the way that most people set goals and approach change in their lives. So I want to share with you a way that you can turn this around to create the health changes you want to achieve in 2016.
Whether your health goal is to lose weight, quit smoking, lower your cholesterol, lower your blood pressure, quit sugar or gain more energy, there are distinct patterns that have created the current place you find yourself.
It’s not random.
Our Western society has brainwashed into thinking we must use “will power” to change our circumstances – without the deeper work of going deeper than that, of investigating why our circumstances are as they are.
Here’s the thing…
You have created the circumstances you find yourself in based on what you believe to be true about yourself and the world you live in.
There are specific beliefs feeding all of your behaviours. And until you shine a light on those beliefs, it will impossible to produce lasting changes in your health (or anything for that matter).
Here’s how it works:
Most people start by focusing on changing their circumstances.
What I recommend is that you start by reverse engineering the process of how you arrived at the condition that you want to change. What actions, habits and addictions have directly contributed to the unwanted circumstances? What behaviours have informed these actions? What thoughts and feelings run through your mind on a regular basis that seemingly justify these behaviours? What do you believe to be true about yourself and the world you live in that triggers these specific thoughts and feelings?
Trace your circumstances back to their root cause.
That is the only way to truly transform your situation.
Once you understand the root cause of the outer conditions of your life you’ll be able to create a foundation of change that has true staying power.
See, most of us get stuck in self-sabotage. Why? Because until we’re aware of the underlying dynamics that create our actions and generate our circumstances, all attempts at changing our circumstances will only further fuel our limiting core beliefs.
Let’s walk through a simple example to explain this further…
Let’s say your current New Years resolution is to lose 20 pounds of extra weight. Why is the extra 20 pounds of weight there? Let’s say you’re aware that you have a sugar addiction and that you often turn to sugary foods to relieve stress. So you make your goal to cut sugar out and handle stress more effectively.
And let’s say this is as far as you take it.
What will happen?
You’ve made it to the point of behaviour (which is great) – knowing that you act on food addictions because you feel stressed. However, you need to go deeper to reveal the specific thoughts and feelings that fuel the addictive behaviour in the first place.
Put another way: your mind is telling you a story about why you should eat sugar and turn to sugary foods to relieve stress. Your thoughts and feelings are painting a picture over your reality that makes the need for your behaviour feel real and justified.
You are the artist of your own existence. You are always painting on your canvas.
If you want to change your outer conditions you need to tell a new story – one that aligns with the outer changes you’re looking to produce.
Most commonly the thoughts and feelings you’ll become aware of focus around worry, overwhelm and lack of self-respect. We constantly tell ourselves a story that makes us feel locked into a certain way of behaving.
What you’re doing right now – heightening your awareness of this story – will help you see that it’s not just inaccurate… it’s a flat out lie!
And this is when we get to the real potential to transform.
As you become aware of the false, damaging story you’re telling about yourself, the next later to peel off is the core belief you’re holding onto that makes the story appear to be real. We all have core beliefs about life that distort our attempts at feeling secure and that we’re living a meaning existence.
There was a certain point in our lives, in our mental, emotional and spiritual development, when these stories were needed – needed to validate our sense of self, needed to give us a concrete identity in order to navigate the world.
Are these stories still serving you though?
These core beliefs are formed early in life and are often passed down or “given” to us by our parents, teachers, religious authorities, media influences, peers and society. By the time we’re teenagers, these beliefs have become heavily instilled within us. Unfortunately, later in life these core beliefs can be harmful to our well-being.
Here are examples of general, common core beliefs:
- I’m not good enough
- Love isn’t safe
- Life isn’t fair
- I have no power
- Life is meaningless
A pattern that I’ve noticed in practice is that very often the core belief “I’m not good enough” underlies sugar addiction. People usually turn to sugar to fill an internal void, where they never feel whole in who they are right now. This belief also creates the drama and stress that makes eating sugar seem like a perfectly rational choice.
The extra weight is a way of compensating for this internal emptiness. The weight gives us a sense of ‘padding’ against this void, which gives us a feeling of pseudo-safety in warding off the feeling that we are never quite enough.
Looking at it this way, can you see how trying to lose the weight without understanding the mechanism behind the behaviour is set up for failure?
The weight is there for a specific reason.
It’s a crutch you’re using to uphold your limiting beliefs about who you are. If you lose the weight without doing this deeper work, you’re removing a deeply ingrained safety mechanism that wards off feelings of never being good enough.
What’s fascinating about this process is that simply shedding awareness on your core beliefs is an enormous part of the healing process. It’s often the case that you don’t need to ‘do’ much more than just bring as much conscious attention as you can to what you believe to be true.
Why? Because these beliefs aren’t who you really are.
They are like phantoms that are fed by a lack of awareness. Once you bring the light of consciousness to them, they are exposed as being not only false, but completely absurd.
There are a variety of techniques you can use to clear core beliefs, such as EFT, acupuncture, and counseling, however the first step is always to bring full awareness to them and then ask yourself: Are they true? Do I really need to hold on to them?
So if you’d like to create lasting change this year… that’s the secret. For every outer condition you want to change, trace it back to the core beliefs that have created this condition in the first place. Then do the deeper work of clearing these beliefs while establishing new habits and behaviours.
Here’s a worksheet you can use to help you get started on becoming aware of your core beliefs.
If you’d like guidance in creating lasting change for yourself this year I’d love to help… call our health centre at (306) 781-2222 and I’d be happy to discuss how we can do this work together.
Here’s to a healthy and joyful New Year and a New Years Resolution that sticks!
P.S. I encourage you to try this out and let me know what happens by leaving a comment below… I’d love to hear about your experience.