New Years Resolutions

Snowy scene 

Is There Any Point In Trying?

Donald A. Price, Ph.D. and Linda M. Price, Ph.D.

How many times have you made New Years resolutions, only to have them fade away in a few weeks or months? Back to the same old patterns. You might ask, "If I'm really serious, can anything help?" The answer is yes. The following five approaches utilized together can help you achieve your goals.

First, limit the number of resolutions to one or two that are achievable and center your efforts on these. For example, you may want to quit smoking, lose weight, go on a budget, and make more friends. When it comes to altering habits, choose one at a time, like quitting smoking or managing weight.

Second, if possible, brea k the resolution down into manageable steps. Even if it is a resolution to cease something totally, such as smoking or drinking, it can be broken down into "one day at a time." If you are planning on something like getting on a budget, you can do it in steps, such as organizing data in week one, discussing and prioritizing categories and the amounts in the categories the following week, and in the third week beginning the plan.

Third, consider using hypnosis to assist and reinforce the new behavior. Hypnosis has the potential of accessing the power of the unconscious mind in a variety of ways that can support conscious decisions. We really do not realize the power of our unconscious mind, and how much we could benefit from tapping into its resources. Getting an agreement from both the conscious and the unconscious to work together on a goal is a powerful combination.

Fourth, analyze and correct your negative self-talk. You may not be aware of this, but one way of looking at negative self-talk is seeing it as a negative hypnotic suggestion. If we are constantly giving ourselves negative hypnotic suggestions then we are constantly reinforcing negative feelings and behaviors. Listen to the almost silent self-talk and evaluate it. See if it is, in fact, true, or if it is only partially true. Then correct and substitute the new healthier self-talk for the old destructive self talk. For example, changing "I'm always such a klutz" to "Once in a while I drop something" can make a big difference. If you have been constantly putting yourself down, and you instead become more honest and accurate about yourself you, will notice your self-esteem increasing.

Fifth, build in a reward system to encourage and reinforce your progress. The reward should be pleasurable and meaningful to you. Take the budget goal for example. Identify a target date and build in a reasonable (i.e., non budget-buster) reward as part of the plan. When you reach your goal be proud of yourself and reap your reward.

One or the other of these may be easier or sufficient for you. But if that isn't working, then systematically using all five of these approaches together should help you be more successful than in the past.