I was on BBC Radio last week talking about…you’ve guessed it…New Years Resolutions.
Believe it or not, I hadn’t expected him to ask me if I was doing anything! Whilst slightly taken aback at being asked on air, I happily admitted that I’m doing Dry January.
Talking about it on air got me to thinking, what a big hoo haa there is every January.
Why do we make such a big thing of New Year’s Resolutions?
Well the short answer is: they’re blooming difficult! For most of us we’re basically giving up something we like…something nice. And there’s the rub!
We all talk about giving something up and we’re dreading missing out on the glass of wine, the fag or chocolate or whatever. Now this is a huge topic, far too big for a single blog, but there’s a fundamental issue here: All these things we’re “giving up” have become automatic programmes which make us feel better.
“Go on Fred, have that piece of cake…that glass of wine…it’ll make you feel better”.
Unfortunately these programmes become habituated and it becomes “normal” to get home and go straight to the fridge or to light up with the cup of coffee first thing. Habits are run from the unconscious, precisely so that we don’t have to think about them.
Imagine if you still had to watch yourself put your foot on the clutch to change gear or concentrate to maintain balance on your bike. These things become automated: we don’t have to think about them.
Well for cycling or driving, that’s great news. But the habit programming takes conscious control away from us.
And here’s the killer: your unconscious is 91% of your mind. Your conscious, the bit that knows that the cigarette or the glass of wine is harmful, rather than making you feel good, is only 9%. You don’t have to be a maths genius to spot the problem. Most of us simply don’t have the willpower.
So what’s the answer?
Well it’s not necessarily going to make it a piece of cake…sorry terrible pun not intended, but the critical thing is to focus only on the positive outcome of your Resolution. And that’s basically getting fit or healthy.
See this as a campaign to improve you health, increase your energy levels, improve your sleep, your focus and concentration.
Seriously…just focus on the positive.
Forget that you’re depriving yourself of something. With this positive focus, it is much easier to distract yourself when the cravings come up.
What normally happens is that we feel sorry for ourselves and even think about how deprived we are and some of us are pretty good at making that a 10 minute conversation in our heads.
Cravings only normally last a matter of seconds…but not if we start feeling sorry for ourselves and create enormous Mind Chatter.
I was managing pretty well last week; but then it was Friday evening and boy I could have killed for a beer. So I reminded myself of how healthy I was going to be in February and got myself a pint of cranberry juice and diet ginger beer instead. And that, by the way, is a good tip:
Replace the thing you’re “giving up” with something healthy but tasty.
So if you want more understanding of how your mind works, how it creates cravings, stress, anxiety and depression, just go to markneweymethod.com