Notes From A Hypnotist, Part 2: Creating A New Year That’s Way Better Than Last Year

This is part 2 of a two-part series, and to save time and effort, we’ll take a moment to review the highlights of part 1. If you’re like me, and you feel compelled to read both parts, check the archives for “Notes From A Hypnotist: How To Repair A Broken New Year’s Resolution” by Wendy Lapidus-Saltz. Here are the highlights of part 1: There are essentially five reasons that most New Year’s resolutions come undone quickly. All have to do with how and why you made your resolution in the first place, and the level of support you’re getting from yourself and others in following through. The reasons are: 1. You made your resolution too complicated or severe 2. It’s all about what you won’t do (not over-drink, not overeat, not sit in front of the TV too much) instead of what you will do (eat perfect portions, emphasize healthy foods, exercises x times a week) —most people require both 3. Your resolution denies a need or desire without providing a beneficial substitution 4. You expect to feel deprived, and thereby pre-program yourself to feel that way 5. You set yourself up to get no support (or only negative support) from others Now let’s talk about how to succeed rather than fail in creating a great new year. Define What Success Is If you want to be in a fulfilling job this coming year, you need to define what that is for you. The more detail, the better. It’s okay to remove (thoughtfully) some of the requirements you set if they are unrealistic, but you do need a guideline for what you truly desire. Specificity rules! Choose Flexibility And Learn How To Create It There are areas in which you can be flexible. Inflexibility in these areas may guarantee failure, and keep you from stretching yourself. For some, being flexible is hard. Usually it gets down to fears. Fear that they can’t stretch or change, can’t learn new ways, and believe they require more routine, rigidness, and —– than is actually the case. At work, flexibility grants greater opportunity, opportunities to learn, stretch and enlarge talents. You are less likely to be labeled old, redundant, out-of-step, and non-adaptive, and more likely to be regarded as creative, innovative, and essential, and a useful team member or leader. Even if you feel scared to try learning new skills, you can decide you are putting yourself in training to flex more. Offer yourself up for new tasks, teams, and to cover new needs for which few have the training. You’ll keep yourself young, smart, and employed. In your personal life, especially in creating resolutions to go forward into the new year, and make it better than the old, flexibility allows…. Create Healthy Rewards For Successes The classic ways to change behavior are the carrot and the stick. The first rewards successes while the second punishes “failures.” A great many of us, when we are coaching ourselves rather than others, choose the stick as our sole behavior-change method. But most of us require encouragement or we’ll give up. Don’t be afraid to offer yourself a carrot, at least sometimes. It will make you feel good and enthusiastic about doing more. Do be sure the rewards are healthy. If your goal is weight loss, for instance, and you lose three pounds, don’t use a box of chocolate as the reward. Consider clothing that shows of your body, exercise gear that rewards your progress, or something that’s simply pleasurable: a massage, walk in the park, a new CD. Build Your Team You don’t need to go it alone. Find others serious about the same endeavor, and find out if they’d be willing to get together and offer mutual support. Or find supportive friends who are simply willing to call and check your progress and give you a big thumbs-up every so often. Do be sure they are your champions (“Keep going—you can do it!”) Keep Secrets From Nay Sayers The converse of supporters are those are motivation killers. They say things like“You don’t need to lose weight, you’re just fine” or “Why would you ever want to train for a marathon?” Some are far more subtle in their destructive work, so you need to be careful. They are likely jealous of your possible success and guilty about not doing it themselves. To them you are a symbol of their weakness, ineptitude or laziness, and an ongoing reminder that the feat can be done. And they themselves are not doing it. Keep your new activity secret from them, especially in the beginning, when your resolve is still vulnerable. However, if someone brings up a valid concern like “Is it safe to start a running program just two weeks after surgery?” simply take it as a hint to consult with your doctor, and thank him or her for caring. Emphasize Fun, Freedom, & Choice, Not Deprivation In many endeavors, your mindset in the strongest indicator of the potential for success. If you go into it with a sense of adventure and experimentation, willing to adjust along the way, you’re halfway there. The other half is choosing the endeavor rather than forcing yourself into it. Consider enticing yourself to do the necessary activities the way you might with a child who needs to clean his/her room. Or even a pet that is being taught a new trick. (Yes, I’m completely serious!) Paint a positive, alluring picture of the work that needs to be done. Especially the rewards, benefits and triumphs available upon completion. Handle the bumps along the way as learning opportunities and good material once you get to the top of your mountain. If it all happened perfectly and automatically what stories would there be to tell your grandchildren? ©2008 by Wendy Lapidus-Saltz. All rights reserved. Missed the Part 1 of this article? See Part 1, “Notes From A Hypnotist: How To Repair A Broken New Year’s Resolution.”