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Resolutions Become Habits

Resolutions: why do they fail? It’s the time of year to make new resolutions! We are already four weeks into the New Year and for most people, those good-intentioned New Year’s resolutions have already fallen apart.

We all meant well, excited and enthusiastic with good intentions, knew what we had to do – so what happened? Can we get back on track again if we get off course? The answer is yes. Most resolutions have to do with making a new habit or changing an existing one, like eating healthier, getting more exercise, turning our phones off more often, etc. A habit is a conditioned response. Its automatic. We do things without thinking, it’s a habit! Some habits are hard, some not so much. But these habits are already established. You probably don’t remember establishing them. You probably don’t remember how they got started. So, creating a new habit shouldn’t be that hard, or you wouldn’t have created so many already.

In most cases, creating a new habit is usually a 3-step process.

First, pick a small action: To exercise more isn’t small. Eating healthier, isn’t small.

1. Correct a major reason why most resolutions do not work. In order to start a new habit, begin small and then build on it. Example: to strengthen legs “take the stairs instead of the elevator.” Or, to strengthen immune system, drink a smoothie for breakfast of veggies and fresh fruits, replacing coffee and toast. Repetition will bring you a habit.

2. It always works best if you attach a new small action to a previous habit. If you already go for walks 3 times a week, add 5-10 minutes to the walk which connects a new habit to an existing one. Your stimulus (going for a walk) has a new response (walk a bit longer). Your existing habit of going into the kitchen each morning will trigger getting our smoothie together. Especially if your blender is set out, ready and visible. A new habit of controlling your temper and being patient, is connected to an old habit of counting or singing or whistling or taking a walk.

3. Remember, the first week of your new habit must be easy. Trying to establish a new conditioned response is the hard part. It must be practiced many times. It takes several times for anything to really take hold. And to make it take hold, it helps if it’s easy at first. Set the blender out with ingredients already prepared. Put a note on your car keys that says “take the stairs today”, or drive with extra courtesy today.

After practicing these steps with consistency, things will begin to take root. A New Year’s resolution is just a trigger, you can make a change - and make it stick, anytime, anywhere. You can always start again, even right now. Just keep it small and make it manageable. And connect it to your new habit/resolution.

Taking it a step further: many of us start the month of January making commitments of new resolutions, but end aborting them before the month is over. This does not have to happen, because the new year offers the opportunity to recommit one’s self to making a difference on life. Aim higher and for new purpose.

Suggestion: dig out the classic book that many of us read years ago, MOTB. (‘Magic Of Thinking Big’ by David J. Schwartz.) It had a classic truth: ”Action cures Fear.” Things change with action. Making resolutions doesn’t work until action is taken. Just talking about it doesn’t accomplish anything except as a project in futility.

Examples of resolutions:

I will not give up my mind to anyone.

I will cut back time spent watching TV, especially News programs.

Down with the weight and up with the income.

I will save something every week. Saving is an enhanced priority.

I will read 15-30 minutes every day, from my Bible and other positive books.

I will not ever let my three walls (of mental protection) be invaded. PMA pg 286

I will watch what comes out of my mouth and be more careful what goes into my mind.

My thinking will become more accurate, free of exaggeration and lies.

I will guard closely who I associate with each and every day, over 15 minutes.

I will not allow my temper to speak my mind.

My mind is settled and resolved to say something good about those I live with, every day.

Every day and in every way, I am determined to improve, every day.

I will keep everything clean in my life, my car, my home, my wardrobe, my speech, etc.

It was brought up that ”…any resolution or decision you make today has to be made again tomorrow.” “You will never succeed beyond the purpose to which you are willing to surrender.” “…your surrender will not be complete until you have formed the habit of doing the things that failures don’t like to do.”

Resolutions have to be made and kept again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day and the next. After keeping the new habit many days in a row, you will not have to make the decision any longer for it will occur without thinking about it.

Now you have become master of your likes and dislikes by surrendering to your purpose in life. That is why behind the success is always a purpose. “Your future is going to depend on your purpose in life.”

Remember to start small, keep it simple, build on your successes, and encourage yourself now and then.

See you at the top, Coach Jack

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