Enlist the subconscious mind for New Year’s resolution success
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on December 24, 2012. Posted with permission.
Why is it always twenty pounds? Whenever I discuss New Year’s resolutions with people, that number is ubiquitous.
But, talk of resolutions is folly because resolutions usually fail or the results of our efforts are temporary. Why?
New Year’s Day is great time for goal setting. The first of the year is metaphorically laden as a fresh start or a new beginning. Metaphors have power and significance, so we may as well take advantage of the symbolism when it arises.
Willpower resides in the conscious mind. Our behaviors are guided by our subconscious minds, and 88% of the mind is subconscious. For the New Year’s resolution that dwells in the conscious mind, that isn’t a fair fight.
The subconscious mind is basically telling us to eat and eat and eat (and have sex). It’s not telling us to finish writing that novel, to abstain from fattening foods, and to shampoo the rugs monthly. Ideally, we want our subconscious mind, the most powerful guide of our behavior, in line with the logic, reason, and intellect of our conscious mind.
But it doesn’t always work out that way.
Katie Romano Griffin, a certified life coach and hypnotherapist, suggests concrete steps for meeting your goals by using your subconscious mind as your ally.
1. First, she notes that New Year’s Resolutions generally hit four target life areas: body and health, love and relationships, career and creative expression, and free time and money. It’s better to have a holistic life vision rather than disparate, unrelated goals, she suggests.
2. Have a clear concise vision for yourself in each of the four target life areas.
Your New Year’s resolutions should be a list of your life goals stated as if you already have them and in positive terms, adding on the benefits you would gain. For the common weight loss goal: “I am a physically fit, 130-pound woman who can run a marathon in under four hours.”
Griffin also warns to avoid negative language in the vision book. If you are seeking a meaningful relationship, never make a list of qualities you don’t want. It will come knocking at your door.
When it comes to love, it’s important to think and write about not what you want from another person, but to write about what you have to offer and share. Likewise, if you want to eradicate financial debt, focus on enhancing your assets rather than attacking deficits.
Once you have a vision list for your New Year’s resolutions in each of the life target areas, write them in a notebook you keep at your bedside. Every night prior to bed, rewrite the entire vision list in the notebook. This way, the vision will be restated right before sleep, and you can take that information right into your dreams with minimal, the playground of the subconscious.
3. Get the conscious mind under control.
Griffin explains that as soon as one wakes, the mind is bombarded with message units. Everything that you experience through your five senses is a message unit, and your willpower just disperses into that sea of message units.
“By midday, the whole conscious mind can just blow and that’s when the subconscious mind kicks in and can undermine our efforts,” Griffin said.
So, control the message units. Proven techniques to quiet the mind and set up a filter so it doesn’t get overloaded include yoga, meditation, hypnosis, and pranayama (breathwork). These need to be practiced daily. And, the bathroom first thing in the morning is a really good place for meditation.
4. The final step is to create success along the way. In your vision notebook, write down every victory of the day before you rewrite your vision.
You may have eaten a bag of Reese’s Pieces, but you stopped at one. Write it down. You took the stairs at work? Write it down.
“The more success you notice, the more success you are going to have. Success fuels the furnace,” Griffin said.