My word of the month for January is …
January is a time when a lot of people are trying to make new habits or break old ones. It’s that New Year, New Me stuff.
We are fast approaching the time when most New years resolutions fall by the wayside.
According to studies most people give up on their resolution by the 22nd of January. If you’re still going for it, well done, but if you’ve already let old habits slip back in, don’t feel to bad about it – these things happen.
In some ways I was surprised to find that the resolutions were broken after 3 weeks. We are often told that it takes between 2 and 3 weeks to make a break a habit, which would suggest that by the 22nd we should have that habit firmly established. So, what get’s in our way?
I think part of the problem is that we still have the habit of thinking about whatever it is we are trying to change.
Whether you are trying to diet or exercise, study more or worry less you eill find yourself thinking about ‘how it used to be’. This is a habit you are creating too.
What can you do about this?
The main thing you can do is notice that you are doing it. When you notice these thoughts popping into your head, think about what you are saying to yourself. Are you saying things like ‘I’d rather be doing…’ or ‘I’m missing out on…..’ or ‘I’d normally be eating….’ All of these are really tempting difficult thought patterns for you to deal with.
Imagine being on a diet and you have a best friend who was constantly with you. Every time you get hungry they say ‘some cake would be lovely around now’ or ‘that salad is rubbish compared to the takeaway we normally have on a Friday’ or ‘wouldn’t you rather have a biscuit?’
That would be really hard to deal with, and you’d probably fall of the wagon.
Now imagine that best friend was really supporting you. Instead of all that unhelpful talk they were saying things like ‘You are looking and feeling better every day’ or ‘That healthy choice you’ve made for dinner is helping you to get into those jeans you want’ or ‘I’m so proud of you sticking to your diet, even when it’s tricky’.
That friend is going to help you to achieve your goals.
Make a new habit to be your own best friend and think about what you are saying to yourself. Support yourself as you would a true friend and you’ll be surprised what you can do.
Sometimes it can be difficult to deal with negative thought patterns and this is where therapy and in particular CBT and Hypnotherapy can be very useful. With CBT you work on changing the negative thought patterns into positive ones by completing exercises to challenge your thoughts. With Hypnotherapy we use access to the subconscious to change these thought patterns in an easy way. There’s no reason not to get help with these things if you find them too difficult to do on your own. You used an instructor to teach you how to drive, why not use one to help you think in a productive, fulfilling way?