What can a pencil do for all of us? Amazing things. It can write transcendent poetry, uplifting music, or life-changing equations; it can sketch the future, give life to untold beauty, and communicate the full-force of our love and aspirations. ~Adam Braun
With enthusiasm, the new year brings hopes of a better life. Yet, year after year, you’ve learned that resolutions don’t really work. You are ready to make a change when the very change you wanted, becomes a set up for broken dreams. Another disappointment.
90% of resolutions don’t work
What is happening? The brain really doesn’t forget. The brain enjoys patterns that operate efficiently. This is what it’s accustomed to. Patterns keep us safe. They are comfortable and predictable. And while that’s a good thing, negative consequences erase the dream. You enjoy ice cream, but not the added calories. You want to read more, but watching tv is easier. You want a better job, but it’s easier to not taking the risk of being rejected.
The brain’s personality is developed by the age of 25. All the connections in the brain get use to repeating familiar pathways. A drastic change to change the brain’s pattern causes it to resist and send it into exhaustion. That’s when the pencil breaks.
So, how do we make changes?
DO ONE THING DIFFERENTLY
Change has to cooperate with existing brain patterns and not overload it. New neurons are needed that connect with the existing neurons to create new pathways. Do this by doing one thing differently. Ease into the change. Perhaps sugar free ice cream could be on the menu. Begin reading one of your favorites first thing everyday, or update your resume and let someone else mange it for you to lessen any risk of rejection.
Keep doing one thing differently
Much of our behavior is influenced by others. Whether it’s how we dress, our beliefs, where we live and even what we eat. Is there a way you can use social influence to help make changes? Schedule a gathering to show off a fat free recipe. Join a book club. Ask others how they overcome the fear of rejection.
Create a social environment that does what you want to do
TRYING TOO HARD
Have you ever been in a situation where you tried so hard that you just became immobilized? It happens. The brain always remembers its attachments. To fight against this makes it worse. The more you try to change the more it stays the same. Remind yourself to give attention to the one thing you wish to change.
Practice letting go by sharpening the pencil and listing what you wish to accomplish doing one thing different.
Trying too hard can lead to no change at all.
Are you sure you want to make a change? Sometimes we sabotage our efforts due to some motive we’re unaware of. After all, it takes some work to change and who wants to go through what can feel like a dreaded struggle. Sharpen your pencil again and make a list of why it might be better to stay the same.
Do you really want to change?
Is there someone in your life who doesn’t want you to change? Maybe they are threatened with what the new you might look like. So if you vow to cut back on sugar, and they bring you a chocolate cake, you have a new conflict to deal with. Find time to have an important conversation with this person and work this out.
Do you have a conflict to resolve?
TALK TO YOURSELF IN THE PRESENT TENSE.
Say what you are doing, not what you will do. Your brain gets it right now, not tomorrow. Prepare it by practicing saying what you are doing to make the change possible for you. Erase the past and future tenses. It’s about what you are doing now.
Use the power of the present tense
FEAR OF SUCCESS
There’s something about success that can be intimidating. After all, it might change your life. How different will things be? Can you handle it? What will others say? Will you be able to keep it up? How will you deal with the compliments? The criticisms. Remind yourself of the way you would like things to be.
There are the positives and negatives to any change
How do we break away from those old patterns?
Believe you can make a difference. Self-belief is often overlooked. Yet, it is one of the most powerful means to make a difference. Faith and confidence needs to increase. Ask someone to help you stick the course. It could be walking with a friend or creating a new healthy recipe with a friend. Find ways to support your beliefs.
In anything, that desired must come from the depths of your soul. A place that screams a freedom from the bondage of ordinary. A time in living where struggle for something better must dissipate in order to allow whatever spiritual interventions can bring about a miraculous discovery to be the you that you wish to be. Move out of this place.
So, this season, sharpen your pencils and write one thing you’ll do differently.
So this year, don’t make a New Years resolution. Instead, sharpen your pencil. Make a list in the present tense, do one thing differently, and cross out those things that get in your way. And don’t forget your support.
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. ~ Mark Twain