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Why New Years Resolutions Don’t Work…and what you can do about it

The secret to real change in 2013: Getting organized by outsmarting your brain

Soon,, many people will be busy resolving to make 2013 the best year ever. Some, however, think that New Year’s Resolutions are a lot of hot air. Most of the time, they are right.

Human beings often live on the island of Good Intention. We mean to lose weight, eat better, become better parents, take that trip, and keep in touch with dear friends. What happens? Life gets in the way.

For example, you resolve to eat right and exercise on January 1. This will be my year, you say. Then, the kids get sick and you need to take time off from work. You can’t get to the gym to exercise 5 times a week now, as you had resolved to do. And you are not able to get to the grocery store to buy all those organic leafy greens, so you resort to the frozen pizza and potato chips lurking in your coffers for a quick snack.  A few days go by, and when the child’s fever lifts you look around and say, why bother? This is not going to work. I am not cut out to be a lean, mean machine.

human brain

Following through and establishing new habits can be extremely difficult tasks. As humans, we are biologically trained to live in homeostasis. That is, our bodies are, biologically, resistant to change.  It’s actually in our makeup.

The good news: neuroplasticity. Through the science of neuroplasticity, we can train our brains to accept change.

Are you ready? Follow these 7 easy steps for real change in 2013:

  1. Focus on one aspect of your life you would like to change. Example: you want to become known in your field as an expert; a thought leader. This is a powerful goal, and must be broken down into manageable steps.
  2. Map out your steps. For example, thought leaders are on top of their industry related reading. But, you have piles of periodicals around your home and office that you simply cannot find the time to read. You need to carve out time for this.
  3. Implement step one. In this example, you need more time for the reading. Take a good look at your day. Can you wake up 30 minutes earlier than you do now?
  4. Analyze your progress. After two weeks, is your new habit starting to take root?
  5. Adjust as required. If yes, you are getting more reading done, but, at this rate it will take 2.5 years to “catch up”, then it’s time to adjust. A speed reading course, perhaps?
  6. Analyze your progress. Once you complete the speed reading course, are you feeling more in control of your reading? Are you starting to feel more like the thought leader you envisioned?
  7. Rinse and repeat. Every two weeks, analyze and adjust. All projects start with a vision, then a current assessment, and finally an action plan. Once the action plan is accomplished, it’s time to compare your results to your original vision (a current assessment). Does your vision need to be tweaked? If you keep repeating this cycle of vision, current assessment, action plan…you will reach your goal.


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