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Three Tips for Keeping Resolutions

The New Year does provide us with a mental clean slate and a feeling of starting anew, so we often make resolutions.  What kinds of resolutions should we make?  How do we see them through?  What happens when we “fail” at keeping these resolutions? 

I have three tips to address these questions.

1.  From a neuroscience standpoint, we should start small (pick one) and focus on easing into that change and building upon it going forward.  If we list out 5 things we are going to change this spreads our focus pretty thin, but if we pick one change and give ourselves permission to have laser focus on it – our brain won’t feel so overwhelmed and we’ll be more likely to follow through. 

As we follow through with our one change, we’ll begin to feel the rewards of small successes and we’ll be more motivated to build on that and make other desired changes.  Success builds upon success.

2.  Be forgiving and be flexible.  If on day 3 of the new year you’ve already “fallen off the wagon” – that’s okay!  Just forgive yourself and get back up on it.  Approach your resolution with the flexibility to course correct, to change your approach altogether, and to add or subtract behaviors as needed.

When you get rigid and perfectionistic, you are setting your brain up to fail.  Your brain says, “I cannot do this thing, it’s too much, I don’t like it” and down you go, back into the slump or the old unwanted behavior.  When we are forgiving and flexible our brain says, “this isn’t so bad, I can do this slowly and progressively, one step at a time”. 

3.  Remember – you completely regenerate every four days.  This is not so much a tip as it is a fact that is helpful.  Every cell in your brain and body will regenerate every four days.  You will essentially be a brand new version of you every four days.  If we remember this, we are more apt to want to feed our cells nourishing foods, and feed our mind nourishing thoughts.  If we nourish ourselves more often than not, we will be able to keep growing that positive change we set for ourselves in the form of a resolution.

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