We’re well passed the 6-week mark of the new year and by this time more than 80% of resolutions have failed. Bummer. Why?!?!
The simplest solution I have conceived is:
“A New Year’s Resolution is set in the conscious mind whereas most behaviors are rooted in the subconscious mind.”
In other words, we WANT to change but we’re being subconsciously BLOCKED.
This is probably why behavior change is so difficult for most people because until we truly and fully subscribe to a change it really isn’t becoming ingrained in our subconscious brain. As it turns out, most of our subconscious wiring occurs between the ages of 0-6 years. Which means, most of your learned behaviors happen long before you’re even conscious of them. What?!?
Have you noticed how a baby will subconsciously or instinctively figure out how to have its needs met by behaving in such a way that lead its parent(s) into taking the desired action. And, if the parent(s) does not pick up on these clues then a child is destined to not have its needs met and this could ultimately result in emotional pain or trauma which will likely playout in that person’s behavior for the rest of their life… unless it is appropriately addressed.
People change behavior, in a moment, when it truly is THAT important to them.
Actions speak louder than words, right?
A new father quits smoking, cold-turkey, when his first child is born. A long-time alcoholic quits drinking instantly when she kills someone while drunk-driving. A morbidly obese person one day, seemingly out of nowhere, decides they’ve had enough and instantly changes their lifestyle and begins exercising and making better food choices on a random Tuesday. A person will “drop everything” when their smartphone breaks and go get it fixed even if that means going to work late, taking a long lunch or skipping meeting up with friends after work. It’s THAT important.
Unfortunately, and perhaps thankfully, most of us have not had a catastrophic event that shocked our emotional state and instantly re-wired our subconscious brain. What this means is, for most of us, our pre-existing subconscious wiring is guiding our behavior.
What behaviors are you struggling with and why?
What emotional need was not met or violated as a child?
Some techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can do wonders for addressing specific behaviors. The goal here is to replace the undesirable behavior with the desired behavior until the desired behavior becomes ingrained in the subconscious and the “new” habit. In other words, hold on consciously until you’re able to re-wire the subconscious. Perhaps this is where the “21-day rule to form a habit” is based.
In some cases, it may not be necessary to understand the underlying cause of the behavior however, I believe the greatest chance for success is to understand the root cause. In doing so, that knowledge is empowering and disarming and by addressing it the behavior change will be much easier and more natural.
In summary, New Year’s Resolutions fail because the decision is made in the conscious mind while behavior is driven by the subconscious mind. Re-wire your subconscious and the behavior change will be far more likely to stick.
Do that you may never need a resolution again!