At the beginning of the year so many people make resolutions… to lose weight, to get fit, to change jobs, to find a partner. It’s why gyms across the city are packed with people in January and February on a quest to shed some of the Christmas pounds. But why are the gyms returning to normal usage by March and April? Why is it that so many people don’t follow through on their new year resolutions? I’m as guilty as the next person for not following through on some of these goals.

Often a lack of time is blamed… or life gets in the way.

But, honestly, what is the reality? The reality is that the goal was not a high enough priority. I don’t buy the reason that “there isn’t enough time”. We have all the time we’re ever going to have. We cannot create more time. We can make more time for the things that are of a high priority.

Let me give you an example. You may “not have time” to go to the gym today, but you do have time to work late, visit friends, watch television, go shopping or attend an evening course etc. I only use the example of going to the gym because it seems to be one of the most common resolutions.

So how can you make a new year resolution become a part of who you are, to become a new habit?

When NASA was first preparing its astronauts for space they were concerned of how the convex lens of their helmets would cause disorientation. So they had the would-be astronauts wear convex goggles which made everything appear upside down. After 21 days the astronauts’ minds had flipped the image back so that everything appeared normal even though they were still wearing the goggles. For a group of the astronauts they removed the goggles for one day on day 17, and found that for the mind to flip the images the 21 day period started all over again, even though the habit was broken for just one day.

From this we can conclude that it takes a minimum of three consecutive weeks of doing a new task before it becomes a habit. Make that four weeks to be on the safe side.

What stops people from doing something consistently for just three or four weeks? The answer – a decent reason. If the reason is not important enough and the want is not great enough then why would anyone do something different?

It’s about creating a strong reason, backed up with feeling, emotion and a concrete desire to change. It’s about creating a vision for where you want to get to. Seeing that vision clearly in your mind’s eye and having a knowing that you will get there. It’s about moving yourself towards that vision without hesitation and making time for it, because it is the highest priority. Any resolution with power needs to be a stepping stone to fulfilling the vision you have for yourself. If it’s part of your big plan then you’ll have reason to strive to achieve it.

One thing you’ll also know is that if things get uncomfortable, then you are moving yourself forward. When you are uncomfortable you are working outside your comfort zone and expanding it.

So, know where you want to get to. See that clearly in your mind. Visualize it every day. Set resolutions or goals that will propel you there and follow through every day and your life will change!

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” – Helen Keller 1880-1968

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