New Year, New You
How are you getting on with your New Year Resolutions? If you’ve not stuck to them quite the way you wanted to, don’t despair – you are not alone! We are notorious for breaking our New Year resolutions.
Only 8% of us succeed in our resolutions and a staggering quarter of us make and fail at the SAME resolution each year!
Why is it that this happens for so many of us?
Why do we fail when our intentions are so good?
The reason so many of us struggle with making behaviour change is that willpower doesn’t work! Research shows us that willpower is a limited resource that is directly linked to how much brain energy we have available. The problem is that making so many decisions throughout our busy days takes up a lot of that brain energy, or more precisely, glucose. And when our glucose levels get low, so does our willpower. No glucose, no willpower. When people have more demands for self-control in their day – like deciding to give up their snack breaks or drinking water instead of fizzy drinks – the more decisions they have to make, the more glucose is used up and it becomes more and more difficult to maintain our willpower as the day goes on.
We get what we call “decision fatigue” – this is why our capacity to resist desires gets weaker throughout the day. We’ve all experienced this! It’s January and you’ve made the decision to only eat healthy snacks – you’re pretty sure you can manage this as you normally only have a snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon. It’s your first day back at work and you’ve come armed with plenty of fresh fruit to keep you fuelled up throughout the day. As more of your colleagues start to arrive the table in the staff kitchen gets loaded down with biscuits and chocolates that are left over from Christmas but you’re fine – you have your fruit! Every time you go to the kitchen you have to consciously make a decision not to eat the unhealthy food. You go back to your desk and have an apple. Next time you have a cup of tea you have to resist the urge to eat the biscuits again. In addition to that you have lots of emails that have built up over the Christmas break that require you to make decisions – even small decision like whether to delete the email, respond to it, or leave it to answer later on; you need to decide if you should go for a coffee with a friend after work or go to the supermarket to get more healthy food; you need to decide what you are having for dinner tonight; you need to decide whether you should go to that meeting or send a deputy; you need to decide on how to prioritise your “to-do” list. Very soon it’s time to leave for home and a quick trip to the kitchen to wash up your cup requires yet more resistance to make sure you don’t eat the biscuits!
You drive home feeling rather pleased with yourself – not one biscuit has passed your lips today, you have eaten an apple and banana instead which must be healthier surely? On the way home you get stuck in traffic and have to make a decision to take a detour which means that more decisions need to me made – which is the best way to go, does this detour mean it’s better not to see your friend, will the delay have an impact on what you’ve chosen to have for dinner, do you need to have something else instead? Finally, you get home, tired and hungry and all those good intentions to eat healthily go out the window – you throw a frozen pizza in the oven and sit down to wait whilst tucking in to that box of chocolates Aunty Betty bought you for Christmas. All your brain energy has been used up, all your willpower has gone and you no longer have the capacity to resist the urges.
As you can see it’s very easy to quickly use up your willpower on resistance and making choices throughout the day and by the time you get to the evening you have none left so you give in – sound familiar?
So if willpower isn’t the answer what can you do to keep your New Year’s Resolutions?
One of the reasons willpower doesn’t work is that it requires us to make a decision to go against an existing behaviour. These automatic behaviour responses, often referred to as habits, are set in our subconscious mind and our brain likes them because they are safe and familiar. To actively do something different requires you to make a choice and use up your willpower and, as we’ve already seen, this can’t be relied on.
Hypnotherapy is a great way to keep your motivation levels high and succeed in behaviour change because it allows us to access the subconscious part of our brain where these “bad” habits are stored.
Normally, habits are formed through repetition and in order to set a new good habit we have to repeat it over and over and over again and, at the same time we need to stop doing the old habit. Both of which require willpower and we know that our willpower isn’t strong enough to keep up that kind of repetitive behaviour.
But hypnotherapy allows us to fast track this process, helping us to form new behaviour patterns quicker, overwriting those old behaviour patterns so that they aren’t lurking there, ready to highjack you next time you have a tough day.
If you’re still struggling to achieve the changes you want to make it might be time to book in to see your local Inspired to Change Hypnotherapist for your FREE initial consultation.
Don’t forget to check out our Top Tips for Sticking to Your New Year Resolutions!
If you’d like to find out how hypnotherapy could help you achieve your goals get in touch with your local Inspired to Change hypnotherapist and book your FREE initial consultation. Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are based across the UK in Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Devon, Kent, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Norfolk and Somerset.
Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are all recognised by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, the UK’s leading not-for-profit hypnotherapy professional association.
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