Resolutions or lasting change?

It’s almost time for New Year’s Resolutions. It has a pretty poor track record and yet we resort to it time and again. There is something refreshing and encouraging about the possibility to start over, to make significant changes, to alter the course of our lives.

Really, the most powerful force we have to change our trajectory is to form healthy habits. When we break this down, we find habits are built on continuous, repeated behaviours. By reinforcing these behaviours regularly we form new mental pathways that make them easier to repeat. This is a sound theory when we create new habits.

New Year’s Resolutions are not created in a vacuum. I already have a bunch of habits and default behaviours. Many of which I hope to upgrade with new, healthy ones. This requires breaking down old habits. This takes much longer. The pathways are already there. They are easy and lubricated.

Behaviour is not enough. You need a powerful driver. A ‘why’ to unlock the extra energy needed to drive this change. Artificial drivers (goals, dreams, hopes) don’t last long enough to destroy old patterns and so we fail.

Authentic drivers happen when our worldview shifts. When our fundamental belief in ourselves as healthy, happy, productive, entrepreneurial, adventurous people living healthy lives start to find expression in behaviours and then habits.

The challenge is not creating healthy habits. It’s to create healthy thinking. Until we change that, our resolutions are doomed to fail.

Jim Strasma

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