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How are your new year resolutions going, going, gone?

There is something about the new year that feels right for bringing in changes in our lives, a natural fresh start point, and yet evidence is that most of our resolutions will have fallen by the wayside before January is finished. The diet may have got off to a bad start as you realise how many sweet treats are still lying around. The first flush of enthusiasm for the gym will have waned. And as we return 'back' to work, we go back to so many of the bad habits we promised ourselves we were going to change. But does it have to be that way?

No, of course not! So what is it that stops us achieving the goals we set ourselves? And why is it that some goals seem easier to stay on track with than others? Hopefully it goes without saying that we are all different, with different personality traits, values, and belief systems. And because we are all different there is no one answer to getting this right, so read on, and find those things that are about you. Someone else only has their best answer, and only you have yours.

Lets take a look at a couple of personality traits that are really simple examples of how, understanding yourself, helps you to succeed. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Sometimes there is some confusion over this, as people mix this up with how confident people are in situations. For example I am an introvert, and nonetheless confident in public speaking and leadership positions. Being an introvert means that when I'm tired I recover energy by spending time alone, and generally find being in constant company quite draining after a while. Extroverts, on the other hand, draw energy from being around other people. This can be challenging for those working from home if you happen to find you work at your best when surrounded by others. So if you are looking to get fit, and you're an extrovert, join a class, if you are an introvert get yourself some headphones and get on a bike or crosstrainer.

Perhaps less well known is another trait that affects our motivation. Did you know your motivation has a direction? Think for a moment about what you want in a job, or if you buy a lottery ticket, why you want to win the lottery. For some people it is about being rich, or about the difference they can make, or freedom to choose. For others is it about not being poor, or struggling. Some of us move towards things we want, and others move away from consequences that they don't want. If you were given a project to do that would take 5 days work to complete, and were given it 3 months in advance, when would you start it? Straight away, or 5 days before the deadline? There's a good chance that if you would start straight away, you motivation direction is 'towards', whereas those that leave until close to the deadline are often motivated 'away from' consequences. Neither is right or wrong, good or bad, but they are different. Towards motivated people find it much easier to set and achieve goals. Away from people tend to lose motivation the further they get from the consequences, They are the yo-yo dieters of the world. Tip: if you are a yo-yo dieter then as soon as you drop a clothing size through out EVERYTHING that is too big for you. It helps to keep the consequences nearer to you.

Our values are those things that are most important to us, and our motivation very much stems from these deep seated characteristics. If you are considering changes because you think you should, ask yourself who says you should? You or someone else? What is the motivation for making the change and how important to you is it? To sustain change we need our unconscious to work on it even when our conscious mind is no longer focusing on it. Change that feels hard is often because we are consciously trying to change, and all of our unconscious habits are working against it. You will have a good idea that your values are getting in the way if you know how to make the change you want, and believe it is possible, but still don't achieve the change.

Our beliefs are really important. They are the on off switches. If we believe something will be hard, then funnily enough it is. If instead, we believe that each small step is easy, and all we need to do is take that one small step, then the goal seems much more achievable. If you are stuck in a rut where you find yourself thinking you can't do something, then make one small change. Change your self talk to 'I haven't done this yet, but I can take the next small step'.

I often teach people who are working on goals to use time and story telling to help make them easier. Take something you want to achieve this year and spend the next few minutes really paying attention to what life will be like when you achieve it. A little bit like dreaming, allow your imagination to run freely about what you will see around you when you achieve this goal, what will you hear going on around you, how will you be feeling? Add plenty of colour and spend sometime really 'living' your dream. When its as vivid as you can make it take a look back and notice what you did to achieve it. What obstacles did you have to overcome and how did you do it? Who helped you when you needed it? Looking back from the point of success, tell yourself the story of how you did it.

Your unconscious mind doesn't know the difference between fiction and reality, that is the job of the conscious mind. Your unconscious mind also loves stories, and it is where your motivation is held. The more vividly you imagine life having achieved your goal, your unconscious accepts it as a reality, you just haven't caught up in time yet, and so it works to match up your external reality with your internal one. There are still action steps to turn the dream into reality, but you take them in the increasing belief they are possible.

If you are struggling with your new year resolutions or setting your goals, we will be covering effective goal setting, belief changes and more on our upcoming NLP Practitioner training course starting 28th January in Leeds. Or contact us for a coaching and hypnotherapy session to get you off to the best start

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