With the New Year come those Resolutions that many of us earnestly make. And break. January is over and it's likely that some readers have already seen a well-intended "commitment" fall by the wayside. Then there are those folks who say, "Oh, I don't make New Year's Resolutions." Translation: "I've failed so many times that I don't even bother anymore."
I've been going to gyms for most of my adult life and I see the pattern repeat itself year after year. January brings a flood of new members fired up about getting in shape and losing weight. We regulars know that come February things will be pretty much back to normal as the newbies find any number of excuses to return to their old behavior.
What's going on here? People are taking a look at their lives, focusing on an area that needs improvement, promising themselves that they're going to do something about it, then-----not. Are folks really that lame? Do they lack sufficient willpower? Why do they give up so quickly?
The late great Dr. Wayne Dyer wrote a book called, "Change Your Thoughts--Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao" that eloquently addresses these questions far beyond the level of broken New Year's Resolutions. In summary, he shares that before lasting change can manifest on the outside we must first improve our internal dialogue.
For example, it's all well and good to declare, "I want to lose 20 pounds," and with sufficient diligence that goal is certainly achievable. But without examining and changing the thoughts that have led to the actions resulting in being overweight, what chance is there for the loss to be permanent?
Make no mistake, thought precedes every action we take. Or don't take, whether we are consciously aware of the thoughts or not. Staying with our overweight example, let's face it, accumulating that much extra body weight takes a sustained effort over a long period of time. Nobody wakes up one morning and says, "Holy ____!! What happened?? I was twenty pounds lighter when I went to bed last night!!"
Many people attempt to analyze through therapy or deep introspection the consciousness that results in undesirable behaviors. This journey into the “Land of Why” can be productive in uncovering hidden origins of dysfunction but runs the risk of wandering aimlessly in one’s mental wilderness. Exploring the ramifications of "I have an unhealthy relationship with food" or "My self esteem is so low" or "I had such a horrible childhood" is ultimately wasted effort unless you finally reach the point of asking, “Okay, now what?”
A more direct route to behavior modification is to simply overlay your existing counterproductive thought patterns with new ones that support the actions, behavior, and results that you desire. I say "simply" for a very simple reason--we are the sole owners of our thoughts, every single one of them, so thinking different ones is as easy (or difficult) as we believe.
A lot of what goes on between our ears isn't really "thinking" at all. It's more like cruise control/auto pilot murmuring that keeps us from having to actively engage in every moment of our lives. To a degree that's fine because those moments sure come and go quickly, and all of them may not be particularly significant. What gets us into trouble is when we allow such habitual thinking to keep us from engaging with any moments.
Then we don't notice that we're constantly overeating and under-exercising. As bellies protrude women fasten their pants below their breasts and guys above their manhood while proclaiming, “Hey, I still wear the same size!”. Looking in the mirror after a shower somehow all that is seen is a head and a neck, perhaps because it’s just too painful to notice the parts we don’t like.
The key to permanent weight loss, better eating habits, and getting proper exercise is making this declaration: I AM HEALTH.
That's it? Yes, because when you embrace and become these words then consistently act upon them, your choices automatically align with your beliefs. When you are health, would you consume a poor diet? Never exercise? Weigh too much? Of course not, because such behavior does not support who and what you are.
"Come on, nothing's that easy," you may be saying. You know what--if that's what you believe, then you're right. But the truth of the matter is, nothing permanently changes until there is a fundamental shift in thought. Consider the plight of a hopeless alcoholic or drug addict. Friends and family try to help--counseling, intervention, rehab. But all outside attempts of assistance are in vain until that person declares once and for all, "I cannot do this anymore." In that moment everything changes.
If someone that far gone can turn his life around by an unwavering shift in consciousness, so can we all. Being healthy and physically fit at any age is no accident. Manifesting the "I am Health" mantra influences consistent behavior that supports a vibrant lifestyle. “Consistent” doesn’t have to mean “fanatical.” Enjoying occasional indulgences creates no sense of guilt and can contribute to an overall sense of well being when doing so is the exception rather than the rule.
These comments and suggestions have been related specifically to health but can be applied to any area of life. Examine your own life and circumstances and have fun creating solutions to challenges that have in the past been burdensome.
New Year's Resolutions don't have to be a guilt trip. Wouldn’t you love instead to celebrate a personal victory? Try a new approach this time. Focus on "being" instead of "getting" and watch what happens!