Thursday, November 15, 2007

Getting an early Start on New Years Resolutions

With New Year’s Day 2008 just around the corner it’s not too early to set those all important New Year’s Resolutions so that we can be prepared to break them earlier than we did last year. For those folks who are reading this and this is your goal, or at least forgone conclusion, save yourself some time and stop reading now…..

For the rest of us let’s look at what we can do to not only reach our goals for 2008 but accelerate through them. To truly be successful we need to understand why we aren’t. Keep in mind that humans, as a whole, are very complex. We may feel in general that we are not successful based on our own measurements. If we break down our activities we will find that we are very good at some things and poor at others. The real question is, are we good at the right things? Congratulate yourselves because no matter who you are, you are successful. You just might not be as successful as you want to be at the things that matter most to you.

Let’s fix that. First of all we have to agree that success is in the mind, literally.

The greatest barrier to achievement and success is not lack of talent or ability but…. Rather… the fact that achievement and success, above a certain level, are outside of our self-concept, our image of who we are and what is appropriate to us.” – “The Power of Self-Esteem”, Nathaniel Branden

We are constantly changing in the direction of our self image. - Abraham Maslow

A man becomes what he thinks about most of the time. - Emerson

Becoming something different takes a concerted effort to change the inner self. The inner self is made up of three important components; the conscious mind, the subconscious mind and the reticular cortex. As we know, the conscious mind takes in new information, makes calculations and decisions and can only handle one thing at a time (serial processing). We can listen at over 450 words per minute and talk at around 150, so it sometime seems like our brain is parallel processing, but it not. It’s simply multitasking or wandering because it has extra unused cycles. The subconscious mind is much the opposite. It runs on a set of rules that are fairly hard to change. Most of them are formed before we are five. Its job is to move us from a position of discomfort to a position of comfort (pleasure-pain principle). It does this by comparing all new information with its existing database and moving away from anything that conflicts with what it deems is its world view. This is a form of Psychosclerosis, hardening of the mind. It does this very quickly and in parallel. It operates much quicker than the conscious mind.

The fun part is the reticular cortex. It’s about the size of your thumb and sits at the base of the brain at the top of your neck. It “wakes up” the brain. Because of all of these unused cycles in your brain, the reticular cortex uses them to scan the environment. It hears conversations your conscious mind does not hear. It sees things that the subconscious does not process up to the conscious. It pushes all this information to the subconscious that then filters it through its little database and helps the conscious mind move you from situations that are uncomfortable to ones that are more comfortable.

All of this just to help explain how to be success with your New Year’s resolutions. Here’s how. You want to reprogram your subconscious to allow through information from the reticular cortex that will improve your chances of achieving your new goals. To do that you need to reprogram your subconscious. You do that by being very purposeful in what you think about. First your goals need to be in the first person, present tense and positive. The subconscious can’t stop things from happening, it can only help make things happen. It’s only interested in “I”. It will not try to help someone else do something, and it’s not overly interested in tomorrow. So if I say “I have lost 10 lbs. on June 1, 2008”. The subconscious will say to itself “No I haven’t, I’m uncomfortable with my weight.” When you look at food the reticular cortex will zoom in on things that will help move toward a more comfortable position. This will work for almost any goal you set, money, relationships, health (doesn’t cure already experience deceases, but will help you live a more healthy life), anger….

It’s not that easy to change the subconscious. You need to write and rewrite your goals every day for as long as it takes to achieve them. Write them the same way every time. Repeat them to yourself several times a day for at least 21 straight days. This is the conscious mind reprogramming the subconscious mind. The reticular cortex is the scout that feed reaffirming information to the subconscious. As you eventually reprogram your subconscious you will be amazed at the opportunities to succeed that the reticular cortex comes across. The opportunity has always been there, but was filtered out….

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