Motivational speaker Steven Campbell authored a book called, Making Your Mind Magnificent: Flourishing At Any Age, in order to help people understand and apply the power of our minds as it relates to the physiology of our brains and leading a fulfilled life. Campbell is the host of a radio talk show called, “Your Amazing Mind” in Sonoma, Ca., and he is a Banana Moments contributor.
Most of our resolutions (New Year’s or not) sound something like, “I WILL walk three miles every other day!” or “I really should lose that weight this year!”
And they usually don’t work.
Why is that? The reason is that when we proclaim, “I WILL walk three miles every other day,” our mind responds, “Good for you! Sounds great! Maybe you will…maybe you won’t! How should I know? I can’t control the future!” I’m busy enough just dealing with the present!”
Another Reason Your Resolutions Don’t Work
Another reason is that they concentrate on what we are doing, rather than how we see ourselves. The psychological term for how we see ourselves is ‘self-image,’ and it is important to know that we do not have one self-image, we probably have thousands, or tens of thousands. I use the word ‘probably’ because we really don’t know how many each of us have, but we do have one for every ability, habit, aptitude, skill, capability, capacity, talent, gift, and knack. And the list goes on and on.
And where do these self-images come from? Psychologists now agree that they primarily come from what we say to ourselves…about ourselves… today.
Let me say take that farther! Everything that we are…and everything we can do…come from what we say to ourselves…about ourselves…TODAY
When Dr. Albert Ellis (one of the founders of cognitive psychology in the early sixties) posited this in his first book titled A Guide to Rational Living, he turned psychology on its ear. “No, No!” it screamed! “Freudianism says that the way you are today comes from how you were raised, and ‘unresolved childhood conflicts.” The behaviorists said that our behavior was a result of cause-and-effect. Ethnology said it was all in our genes, and the environmentalists said that how we behave is from our environment (our birth order, our culture, our family, etc.) Dr. Ellis responded by saying that they were all true.
Wait a minute! How could they all be true?
Because when you say it, your brain believes it, and when you say it long enough and often enough, your brain rewires itself to make it true. (Psychology calls this ‘neuroplasticity.’) For instance, up to the age of 42, I told myself that I was ‘stupid in math.’ And you know what? I was! When I switched that message, guess what I discovered. Math is easy to me, and I ended up teaching college math and writing two college text books contain a lot of…guess what…math!
So, let’s take this information and plug it into New Year’s Resolutions that actually work.
If everything you are, and everything you can do, is primarily based on what you say to yourself about yourself today, when can you change what you to yourself? Today! Right Now! As you are reading this!
Goal Setting has nothing to do with time!
So…if you are one of the 60% of Americans who either “usually” or “Infrequently” make New Year Resolutions, realize that there is an important element you need to understand, and that is that goal-setting usually has nothing to do with time.
Goal setting has to do with what you want
If your goal is to lose a certain number of pounds “in a year,” you lock out losing them quicker. Further, when you attach a time-element to a goal, your mind usually waits until the very last minute to get serious about fulfilling it, and then it is usually too late…and you give up.
Remember…your mind does not like change, and it undermines you when it can.
So what is the shortest time frame you can have for reaching a goal? A year? No! A month? No! A week? No…keep going! A day? No.
Yes…NOW! When you write your goals, you write them as if they have already occurred…now!. You have already paid off that loan, you have already lost that weight, you have already taken that trip to Alaska….now! But you haven’t! So you have a problem. You have created a gap that needs to be closed. And your mind becomes a driving force to fix that problem…to straighten the picture….to close the gap. .
Now…some goals may require two years, so go ahead and write down two years. For most goals however, writing them down as if they have already happened energizes you in unbelievable ways. Your mind truly becomes your strongest motivating force. The reason is because you are telling yourself that you have it, and you don’t! You are telling yourself that you have lost the weight, and you have not. You are telling yourself that you no longer do this or that, and you are still doing it. And your brain becomes your very own mentor to close that gap.
Wow! What a wonderful way to start the New Year!
(Note: Stephen Campbell will be a featured speaker at the first inaugural Banana Moments Foundation event on “Meeting the Spiritual and Mental Health Needs of Modern Youth and Families”, on June 13, 2015, 8 a.m. This event is limited seating and will be offered through invitation to professionals serving youth and families. There will be CEUs for behavioral therapy, nursing and addiction intervention and recovery counseling.)