As we’re entering the new year, the pressure is up for joining the bandwagon of “new year, new me”, especially when this year is ringing in the heavy-weight motto of “2020 vision”. So, does this mean that when that clock strikes midnight, we’ll all of a sudden see all the things we need to see to do all the things we need to do? Eh, maybe not to that degree.
What I do encourage you to do, however, is let the “hype” inspire you!
Let it stretch your mind thin to think of all the growth you want to make this year, BUT THEN work backward.
It’s quite often that we make these huge New Year Resolutions but then get filled with disappointment when you don’t reach them.
The relationship that you have with yourself is key to getting through challenges. This is because it is YOU who is going to have to be there for yourself when you shuffle off the path towards achieving that goal.
Because the truth is….
Creating change is RIDICULOUSLY HARD.
Want the good news? It’s not because we’re ridiculously lazy human beings. There is actual scientific evidence to back up why breaking old patterns and starting new ones is challenging.
We’re going against our biological, habitual-nature of being in autopilot when we try to make a change.
Let's take the human act of walking, for example. For the most part, walking is accomplished fairly easy for the larger part of society. Through the years, we've created a state of autopilot since we don’t stop to think about each and every step we’re taking to make sure that we don’t fall. However, there was a point that it was a challenge.
When we were babies, we would attempt to walk but would undoubtedly end up falling. Sometimes those falls would leave us hesitant, or even exhausted to try again. Therefore, sometimes when our caretaker would say “come on, walk for me!” our bodies were countering that with all the reasons we should not even dare try again. Until we did again. When we rose and put one foot forward and then another, we were met with support and praise, amplifying the desire to do it again and again. It was through all these elements that the new habit of walking was cultivated.
So, let’s break this down.
The big goal was to walk, the long-term goal was to walk without falling, the short-term goal was just taking a single step. Now let’s add the components that will make all this possible.
1) The relationship with yourself is paramount. You will fall. You are learning to do something you’ve never done before, with that said, you will “mess up”. Accepting that falling is part of the process will help you add in factors of self-kindness and self-forgiveness. It’s in these sentiments that you’ll have yourself up and trying to walk again.
2) When we fall it’s because our mind is going towards the path of least resistance. When doing something new, the brain is met with neurons that have never connected before, making the task foreign and challenging. However, once a pathway is securely connected, it can become second nature (i.e. walking).
3) Having a support group around you when working towards creating new habits is extremely helpful! The people that you find support from can be helpful and also supply words of encouragement for when the falls do happen.
4) Having a big goal and breaking it down to smaller goals is a lot more manageable because you are essentially etching out the new mental pathway that you want to connect. For example, I have never seen a baby go from standing for the first time to a full-on strut down the catwalk. This was because the mental pathway was not there yet. To understand the walk, you have to become comfortable with the step.
So, let’s get excited for the start of the New Year! It’s a time where new goals are put in place to see growth start to evolve. I encourage you to come prepared with the steps, the support, and most importantly, the relationship with you- to have you feeling fulfilled in the goals you put forward.
Dr. Claudia Caprio