Lasting Change

After a difficult year, the excess of Christmas or with hope for the year approaching we often reflect on what we would change about ourselves and our lives. New Year’s Resolutions can be a light-hearted way of talking about these changes with family and friends but do they work?

  • Lose weight
  • Quit Smoking
  • Better work life balance
  • Find love

Listed above are some of the most common resolutions, but how many of us will use these same resolutions year after year? A 2007 University of Bristol study says that 88% of us who come up with a New Year’s Resolution (with the best intentions) will fail to see them through and the NHS quotes that just 1 in 10 will keep their resolution throughout the year.

It might seem like a good idea to take stock and make changes to our lives but we often take on too much too soon. Crash diets for example, just don’t work and can in fact have negative health impacts. Current research shows us that after five years, two thirds of dieters put more weight on than they had originally lost. Constantly trying and failing can also impact our confidence and re-affirm that we have ‘that type of personality’ or that it’s ‘part of who we are’. So, what can we do to ensure LASTING CHANGE?

Firstly, start small and be specific – Telling ourselves to ‘Eat Healthily’ or ‘Get more Exercise’ is admirable but what does it mean? Why not try cutting out that break time kit-kat habit or go for a walk each morning or evening around work.

Spot and use your old cue’s – If every time you go into a coffee shop you get a gingerbread latte and some cake don’t just avoid the social time or sit silently without your favourite snacks. Replace them with tea or a skinny latte and take that book you’ve been meaning to read for the last year.

Make it achievable in the first week – Thanks to neuroplasticity it takes around 45 days to create new neural network (a new habit). You’re far more likely to keep these habits up if it’s planned and achievable. Start by walking an extra 10 minutes a day and then build up to 20, 30… or however long you like. You might even find after a while you feel great but decide to swap walking for swimming, going to the gym or even preparing for a new challenge like a 5 or 10K.

Creating new habits can seem daunting and we often hear people discussing their lack of ‘willpower’. Let’s not forget though, that we each have hundreds of small habits that we create regularly – whether it’s that new Netflix fix, finding a quicker route to work or eating chocolate every day over the festive period. For more on why and what we can do to change our habits see my recent post – Kick The Habit.

If you’re ready to quit smoking, stop a fear or phobia in its tracks or for motivation to control your weight, change your situation or push your sporting limits why not get in touch today and see how the solution focused approach can help you.

Ben Gaskell MA HPD SFH SUP DSFH MNCH (Reg.) CNHC-Reg is a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist working with clients who suffer from anxiety, stress, low mood and phobias. Based in both Deansgate, Central Manchester and the Stretford area of Greater Manchester he serves the local and surrounding areas of Urmston, Didsbury, Sale, Chorlton, Hale, Altrincham and Trafford. Further details can be found on ‘getting here’ or my ‘contact’ page. For more information on how Ben at Greater Manchester Hypnotherapy can help you please call 07756 932 702 or email [email protected].