The start of a new year can be seen as a blank page, a chance to start over and make a better year than the one we have just left behind and for many this means making a New Years resolution. The practice of making resolutions dates back 4000 years and many people still make these today. According to statistics 22% of us planned to make a resolution in 2019 and 37% of those came from the 18-24 age group, so it’s not a dying custom (Statista.com). The majority of these resolutions revolve around healthy eating and exercise, but as those of us who’ve made them know that resolutions rarely make it out of January if they even start at all!!!
When we make a resolution we are actually doing so based on tradition and habit and it’s this very thing that could be the secret to success this year. If we could make the thing we want to achieve a habit rather than a forbidden fruit then change becomes possible. Consider these two statements;
1. I will not eat takeaways and cakes
2. I make healthy food choices
Both of these actions will help me to loose weight but whilst the mere thought of the first makes me feel sad, the second makes me feel empowered and brain research supports this;
Every thought releases brain chemicals. Being focused on negative thoughts effectively saps the brain of its positive forcefulness, slows it down, and can go as far as dimming your brain's ability to function, even creating depression.
On the flip side, thinking positive, happy, hopeful, optimistic, joyful thoughts decrease cortisol and produce serotonin, which creates a sense of well-being. This helps your brain function at peak capacity - psychology today
Have you ever told a child not to do something, only to find that seconds later they have done the thing you asked them not to?. My own example of this is when I go to the Indian restaurant and they put a hot plate on the table and tell me not to touch it. I know it’s hot and I wouldn’t have thought about touching it but as soon as they say not to, I have to test out how hot it is (yes you may laugh, I’m not alone in this!). In the same way if we tell ourselves ‘not’ to do it, yes you’ve guessed it we probably will.
The power of positive thinking has long be hailed as an effective way to success, a great number of books have been written on the subject and positive thinking techniques and visualisations are used by many health specialists. One such technique is the use of positive affirmations.
Affirmations are simple statements that seek to bring about self-change, by creating new habits, first in thought, then in action.
We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think - Buddha
My first experience of affirmations was at a yoga class, where I was offered the opportunity to make an affirmation as part of Yoga Nidra relaxation and having seen the success of this technique over the years, I regularly indulge in this practice to bring about change in my life, and not just at new year. Combining affirmations with deep relaxation further boosts the power of the positive message as it is not only planted in the conscious mind, but also in the subconscious mind. You can try this yourself using our free Yoga Nidra for beginners on you tube.
The subconscious mind is ruled by suggestion; it accepts all suggestions - it does not argue with you, it fulfils your wishes - Dr Joseph Murray
As for my resolution this year;
I am the Director of a successful company, bringing the benefits of yoga techniques to children all over the world
Good luck with your affirmations and Happy New Year.