It’s May…How are those new years resolutions going?

I read somewhere that 97% of new years resolutions fail. Not sure how someone comes up with a stat like that, but kinda makes sense to me. Usually, we have made large “resolutions”, sometimes even things we have been wanting to do for years. Fill in the “thing” for you. In tackling these resolutions, there can be some things that get in the way of creating new habits to lasting change, often emotions and old ways of thinking leading the list. What I have come to believe is that whatever we want to accomplish has a much better chance of working and lasting past January if we break down those resolutions into smaller steps.   Small steps often allow us to move through these emotions and old ways of thinking much slower so we allow ourselves time to adjust to our new habits. If your used to seeing yourself 30 pounds overweight, and you are unhappy about it, you have probably have an ongoing way of thinking about yourself when it comes to your weight. A story you, and others, may say over and over again. I am not a psychiatrist, however, even if you could lose 30 pounds in one day your thoughts of “old self” will not have lost “the weight”. When we take a new habit and break it down into smaller steps that are more easily achievable it helps keeps our negative thinking a bit more in check. Actually, there is a book on small steps I really like called “One small step can change your life” by Robert Mauer. He brings up what I have read in other places is that the part of our brain, the amygdala, that controls our fight or flight response is very sensitive to new things. Sensitive, in that it often senses fear in most new things, and will actually put up mental and emotional road blocks to doing the new thing. This part of the brain was a lot more useful when we were cave women and men where danger and death was often around the corner. It kept us from wandering too far, eating new things, leaving the cave at night. But now, most of us, really do not need to be as overly sensitive and the way we are designed has not caught up with the last 20,000 years or so. Actually, in my abundance work, I sometimes see people feel better about this (me too!), that their problems with integrating new habits have probably much more to do with the way we are designed than what we think is just our own lack of discipline.   To get around this “design flaw” Dr. Mauer recommends this small step strategy I’m eluding to. Make your steps to your goal so small that it keeps this part of our brain in check. For example, if your trying to loose 30 pounds, how about focusing on loosing one pound a month, if that is not scary to you. You keep the fear down, because the brain says, “wow, I don’t have to change my whole life right

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away, I can lose just one pound by doing this or that”. My personal one, is that I have been desiring to add more stretching to my daily routine. Right now, I’m doing 4 different stretches, 10 seconds each, every day. Only 40 seconds, my “brain” isn’t scared. Next step… I’m just leaving my yoga mat on the floor, as a visual reminder. Mostly I trip over it more than I do any stretches, but some days I do a bit more. Part of the practice is to give myself credit for these little steps. Of course, sometimes my negative thinking pops in and says negative crap or judges my small steps. I can’t control my thinking, so I let my brain think whatever it wants and practice choosing not believing those negative thoughts and just come back when I’m ready to pat myself on the back for my small steps. As a guide, if your not accomplishing a step you make for yourself repeatedly, likely your not making your steps small enough. What many people find with a small step practice is you allow momentum to build and you allow some of your old ways of thinking to slowly change so your habits are much more likely to be permanent. As the old proverb says:   a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step