Contrary to what you might think after having seen past New Year's Resolutions dissolve in frustration and failure, the brain is the organ of change. The concept in neuroscience called neuroplasticity demonstrates that the brain alters itself every time we learn something new. Our nerve cells are specially arranged by what we learn, what we remember, what we experience, what we feel and what we envision. Our 100 billion brain cells are always communicating with the rest of our anatomy. If you learn even one new bit of information today, tiny brain cells will make new connections within the living lattice work of your system. In other words, when we really change our mind, the brain changes…and then we can effect permanent, lasting change.
If you want to Make Change Stick, here are seven initial steps to start you on the path.
1) INTENTION, INTENTION, INTENTION
Write a clear and simple resolution statement. This tells your brain that you mean it. Make sure your mission statement creates a positive feeling for you. Avoid words such as not and don't. Make your resolution specific. Instead of saying you want to eat healthier, say, "I will eat a fresh healthy salad once a day so that I look better and feel better about myself."
2) SPONSORING THOUGHTS
List strong reasons about why you want to change. This is the biggest secret to making change stick. You should feel passionate about each one of these thoughts. Be specific. For example, if you are interested in losing weight, one reason could be to wear your mother's wedding dress for your wedding ceremony in five months.
3) REVIEW, REMIND AND PRIME
Create a plan. Review your actions steps daily. To get yourself in the right state of mind, review your specific behaviors for the day when you wake up in the morning and/or before you go to bed in the evening. Your mental rehearsal can install the neurological hardware and software so that you have the circuits in place to use when executing changes. For instance, questions like: "What do I have to do to get there?" Write down the steps. "When do I need to have those steps taken?" Think of this as reviewing your map on your journey to change. The more you do it the easier it is to get to your destination.
4) ALIGN YOUR BEHAVIOR TO MATCH YOUR INTENTION
Hold yourself accountable by demonstrating change in your entire day. One of the hardest parts of breaking a habit is to not make the same choices you made days, weeks or months prior. When you decide what you are not going to do that day, it will help keep you on task. The biggest reason most people fall short of their vision relates to giving into familiar feelings. This is when you take your 'new you' for a test drive. Your daily goals will always be in alignment with your ongoing intention.
5) TRACK YOUR CHANGES
Create a reward system for yourself. If you can create a chart or a ledger that you review daily and then check your wins each day, you will begin to make your discipline and changes a new habit….and build a new feeling of self-esteem, worth and belief that you are doing it. It's always good to see how far you have come and how you are doing.
6) COME OUT OF YOUR RESTING STATE: CHANGE YOUR ENERGY
Change can be uncomfortable. When we are in the midst of change, it feels unnatural, unfamiliar and uncertain because we are no longer 'being' the same person. You are in the unknown. We are changing how we think, act and feel; therefore, each day when you begin, you must lift yourself into a new state of being and raise your energy. Questions like: "How would I have to 'be' today to master my day?" "How would I feel in my future when I am this person?" These are key ingredients.
7) CUE YOUR ENVIRONMENT
These will keep you on task by reminding you that what you are doing is important. The more you stay conscious of your future, the more inspired you will be to overcome your present reality.
Dr. Dispenza is a brain/change expert and author of the international bestselling books
Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One, and Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind. He was also featured in
What the BLEEP Do We Know!? Dispenza will be leading the Making Change Stick workshop Saturday, January 19 which can be streamed live online. For more information, visit DrJoeDispenza.com.