Yeah, it’s 2017! Time to press the re-set button and set some new goals!
As we all know, it’s easy to start with great intentions but by the end of January, it can be all over!
So, why does this happen?
Let’s take the example of ‘going to the gym, 3 times a week’.
You start well, with the first couple of weeks keeping to the routine of 3 times a week going to the gym. Then a better offer comes along and you think to yourself, I won’t bother going to the gym tonight. I’ll go tomorrow! Then the rot sets in!
The brain works in such a way that it likes us to follow normal patterns of behaviour eg, getting up in the morning, having a shower, breakfast, brushing your teeth etc. When we disrupt our normal patterns, the brain doesn’t like it. Any distraction to pull us back to our normal ways of being, eg, watching TV, lounging around on the sofa; the brain will take us back to these behaviours.
Essentially your brain follows the process below:
Unconscious / Conscious / Conscious / Unconscious
Incompetence / Incompetence / Competence / Competence
Continuing the ‘going to the gym’ example. The brain doesn’t know how to go to the gym, so at this point the unconscious mind doesn’t have the experience to draw on. This is why it is called ‘unconscious incompetence’.
To over-ride this, you need to consciously realise that the behaviour/routine you want to install, is new. Therefore, you need to tell yourself,’ today I am going to the gym’. This is ‘conscious incompetence’. You are still in ‘learning’ mode, so you have to train yourself to diarise going to the gym 3 times a week.
After a few weeks, your brain starts to realise ‘okay, this is a new routine’. This is known as ‘conscious competence’ as you are still thinking about the new behaviour, in this case, going to the gym.
It takes around 12 weeks (minimum) for a new habit to be installed. You will know when it happens, because, using my example, going to the gym just becomes a natural habit. This is known as the ‘unconscious competence’.
So, to ensure your new years resolutions stick, make sure you consciously think about doing the new behaviour for at least 12 weeks, to give time for your brain to realise this is the new ‘norm’ of being!