New Year’s Resolutions FAIL for These 2 Reasons

It’s that time of year when we start thinking about the new year and what we want to accomplish in 2018. Or maybe what we want to change?

Along with billions of other people on the planet, we make a New Year’s Resolution.

Maybe it’s to give up sugar, eat more vegetables, quit smoking, exercise more, reduce your alcohol intake, cut back on spending, meditate (more often), get a promotion, find more balance in your life…

It feels good to make New Year’s Resolutions – particularly in light of the recent overindulging.

So come January 1st, things are going to change!

But let’s make sure your plan is going to work.

Because even though your intention for change is noble – it’s still fraught with problems – specifically two.

The first is that you have this belief that your future self is going to have more willpower, discipline, and energy than your present self.

If you’d like to meet your future self, go to the bathroom look in the mirror and say hello to your future self. Notice any similarities? Same amount of willpower, discipline, and energy?
This is who you’re going to find on January 1st.

The second problem (and this is intricately related to the first one) is that we underestimate how much we’ll get stressed in the future. We always have this idea that our future self will handle problems, deadlines, conflict, and disappointment better than our present self does and so stress won’t really be a problem.

But it is a problem. A big one!

Because when you get stressed your prefrontal cortex (PFC) effectively gets shut down.

Your PFC is responsible for willpower, reasoning, managing your emotions, weighing up the consequences of your behavior and rational thought (to name just a few of its high-level executive functions).

And it’s incredibly weak.

Drink too much alcohol – goodbye PFC (I did WHAT last night???)

Don’t get enough sleep – goodbye PFC.

Stressed out – goodbye PFC.

It’s the first part of your brain to go down in a crisis.

And guess who’s left in charge?

Your very short-sighted amygdala. Neuroscientists call this an amygdala hijack – where essentially your caveman’s brain is in charge.
See cookie, want, get.

See shiny new object, want, get.Forget the consequences, amygdala want now.

Your PFC acts as parental supervision for your amygdala. But if it’s shut down the amygdala does whatever it wants.

Imagine trying to convince a toddler to put the cookie down because of the longer-term risk of diabetes? Do you think a 3-year old cares about diabetes, weight gain or that high school reunion next month? Not in the slightest, she wants the cookie and she wants it now!

You can also think of the amygdala as focused on short-term needs and wants and the PFC seeing the bigger picture of longer-term goals and having the discipline to stay the course.

So when you’re stressed, angry or upset and you are trying to give up sugar, like the 3-year old, if a cookie is in front of you, within 5 seconds it will be in your mouth.

Because the amygdala is so stealth it works at the subconscious level. We don’t even realize we’re doing it.

You wanted to exercise after work, but after a long stressful day you’re too tired to go to the gym so instead, you wander into the nearest bar or crash on the sofa watching TV.

You wanted to eat more healthy food but you’re so drained after being in meetings all day and putting out fires you simply don’t have the energy to prepare a healthy meal. As you drive home, you have no energy left to fight the urge to pull into the drive-thru lane at McDonald’s – you just need something now.

The point?

You need your PFC to help change your behavior. Without it, even your best plans will go up in smoke.

The other point?

Your future self gets stressed just as easily as your present self unless you do something to change that.

So if you’re serious about wanting to make some changes in your life, then start by strengthening your prefrontal cortex with THE best brain exercise – meditation.

In as little as 8-weeks meditation measurably increases the thickness of your prefrontal cortex (see image below from a Harvard study published in January 2011).

This is why meditation has a multiplier effect leading to other good habits and behaviors. Suddenly your future self does have more willpower, discipline, and energy.

By making this one positive change it spreads like wildfire into other areas of your life, helping you to make lots of positive changes.

So I want to make you a tempting offer today.

Earlier this year I created a course called Peaceful Minds for Busy Lives.

Rather than hearing what I think about it, I’ll let James Henson (a fellow meditation teacher) tell you:

This is one of the best introductions to meditation out there. It is concrete, useful and immediately applicable to everyday life. I love Meredith’s teaching style – she does a great job of making deep truths very simple. Learning more about our brains and how they work is an important aspect of this course, you are not asked to take anything on faith or simply accept something she says because she is saying it. This is the course for anyone who has tried to learn to meditate and maybe they didn’t stick with it, or doesn’t have a schedule that permits hours and hours of sitting. Highly recommended.

James Scott Henson
www.Jamesscotthenson.com


I know there are lots of meditation courses out there and tons of free information available on the internet – but I am so confident in the value of this course, I offer a guarantee.

You can do all the lessons and then say, “Nah I didn’t think it was worth it” – and I’ll give you your money back. (No one has asked for their money back.)

You have 30 days to give it a try and see if I really deliver. And if not, you’re not out a dime!

If you’re serious about wanting to make a change in the new year then give your future self every possible chance of making it happen.

To give you a little incentive, and it is the holidays, after all, I’m offering a $100 discount for the next 5 days. So instead of paying $297, you get the full course for $197.

How many things have you paid $197 or more for thinking they were going to bring you happiness and then didn’t? Look around your house at all the stuff you have – is it really bringing you the peace and contentment you were hoping for? Did it increase your willpower, discipline or energy?

You will have this course for years to come, being able to go back and revisit lessons to stay on track and keep increasing your capacity for deeper levels of peace, tranquility and strengthening your ability to make a positive change in other areas of your life. Don’t forget the multiplier effect!

Let’s make 2018 the year you set goals and crushed them!

Peaceful Minds for Busy Lives eCourse

Coupon Code: Peace2018

Comments

  1. Laura

    GREAT post, very helpful reminder!! Over the holidays Chris and I got off track with our routine – including our meditation practice – but this is a good reminder that to start off the year right, we need to make sure we meditate tomorrow and daily. Love your course, by the way!! We are about halfway through the course and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next. It’s had a hugely positive impact on our lives and helped us to stay sane and on the right track during our busiest work days, and have more ease and flow on the normal days. Thank you for creating your course & for your great blog!! Happy New Year Meredith! <3

    • zensmarts

      Thank you Laura! Glad you two are getting back on track with the new year! We do get off track from time to time (it seems to be a part of the path!) – and then we just keep coming back! Happy New Year to you and Chris.

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