Sustainable Change Beyond Resolutions

"Just take any step, whether small or large. And then another and repeat day after day. It may take months, maybe years, but the path to success will become clear." 

- Aaron Ross

According to a *study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only about 8% of people actually achieve their New Year's resolutions. The study analyzed data for several years and surveyed many participants. It found that while many people set resolutions with good intentions, the majority struggle to maintain their commitment over time.

*Source: Norcross, J. C., Mrykalo, M. S., & Blagys, M. D. (2002). Auld lang syne: Success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year's resolvers and nonresolvers. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58(4), 397–405.

As the year unfolds, maybe you can relate to the 92%, and reading this makes you feel uncomfortable. But if you abandoned your 2024 resolutions, know that it's not your fault. Read on and discover why they fail us and some ideas of what to do so that your change goes beyond the first few days or months of a New Year.

"There is nothing permanent except change.

- Heraclitus 

Because our brains are designed to conserve energy and operate efficiently, anything unfamiliar, especially if it's a huge change initially, registers as a "danger" or a threat on a nervous system level. Change demands cognitive effort, which the brain may resist as a self-protective mechanism. 

So, while consciously we say we want to do things differently (New Year Resolutions), subconsciously, by default, an opposing program is running. This explains why we may desire to expand our comfort zones yet feel stuck, confused, and frustrated by our seeming lack of progress.

Doing things differently disrupts our familiar habits and established routines; the perceived loss can outweigh the anticipated benefits, making us hesitant to embrace change. Then there's the cognitive dissonance, the mental discomfort we experience when we hold two conflicting beliefs. 

"For as he thinks within himself, so is he." 

- Proverbs 23:7

    A compelling vision precedes a shift in mindset, thought patterns, inspired action, and behaviors that lead to sustainable change

    That's why compassionate self-awareness helps with mind renewal, befriending the sense of insecurity, unpredictability, and internal conflict long enough so that the brain cooperates. Taking small steps is one way to initially "show" the brain that the change is not a threat because our nervous systems are not over-stimulated. As the brain cooperates, mind renewal creates new thought ladders and we form new beliefs that align with our actions. 

    We keep increasing the discomfort within the nervous system's Window of Tolerance - one kaizen step at a time. And consisten kaizen steps add up to new habits, routines, and behaviors. Ultimately, as we expand and contract our comfort zones, we build resilience and grow to achieve the sustainable change we desire based on internal transformation. 

    This is an ongoing intentional personal growth process, not a spontaneous declaration amid joyful, inebriated New Year's celebrations.

      "Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." 

      John C. Maxwell

      Last year, I enjoyed guesting on a few podcasts, and on one of them, we talked about the intricate dynamics of change and its profound impact on our lives. As a constant force that shapes our journey, it often challenges our resilience and adaptability. We explored the psychology behind our response to change and how we can harness its power to foster sustainable transformation as we navigate life's ever-evolving seasons. 

      I invite you to listen to this candid conversation. You'll discover ways to embrace change so that you begin to see the unknown as opportunities for personal and professional growth and empowerment.

      "What's dangerous is not to evolve." - Jeff Bezos


      Are you ready to embrace sustainable change that benefits you or your team's performance?

      To discover how I can support you, CLICK HERE.

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      They do not substitute the reader's need for medical or financial advice from a professional.