Written by: Edwige Gilbert
Every year on December 31st, people all over the world make New Year’s resolutions. Millions of people wake up thinking, “This is the day I am going to do things differently!” They yearn for a new beginning and hate themselves when, after a few weeks, their resolutions fail.
Why do they fail? Because in trying to bring about change in their lives, people reach for the only tool they think they have: willpower, forcing themselves to change. Most often, unfortunately, the will fights back…and wins.
Look at dieting for example. In America, about 109 million dollars are spent on dieting and on diet products every day (Us department of Health and Human Services). Nearly two thirds of Americans are overweight. 25 percent of American men and 45 percent of American women are presently on a diet. Sadly, only 5 percent will lose the weight and keep it off.
What is wrong in the picture? Why is it so difficult to change?
Change is only possible when we begin to understand that it is futile to willfully struggle against our habitual patterns of behavior. You see, we are creatures of habit. Our mind does anything it can to keep us in our comfort zone, away from the unfamiliar and the uncomfortable. This is known as the ”pain/pleasure principle,” which is being experienced when the mind automatically moves us away from pain and toward pleasure and ease. When we tell ourselves, “I should go on a diet,” “I must…," or "I have to...,” immediately, our minds perceive it as painful and react by effectively stopping us from making our desired change. In other words, it is the mind’s protective mechanism that seeks to return us to our comfort zones, even when that acquired comfort zone is unhealthy and potentially harmful in the long run.
So what are we to do? Are we doomed to remain prisoners of our unwanted habits and behaviors? Not at all. The secret is to make our minds enjoy what we desire to change.
Change your focus and you shall change your reality. Simply choose to focus on your desired outcome, engaging the power of your imagination and of positive emotions. This means picturing having reached your desired goal, feeling good about yourself, feeling proud, in charge of your life again, liberated from the past and victorious.
It is strongly believed that the mind does not know the difference between what is real or just imagined. So take advantage of this, and begin to “think yourself changed!" The actual process is simple and is divided into three components:
First, develop a deep state of relaxation, called “Alpha,” an indispensable state to access the subconscious, which is also considered to be the only part of the brain where the seed for a new desired habit can be planted.
Second, in this peaceful state, get ready to project on an imaginary mental screen, which I call the “screening room,” all the vivid details of your new desired behavior. The more specific your visualization is the better. It will ensure the success of this practice.
Finally, in the last stage, remember to include powerful, positive words which I like to consider “declarations," that when repeated will not only create a hypnotic response, but will also, in the future, activate the memory of this joyful experience. The words I recommend to use are: “I choose to create this experience, I believe that I can, victory to me, victory is mine."
Be aware that repetition is critical to the success of the “screening room” practice. Neuroscience tells us that daily repetition for 21 days is what is recommended to create a new pathway to the brain, responsible for our new habitual pattern of behavior.
No doubt, this is powerful material to absorb and can be challenging at first. Realizing that transformation begins in our minds, knowing that thoughts create our destiny and that we have the power to become the master of our lives, can also be the ideal way to begin the year. For a change, prepare yourself to throw out the “gotta, oughts, should’s” part of your resolution, and instead decide to embrace the “I choose.. I desire... I can… I do...”. This will lead you to victory and success in your life.
Written by: Edwige Gilbert,
Author of the “Fresh Start Promise”
Dale Carnegie once said, “Fear does not exist anywhere but in our mind.”
Let’s consider this: If fear is just a figment of our imagination and does not exist anywhere else, how can we explain the devastating impact fear has on our health and in our lives?
I may have an answer for you. You see fear, unlike any other emotion, has a vital and basic function, which is to warn us against physical and emotional danger. To accomplish this purpose, fear activates the fight or flight response releasing toxic chemicals in our brain such as adrenaline. I can understand how useful this function may have been thousands of years ago, to warn the poor cavemen to fly or fight for their lives when attacked by a bear. But today, this function seems obsolete and yet, we are still experiencing its full impact. For example, we might just be giving a speech or showing up for an interview and all of a sudden we notice our heart pounding in our chest and our palms getting sweaty, while feeling panicky and confused.
I have a difficult time accepting that just because we are afraid, all of this can happen. Especially when I realize that practically everything we do in our lives is tinted with fear. As you already know, the list of fear situations is nearly endless: fear of sickness, poverty, rejection, the fear of aging, loneliness, and the fear of failure or even success.
What are we to do? Accept that we are prisoners of fear and allow it to dominate our lives and take away our freedom and joie de vivre?
I don’t think so and I hope you feel the way I do.
In the name of our liberation from the tyranny of our fears, I propose 3 steps that we can take to help us.
Step 1: Make fear your friend
What does that mean? Since we cannot escape or hide from it, why not choose to have fear as your companion on your new journey? After all, fear is just warning you that you are going through changes, and dealing with a new situation can be uncomfortable. Fear can also force us to be brave and develop strength of character. Finally, fear, when you are able to conquer it, can bring you such a sense of accomplishment, greater self-esteem and self-confidence.
To make this concept more alive, I propose that you imagine that you are a snake charmer from India wearing a saffron colored turban, sitting in a crossed legged position learning to tame the Cobra of fear, while hypnotizing him with the intoxicating music of the Pungi (a native bamboo wind instrument).
Step 2: Change your focus
Stop focusing on being afraid and start focusing on your desired outcome. It is believed that what you focus on expands and becomes your reality. Decide to focus on what you want to accomplish. Picture yourself having reached your goal feeling confident and victorious.
When dealing with a challenging situation, you can imagine yourself as a warrior, such as King Arthur if you are a man or Xena the warrior princess if you are a woman, holding a sword of fearlessness and wearing an armor of white light, protecting you from all fear and negativity.
Step 3: Be your inner coach
We all have a tendency to be too critical and judgmental about ourselves. We often feel deep down that we are not good enough. We secretly search for perfection, which creates a lot of pressure, fear and anxiety. What if we chose to be more loving and accepting of ourselves and decided to adopt the language of the heart which would ban the “cannot” and the “should’s,” and instead, embracing positive and empowering words?
To create this positive experience, bring your arms up in the air and declare, “Victory to me, Victory is mine” as you place a big smile on your face for appreciation and gratitude of this joyful moment.
I hope you will use these 3 steps on your journey of life. And everyday remember to welcome fear and make it your friend, to keep your mind focused on the wonderful things you desire to achieve in your life and most importantly, to stay loving, encouraging and supportive.
I would like to leave you with a final thought by Ralph Waldo Emerson, who once said, “He who is not every day conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.”