• How to Actually Start Your New Year’s Resolutions

    by Caroline Ryther
    on Dec 31st, 2018

Bye bye 2018! Thank you for the lessons, growth, ups and downs. I’m now ready for 2019, and this year is going to be different!

Or is it? Did you keep a track of the resolutions for 2018, and did you make milestones for accomplishing them? How many did you accomplish and how many are no more relevant? These are all very important questions to ask yourself when actually wanting a new you this coming year.

Most of us want health and happiness. Mental health is of course a very significant part of that, and can be helped through our services at the neuroscience center and from you taking action to make real change in your life. Let’s start with habit formation and how to break bad ones and replace with desirable actions we can put on autopilot – easier said than done right?

In short, habits are a three-step circle - first we have a trigger, then an automatic action,  followed closely by a reward for that action. Some of these are healthy circles, such as pulling your hand away from a hot surface. Trigger: hot. Action: pull hand away.  Reward: didn’t get hurt. But what about too much sitting and watching Netflix? Unhealthy diets? Stressing over seemingly nothing? Constant negative though? Laziness? indulging in alcohol too much?

If we are able to identify the circle for what it is, and then see what’s happening, we are able to consciously step in between any trigger and our normal action to it, and therefore creating a new reward...and a new habit. Do this repeatedly—and you’ll change your life. Simple right? Not at all. We all know this takes lots of time and dedication, which is why it’s so important for you to start right now.

But start small. That’s the key to avoid overwhelm and eventually becoming so discouraged that you resort to your well known and comfortable livening habits and routines. Let’s start with a problem most of us need to deal with and is included in probably a million new year’s resolutions: more exercise.  

We know the usual drill: get that discounted gym membership which is only valid for the beginning of the year, hit the gym most days for the first week of January, get exhausted, and then eventually… stop completely. How can you avoid falling into this loop? Simple, start with just wearing gym clothes in the mornings where you’d want to exercise. Even if you never get around to going to the gym, you’ll become accustomed to putting on your gym clothes on first thing in the morning – thereby making the first part of the process an action put on autopilot. Eventually, you will wake up one morning put on your gym clothes and probably think “well I’m already wearing my gym clothes, I might as well go for a walk”. That walk could then later turn into a light jog and even a run if you put your mind to it!

What parts of your life could you start putting on autopilot to create new good habits?

If you want further help with keeping up your mental health you are always more than welcome to contact us about any issues you want to solve.

Phone: 847-306-8938

Email: pm@mind.md



Author Caroline Ryther

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