I always feel energized by the arrival of a new year. It’s like a clean slate, twelve sprawling months ahead for reaching my dreams. Do you feel that way, too?
If so, maybe I can help by sharing my own plans and a great book recommendation. My goals are to lose weight and become a best-selling author in 2014, which is the year I turn sixty.
Hey, a girl can dream.
Re: the weight loss, I’m a recidivist Lifetime member of Weight Watchers. I like the program because they taught me how to eat during the craziness of menopause. But I’m not plugging them – any program you stick to will work. So, how do you do that?
To prepare myself, I picked up a great book, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. In it, I learned:
- Habit is more powerful than addiction
- Your brain resorts to habit because it conserves energy, which is then freed up for survival
- Scientists now agree on proven strategies for developing new habits or changing old ones.
To change an old habit, Duhigg reports, you learn to recognize the cue that triggers the routine that leads to the reward. Then you leave the cue and reward alone, and change the routine. In other words, you don’t try to rewire your brain not to want what it wants – you just go about getting to the reward a different way.
This intrigues me. To test the theory (so you don’t have to), I’m going to work on one of my worst habits: I crave a glass of wine around 3 p.m., which usually leads to a cascade of consequences like eating too much for dinner, etc. That’s an old habit I need to change.
On the other hand, creating a new habit, Duhigg says, requires a slightly different approach. You create a cue and reward (which must be cultivated into a craving). Then the routine connecting the cue and reward is the desired practice, like exercise or meditation. In other words, in order to create a new habit of meditating, I’ll have to invent a cue and reward that make me want to repeat the routine.
I know this is vague but why load you up with details before I test drive the theories? But if they work, how cool if you could develop a foolproof strategy for making yourself into the person you’ve always wanted to be? The future would be unlimited!
So here’s my plan: I’m going to get started, and right around the first of January, I’ll report back to you about my degree of initial success, so you can decide whether Duhigg’s methods hold promise for you.
As for the best-selling author plan, I’ll be working on some strategies (like better time management, and daily meditation to enhance my creativity). One thing I’m not very good at is asking for help, so here goes:
If you read Dakota Blues, and liked it, would you mind telling a friend? And if you haven’t yet tried it, I’m getting really good reviews on Amazon, so you might want to check it out. People say it’s empowering, inspiring, and joyful. Also, it contains tips, strategies and wisdom, delivered in story form, for living your best life after fifty. Here’s the link, and I hope you love it.
What are you planning for 2014? Why don’t you share your aspirations in the comments below?