5 Reasons New Year Resolutions Don’t Work

Lose weight nowAfter the season of goodwill, it’s the season of self denial and resolution.

In theory it’s a great idea, but in practice more than three quarters of New Year Resolutions are never achieved.

This is why I think New Year Resolutions don’t work:

  1. They start on a short burst of willpower that doesn’t last. A gym full of people sweating away at their exercise programs in January will dwindle to a few people in February. The remaining people with the exercise habit have a very different motivation that keeps them going.
  2. They challenge the status quo. Most people underestimate the power of the status quo. Day after day living in one particular way generates a huge array of beliefs, habits and responses that make your tomorrow as familiar as your today and your yesterday. That’s a lot of inertia to overcome all at once by willpower alone.
  3. New Year Resolvers confuse long term changes with short term events. You diet like crazy until you are slim … then what? You jog everyday until you can finish a half marathon race … then what? Life continues after you fit in that dress or finish the race. To stay slim, fit, etc, requires continuous effort over time, often a lifetime, for that you need an All Year Habit not a New Years Resolution.
  4. We expect to fail. New Year Resolution has become synonymous with failure. We joke about our resolutions being unlikely to be achieved, calling it a New Year Resolution is a declaration that we are going to make an heroic effort but that we expect to fail. We’ll be praised for our efforts and forgiven for our failure because that’s what everyone else is doing.
  5. They happen at the wrong time of year. In the Western world, spartan New Year Resolutions about low weight and high fitness are embarked on just after two or more weeks of ridiculous excess. If our New Year Resolution was to eat and drink like crazy and slump in an armchair watching TV then we would be well prepared, but most resolutions are just the opposite – eat and drink as little as possible and exercise. No wonder we run out of steam (or breath).

If New Year Resolutions isn’t going to work you could develop some “Habits Of Change“.

Image courtesy of Alan Cleaver

Change Over Gremlins

I have just change ISPs and as part of the change over there was a blank spot in which this website and my email wasn’t available.

Please accept my apologies if this inconvenienced you. The site is on it’s new server. I think everything has been copied over correctly, however if you find inconsistencies and gremlins please let me know something may have slipped my notice.

And now back to your regular service

Getting Out Of Your Own Way – The Book

Getting Out Of Your Own WayAt long last, I finally finished the Getting Out Of Your Own Way ebook and book.

Getting Out Of Your Own Way, is a straightforward and thorough guide to uncovering and dissolving many of your hidden limiting beliefs and blocks – the ‘Resistance’ – the unconscious saboteurs that stand in the way of your progress.

Who is this book for?

How do you know if you suffer from ‘Resistance’? Here are some common symptoms:

  • Difficulty in making a start on a piece of work: Do you find yourself constantly putting back your starting time and never actually getting going? Are you often waiting for the “right moment” to start or for inspiration to strike you?
  • Craving diversion: Does the need to tidy your room, do the shopping, surf the internet and so on become irresistible whenever you contemplate getting down to work? Are you easily distracted from your work by friends and social opportunities?
  • Ineffective working: Do you spend a lot of time at work but end up with little to show for it?
  • Last minute rushing: Is all your work finally done at a breakneck speed the night before the final deadline? Do you often think you have not left yourself time to do things properly?
  • Missed deadlines: Do you feel you are always asking for more time and making excuses? Are you losing opportunities and respect because you are always late?
  • Nagging guilt:  Is your time off relaxing spoilt by the continual feeling that you ought to be working? Do you often feel you have achieved less than you should have?
  • Disappointment and self-reproach:  Do you feel you are letting yourself down by putting things off? Do you think of yourself as lazy? Do you compare yourself unfavourably with others because of your procrastinating?

In this book you can learn simple processes to bring limiting beliefs and blocks into awareness, then use Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) based processes to neutralise those blocks so that you get on with what you want to do without procrastinating, dragging your feet, avoiding the work, all the ways in which we get in our own way

The techniques in this book combine EFT and NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) approaches that I have developed in my own personal exploration of what gets in my way when I set out to achieve something.

The techniques are simple and practical. You don’t need any advanced EFT or NLP training to make use of them, but you do need to know how to do EFT (if you have no experience of EFT you will find a brief introduction at the end of this book which will give you an understanding of the basics).

This book is for people who want to discover and change their limiting beliefs. It is suitable as a guidebook for therapists and coaches to help their clients explore what is stopping them, it is also useful for people who want a self-help guide to spotting and eliminating the blocks in their own progress.

Why Did I Write This Book?

I am a recovering procrastinator. I used to be a top class foot dragger. If there were ways for me to avoid doing things I would find them. I was a master at starting projects and then finding a way to have them fizzle out or limp along in a half-hearted manner. When I started my own business this “skill” because a disadvantage. I’ve been experimenting with ways to get out of own way ever since.

This has been a long, slow process. I’ve read many books, listened to a lot of recordings, attended seminars, workshops, NLP and EFT trainings. Out of this stew of influences I started to develop ways of identifying and working with my blocks.

After each success I got a little more room to manuever and things got easier. As a result of several years of experimentation and progress I came up with the Getting Out Of Your Own Way method.

I use this approach for myself on every new project, because I am much more likely to finish what I start, doing the work without excessive stress or any of my old foot-dragging.

Click here: Getting Out Of Your Own Way - Preview - Chapters 1-6 to read the first six chapters free of charge.

To find out more about the book and the various packages available visit  Getting Out Of Your Own Way

I hope you find it useful.

Now that I have completed it I think I will have a long lie down in a darkened room!

The First ChangeCamp+Plus – Saturday February 4th, 2012

In-Depth Professional & Self Development Workshops

ChangeCamp is a twice yearly self & professional development workshop running in Newcastle upon Tyne, it is designed to give taster sessions in a variety of subjects. Each session lasts for one and a half hours, it is a finger buffet of different approaches to psychological change work. While hugely enjoying the presentations, many of the participants comment that they would have liked more time to go into the subjects in more depth, that’s what ChangeCamp+Plus is for.

ChangeCamp+Plus gives you an opportunity to have a deeper experience of the kind of work ChangeCamp presenters do at an affordable price.  There are six presentations, three in the morning and three in the afternoon running concurrently on a variety of topics by ChangeCamp presenters. Each ChangeCamp+Plus workshop is three hours long. That’s a lot of time to learn and explore a particular process or technique in-depth.

The workshops are a mix of topics for personal or professional development with CPD certificates provided.

The workshops will include:

  • How To Develop Compassionate Self Acceptance with Andy Hunt
  • Mindfulness with Iain MacKenzie
  • Brief Grief Therapy with Harry Knox
  • Gestalt Theory And Practice: Experiential Workshop with Iain MacKenzie
  • From Problem To Solution Using EFT with Andy Hunt
  • Personal And Therapeutic Toolbox with Rob McGinley

What you need to attend these workshops:

  • A desire to learn.
  • To enjoy being with like-minded people.
  • To enjoy working with some excellent trainers.
  • You need to want to become more professionally skilled or more satisfied on a personal level.
  • To have fun.

Note: You may need previous experience of the presentation subject before attending – see the information about each workshop.

What you don’t need to attend these workshops:

  • You don’t need to have attended ChangeCamp to attend these sessions.
  • A huge bank account, these workshops are designed to be as affordable as possible.

Where, when and how much?

The first ChangeCamp+Plus will be on Saturday February 4th, 2012 from 10am to 5pm at Jesmond Dene Conference Centre, Jesmond Dene, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Early Bird Discount

If you book before January 6th, the workshops will cost just £60 for the whole day, or £35 for a morning or afternoon workshop. Thereafter the full fee will apply, so don’t miss out on the discount

Full Fee

The cost of the workshops are £75 for the whole day or £45 for a morning or afternoon session.

Each workshop has a maximum of 16 places so you need to book early to avoid disappointment.

Visit www.changecampplus.co.uk to find out more and book your place

Cinderella And The Two Ugly Sisters: Self-compassion, self-esteem and self-criticism.

“The greatest sickness known to man or woman is called self-esteem. If you have self-esteem, then you’re sick, sick, sick, because you say: I’m okay because I do well and because people love me, so when I do poorly, which I’m a fallible human and will, and people hate me because they may jealously hate me or they just don’t like me, then back to shithood I go.

I worry, worry, worry about doing well and winning other people’s approval, and I worry, worry, worry about the future even if I do well in the present. So that’s the worst sickness – self-esteem – ever known to man or woman because it’s always conditional.”
– Albert Ellis, creator of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy

Self-Esteem – The ‘Nice’ Ugly Sister

Self esteem has been proclaimed as the solution to all our personal problems. If we have high self esteem then we will be happy and fulfilled. Organisations, schools and business have taken this advice to heart and tried hard to boost the self-esteem of their pupils and workforce.

There’s just one problem, it isn’t true and it doesn’t work.

Self esteem is conditional and comes when you think you have done well or that you have desirable personal characteristics.

Self esteem is a flawed system for feeling good because it relies on social comparison. Trying to find the answer to “how am I doing compared to everyone else”?  There are inevitably going to be people who are better or worse at things than we are. You probably don’t have to look too far to find someone who is better at something than you. So, comparing ourselves to others as a way to feel good is doomed to failure.

We can feel good when things are going well but “going well” is a state that’s difficult to maintain. Self-esteem is high maintenance, to keep feeling it you have to keep doing well, it has to be re-earned, it is never permanent.

When things go badly (as they will do) it will be hard to compare yourself to other people and find yourself coming out on top. Because you are evaluating your status with respect to other people all the time this sense of security is very vulnerable to the uncertainties of life.

The more investment you put into having self esteem the more distressed you are going to feel when things don’t go according to plan. If our self worth is linked to what we do or what we have, when circumstances change or we fail then our self esteem will be in jeopardy and we may become victims of self hatred.

Self Criticism – The ‘Nasty’ Ugly Sister.

Self-esteem is also fragile because when we fall short of our standards we typically use self critics to motivate ourselves to do better, leading to more comparison and more falling short. As our self esteem rises so does our level of self criticism. It’s a vicious circle.

Superficially, self criticism seems like a good method for motivating ourselves to do better, to get back to being ‘good enough’. But it often moves from being a pep talk into a viscous beating when we feel we have fallen short of our ideals.

If you are caught between self-esteem and self-criticism you are caught in a never ending cycle of temporary highs and vicious lows.

Self Compassion – Cinderella

Self compassion or treating yourself with kind acceptance. It puts aside social comparison and self criticism and tries to treat all our experiences with kindness, understanding and acceptance.

It’s a way of being kind to ourselves without judging or comparison against others. Rather than emphasising our separateness and unique suffering it puts our experience in the broader context of all humanity.

By treating ourselves this way with all our experiences it is not contingent on evaluation against others and tends to be a very stable way of relating to ourselves.

Self compassion has been shown to lower depression and anxiety, raise levels of happiness, optimism and motivations.

Self-compassion is unusual in this culture for several reasons.

Many of us in this culture are conditioned to be self-sacrificing, looking after other people’s needs before our own. So it’s an unfamiliar or even seems like a selfish thing to want to do.

We often find it so much easier to be kinder to other people than ourselves, we don’t have much experience in applying that level of compassion to ourselves.

Self compassion is often confused with self-pity, but self-pity is all about “poor-me” it is all about separate individuals suffering alone. Self compassion is framed in the context of responding  with kindness to suffering that is shared by many human beings. It implies “I am not the only one”, with self pity “It’s all about me”.

So if might be wondering what self-compassion is like you might want to try this little experiment.

“… a very easy and quick way to soothe yourself, to calm yourself, to allow yourself to feel safe and get out of that mode of self-criticism, is compassionate touch. Stroke your arm, put your hand over your heart and give yourself a little hug if no-one’s looking

It’s amazing how powerful that very simple act can be because your body responds even if your mind can’t go there right away.”

– Kirsten Neff (interviewed by Dr David Van Nuys on the mentalhelp.net podcast)

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