By Izabela Misiuk
Many of us set intentions at the start of the new year, but only a few of us stick with these promises we made to ourselves. Perhaps you are in the “most people” group and are slowly giving up on your 2021 goals, wishes, and desires? If the answer is “yes”, chances are you have been playing the disappointment channel for too long and maybe it’s time now to switch the channel to something more inspiring?
So how can you turn your 2022 intentions into reality? I’ll guide you just as I would guide my clients through a very simple but effective process.
Start with self-inquiry into your beliefs. What do you believe about yourself? What do you believe about other people? Are your beliefs life-affirming? Calming? Kind? Supportive? If not, are you willing to investigate them? And then change them or upgrade them? Overcoming our limiting beliefs ain’t easy. It takes a significant amount of focus and introspection.
I often hear my clients say
“No matter how hard I try, I can’t lose weight” or “I hate exercising, I’m not good at it”, or “All members of my family are fat and they all have health problems, so of course, I do too”.
You can’t move forward unless you blow up these beliefs. It’s time to take a look at your limiting beliefs and ask yourself:
When/Where did this belief come from?
Why did I take it on?
What’s the pay off (secondary benefit) of believing it?
Is it really true? Write down any evidence you have for it.
Then look at your limiting beliefs and see if you can modify them so that they can support your 2022 intentions.
For example, if you believe that you hate to exercise but your wish is to get fitter, feel lighter, and get physically stronger, then you might want to change your current limiting belief (I hate exercising) to this:
“With every hour I spend at the gym/yoga class/dance class I’m rewarded with improved health and fitness”, “I love the post-workout glow”, “Every day I’m becoming physically stronger”.
However, changing your beliefs isn’t the end of the story, as now your brain will seek evidence to support this new belief. At times I meet clients who linger in the first step for too long. In a way, bringing awareness to their behaviour and thought patterns (guilty of it myself!) has become their comfort zone. Some of us have done loads of internal work and can analyse our behaviour better than any psychologist ever could, we know our patterns and our triggers but we find ourselves stuck on the level of paralysis by analysis. The truth is that things won’t change until you take action. You can have all the awareness about your limiting beliefs and triggers for your destructive behaviours yet still engage in unhealthy thought patterns and behaviours. You might be thinking, ok so how do I move forward? That’s where step 2 comes in.
If your desire for 2022 is to make health your priority, then your daily actions need to be aligned with it. You can desire all you want but if you are not willing to change anything in your daily behaviour, nothing will change as positive results won’t materialise out of thin air.
Let’s say your current belief is:
I’m the kind of person who enjoys eating sugary food and I really don’t like movement.
If you analyse this belief using the above questions, you can probably find a lot of evidence to support it. Perhaps even this morning you had a croissant with a cappuccino, then you watched Netflix for 3 hours. This afternoon you are planning to join your friends for dinner in an Italian restaurant where you can have your favourite pizza, a glass or two of wine, and a dessert. Your brain in this example has plenty of evidence that the current belief you hold about yourself must be true.
So, what can you do to get out of this trap? First, you need to change the belief for one that represents the change you want to make.
I’m the kind of person who nourishes my body with organic, fresh, whole foods. I’m the kind of person who enjoys physical activities. I’m the kind of person who prioritises sleep and time with my loved ones.
Second, take the tiniest of actions to start creating evidence that would support the new belief and contradict the old one. To help you with this, try to think of small behaviours you could modify in your life, or things you could add or eliminate to help you move towards your new belief.
In this case, some examples might be:
MODIFY: Go to bed one hour earlier/ switch off all electronic devices two hours before bed/ limit alcohol to two glasses of wine per week/ switch using regular milk to coconut milk (choose whatever you can commit to!).
ADD: 5 different coloured veggies a day/ yoga class three times a week/ 5 min of meditation every morning before shower/ express your love for your family and friends daily (choose whatever you can commit to!).
ELIMINATE: All processed sugar from my diet/ all conventionally raised meat from the diet/ all gluten and so on (choose whatever you can commit to!).
With these or similar actions in place, you will start gathering new evidence to support the new belief about yourself. Eventually, if you stick with it for long enough, you will become the kind of person who leads a healthy lifestyle.
Every time you go to the gym, yoga or dance class you embody the identity of a healthy person. Every time you choose to say “NO” to processed food you embody the identity of a healthy person. As James Clear says
Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you want to become.
so if you want your wishes for 2020 to come to fruition, start aligning your actions accordingly. Start small and then add more after 30 days.
This will not always be easy and there might be “lapses” but the core principle to remember is that there are “no failures” only “feedback”. Don’t be lazy and don’t give up when things don’t appear to be going your way. You are training your mind to be consistent and focused. Practice living and behaving as though you already are the type of person you aspire to become. Embody it.
Don’t worry we won’t let you do all this on your own. We have helppppp! We designed a 21-day energy reset course to guide you on your way to better emotional, mental and physical health. We hope you’ll join us together with your partner or friend and will have fun doing it!
To your well-being in 2022 and always!