Emotion Commotion: Why New Years Resolutions Aren’t Successful
As we ring in the New Year, many of us set resolutions as we strive to be better. Whether it is our health, relationships, or professional goals, we all set resolutions for success. Why is it that so many of us never attain those goals? Would you believe it if I told you it has a lot to do with our emotional state?
As with any aspect of our lives, negative emotions affect our success. When we focus on the negative, it is hard to see the positive things that may be happening. Negative thoughts also make it more difficult to stay motivated. It is fascinating to me that emotions can have such a direct connection to the logical aspects of our lives.
There is a real science to success that is directly related to our emotions. The more I research about the human brain, the more enamored I am with its potential. How information is transmitted to and throughout the brain shows me the endless possibilities we have for growth and change. Using the potential of our brains to achieve success is no different.
“At the base of the brain, where it connects with the spinal cord, there is a region called the Reticular Activation System (RAS) (Gonzalez 2007)”. The RAS is where what we think about at any given time is filtered. We couldn’t possibly process every thought, so it filters out the noise we don’t need. It then sends the filtered thoughts to our brain. “The RAS is like Google. There are millions of web sites out there, but you filter out the ones you are not interested in simply by typing a keyword (Gonzalez 2007)”.
From the RAS, our thoughts head to the cerebrum. The cerebrum is our center of thought. What causes some thoughts and not others to get to the cerebrum is what is important to us at the time and what you happen to be focusing on. This is how visualization and repetitive behavior are so important. If you are focusing on negative thoughts, then only negative messages will get through the RAS.
Tips for success
“According to neuroscientist Michael Merzenich, 30 hours of training based on specific neuroscience techniques can improve memory and cognition, speech patterns and reading comprehension (Patel 2017)”. Knowing there are certain techniques we can use to achieve success is very exciting. We have the ability within ourselves to pursue and achieve it. Here is a look at some tips that may help you.
Have you ever been so caught up in a daydream that you feel the emotions you would feel in reality? This is similar to what visualization is. Visualization is utilizing our imagination to create mental pictures of what we want to achieve, it isn’t something new. We use visualization every day when we think about something we want. Take for instance when you are hungry. When you are trying to decide what you want to eat, you think of that food I the form of mental pictures. Using it for your goals is no different.
Make sure to begin feeling positive
Having a negative state of mind will make it near impossible to visualize your goals. Starting from a place of positivity will allow you not only to see your goals but to feel the excitement and passion that comes with them. The more you practice visualization, the easier it becomes.
Dream big. The sky is the limit. When you are visualizing your goals, don’t put any limits on them. The bigger the better. This will help to keep you inspired, and more likely to persevere and achieve your goals. As I mentioned above, putting emotion into your visualization will not only help make it more real, it will also make you feel more excited and determined to achieve them.
Practice, practice, practice!
Practicing anything always makes you better at it. Making visualization a habit in your daily life will only make it more possible for you to achieve your goals.
How I see it is that visualizing your goals is waiting in anticipation for Christmas or a birthday present. Imagining what the present might be is like visualizing a goal; The more you think about it, the more excited you get. Anything worth having takes time, but if you use visualization the process will be more exciting!
The thing about positive thoughts is that they put you in a better place mentally and emotionally. Studies show that when you think negative, it affects your whole outlook and you are more likely to give up on your goals. Remaining positive allows you to be more creative, remain persistent, and make it more likely that you will achieve your goals.
Now granted, no one can be positive all the time, it is unrealistic to think it is possible. Being able to maintain a positive attitude, for the most part, is the difference between achieving your goals and not achieving them. Here are some ideas to get you going.
Believe in yourself
I believe the single most important thing you can do is to believe in yourself. Thinking positive about your own skills and abilities will go a long way toward achieving your goals.
We are what we think
What we spend the most time thinking about is what creates our beliefs- If you focus on the negative, it is hard to move forward. Negative thinking only leads us to give up and never succeed. If you focus on the good, it will help to inspire and motivate you, so keep your thoughts as positive as possible.
Remove yourself from negativity
Just as you are able to change your brain through positive thinking, you can do the same with negative thoughts. The amygdala is where our negative experiences are stored. The amygdala is where our fight or flight response is located. Another area of the brain that may be affected by negative thinking is the prefrontal cortex. Here is where the things that may stress us are located.
Have you ever noticed that when you are in negative situations t down or negative yourself? I know I do. Situations such as this can weigh on you, and your goals. When working towards your goals, it is important to stay as positive as possible and avoid letting negative situations or people bring you down.
Focus on commitment, not motivation
It is easy to be energized and passionate when you are motivated, but motivation can fade. Focus on the long term and be committed to your goals.
Seek knowledge, not results
Look for ways to learn and grow. Focus on the experiences and what you learn from them. If you focus on the end result you will not only lose the stamina you need to continue, you will not enjoy the process of achieving success.
Make the journey fun
Life is serious enough as it is. Take some time to enjoy yourself, laugh at yourself, and most importantly, have fun.
Commit to your goals
What I think is the most important step to achieving success is committing to your goals. Just as you would commit to a relationship, your goals need the same attention. Anything worth having takes work and commitment. If you don’t put in the time and attention needed to keep your goals on track, then more than likely you will not be able to achieve them. Take time every day to assure that things are on track and that nothing has slipped through the cracks.
How we view ourselves can be molded and changed. Through our emotions and the neuroscience of our brains allows us endless opportunities to achieve our resolutions and goals we have set for ourselves. It is just a matter of taking some time to change your way of thinking.