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New year rings in with hopes of newfound happiness, hopes to change and become a better person. We all have faith that the rays of sun on the first day of the year would bring about an opportunity which will become a turning point in our lives. Our dreams are BIG. Our hopes are HIGH. We are full of zeal and enthusiasm. On the first day of the year we make promises to ourselves. We make resolutions with determination, motivation and will power to bring about improvements in ourselves.We ask our children too about making these resolutions year by year. The biggest resolution mostly children today make are 'I will read everyday', 'I will be regular in my studies', 'I will exercise everyday', etc etc. As the new day dawns children are all ready to fulfill their dreams. With a boost of enthusiasm they start working on their goals. They are happy with themselves to have taken action towards realisation of their dream. But as the days pass by, weeks pass by, months pass by, they get caught in their old routines. Enthusiasm sees a downfall, motivation vanishes and dreams become dreams, goal looks too far off to achieve. WHY?
Where does that zeal go? Where does that motivation fly? Why the dreams become unfathomable?
The answer lies only in our THOUGHTS.
In my practice, I have come across so many students giving me similar thought processes - 'nothing was happening, I couldn't see results', ' I don't get time to study or read', 'it's really boring', 'it's difficult getting up in the morning', 'I don't get time in evenings for exercise', 'I have to do lot of work and so don't get time and get tired', 'I don't like it', etc. Strangely as the therapy progresses, they are baffled when I have shown them how much time they have in a day. Most of them have laughed and given the answer 'oh I never realised I had so much time. I was just wasting it'.
Our brain is the most complicated and smart thing in the world. We don't want to feel guilty so what we don't want to do or dislike doing, we wrap it nicely in excuses and present to ourselves. In therapy, when clients present thoughts like 'they don't have time' or 'the job is very difficult', I have first worked with them in making them realise that these were excuses they were giving to themselves for not fulfilling their promises.
Our brain works like a pendulum. We start towards a goal and want to see immediate results. If results are delayed, our motivation vanishes, we stop doing it. This is because we forget to reward ourselves for our small achievements. Also we want things to be easy. Without much effort, we want to Get the best. Let's take an example to understand it- if we resolve to exercise for an hour everyday and for some reason we fail to do it one day, we generally stop exercising from then on. One failure makes us demotivated and look away from our resolution.
When we choose to give up on our goal, we focus on all difficulties we are undergoing to achieve it. Rather if we focus on the consequences and emotions we will experience after having achieved a particular short term or long term goal, sustaining and maintaining motivation and realising a goal will be possible. As a parent, encouragement to the child in right words is very important. Rather than a parent simply explaining the benefits of a goal, if the child is involved in the process of discussing the merits and demerits of the a specific goal, it would motivate a child and there are more chances that child will stick on to his or her resolution. Furthermore, what the children see and observe will always have much more impact on them. If a parent models a behaviour of determination to fulfill his/ her goal, automatically children learn to do such behaviours.
Tips on How to maintain motivation to fulfill your resolutions-
1. Make one resolution at a time. Many goals at one time will have many chances of neither being fulfilled.
2. Always decide upon a clear goal. A GOAL which is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound.
2. Divide the long term goal into small short term goals
3. Whenever you have thoughts of giving up, concentrate on the benefits you will have on achieving the goal or emotions you will experience when you achieve your decided goal.
4. Don't forget to reward yourself or pat yourself when you achieve small or short term goals.
5. Don't take your goals as a burden. Enjoy achieving them. Change takes time. Don't presurrize your self to see results overnight. Stick to your desired behaviour even after few failures.
6. If you are still unable to keep on track, consult a therapist or a coach.