How to Effectively Make New Years Resolutions - Part 3 - Using your Heart and Mind - Aspire Natural Health

How to Effectively Make New Years Resolutions – Part 3 – Using your Heart and Mind

6632375445 4c1e4d9662 z - How to Effectively Make New Years Resolutions - Part 3 - Using your Heart and Mind

Part 1 HERE
Part 2 HERE
Part 3 HERE
Part 4 HERE
Part 5 HERE
Part 6 HERE
Part 7 HERE


In parts I and II of this series we talked about:

  1. We are made up of a rational part (mind) and an emotional part (heart)
  2. Our heart will always ultimately win over our mind
  3. Our heart is about immediate gratification. Most goals are about delaying immediate gratification to achieve something bigger later (give up ice cream now to look good later, work extra hours now to have more money later, etc.)
  4. This puts the heart and the mind into conflict
  5. Using willpower to try and force the heart to do something it doesn’t want to is not an effective strategy

So the takeaway lessons we’ve learned so far when setting goals for ourselves is that, if we’re going to be successful, we cannot set goals that rely on willpower.

Instead we have to have goals that engage both heart and mind.


Engaging the mind

Let’s take the goal of losing weight and getting in shape since that is the number one resolution most people are working on right now.

So we want to lose weight and get healthier. What’s the danger here? The mind likes to plan, and will often spin it’s wheels unless kept in check.

So you want to lose weight and get healthier, should you:

  1. Work out at home? If so what equipment do you need? Should you get X, or Y, or Z? Maybe you should go online and do some research, spending hours reading through websites and comparing different makes and models.
  2. Go to a gym? Which one? There’s one gym closer to home that costs X, another closer to work that costs Y. Maybe you should tour each, then do a price comparison and make up a spread sheet with costs and benefits…. Etc, Etc., Etc.

Okay this may be a little extreme (at least for some of us) but we all have this part of us that likes to plan and analyze, and ultimately not get anything done. The mind is a good planner, but a poor executor, so we need to be sure to:

  1. Set clear goals
  2. Just make a decision


Set clear goals

Lose weight and get healthier is a really vague goal, and it’s easy to let it go nowhere. Instead we need to set clear goals that help drive us toward action. How about lose 20 pounds, be able to run a mile, and to lift the 45 pound weights.

When in doubt, more specific is better.


Just make a decision

Remember, at the end of the day, some action is better than no action. You don’t have to make the best choice, you just have to make a good enough choice. Plus with most decisions, the worst case isn’t that bad. You join a gym that you end up hating, you’ve lost some money, and that’s it. It’s not the end of the world.

So, pick something that’s good enough quickly, and get moving.


Engaging the Heart

To the heart, the goal is, I want to get ripped and look hot. I want to run and play with the grandchildren. I want to look good naked.

Notice there’s no mention of heart disease or diabetes here. The heart doesn’t care, that’s not an emotional appeal (unless your dad or your brother died of these diseases and it brings up strong emotion for you).

So the goal with the heart is to pick something emotionally powerful. With weight loss that’s usually not very difficult. But with other goals it can be much harder.

Say you want to get up earlier in the morning (more specific please!). The mind can list a whole bunch of reasons that this might be a good thing, but you need some emotional punch to really make it happen. Say by getting up earlier in the morning, you can spend more time with your family, or you can take your dog on a walk (something you really like to do but haven’t had time for, again, if you don’t have an emotional reaction to walking your dog – this is fun! – then that’s not a good enough reason).


Summing up

In these three parts we’ve learned:

  1. Willpower doesn’t work. Pick goals that require minimal / no willpower to accomplish
  2. Engage the mind. Have clear cut goals. Not I’m going to work out more. Instead, I’m going to go to the gym 3x a week for 30 minutes at a time, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday after I get off work.
  3. Engage the heart. The goals must have emotional impact. If you don’t get fired up and excited about it, you need a better reason. Make sure you have one.

I hope now you have a better sense about how to set effective goals for yourself, both for New Years and throughout the year. We’ll continue this series so you can make and achieve your goals!


At Aspire Natural Health we are experts at helping people suffering with digestive issues and autoimmunity.

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