Sun | Apr 22, 2018

What will change for you this year?

Published:Sunday | January 3, 2016 | 12:00 AM

For many, this year will be a rerun of last year in much the same way as last year was like the year before.

They are basically stuck and marking time. Life is a repeat of similar experiences.

For others, last year represented lost ground. You feel that you are now further away from your goals than at the start of the year. Some of you made progress last year. Doors opened and you identified pathways to fulfilment.

Whatever your status at this time, this year represents a new opportunity. I share with you a three-stage plan to make this year more than a changing of date. Today, we deal with Stage 1.


Stage 1: Dump the baggage

Unfortunately, we are guilty of dragging along negative baggage on life's journey. There are lies that we accept as being true, and they attach themselves to us and sow seeds at the subconscious level that hold us back.

Even highly successful individuals lug along some negative baggage. They learn how to work around the lies and so can you.

The source of the lies are varied and often compounded. Careless comments by individuals you respected is a major contributor. The parent or teacher who thought you would come to nothing or you would not be able to master a skill, may have crushed your ego at an age at which your self-esteem defences were underdeveloped.

You might have concocted your own lies. You refused to persevere and told the lie that you can't do this or that. The truth is that you copped out early.

The point is the negative baggage is there. What can you do about it?

It is important to note that resolutions operate at the conscious level. Habits reside at the subconscious level and behaviour modification must go deeper than mere affirmations.

Think of your life as a CD. It is embedded with everything about you. It includes all the lies that have been reinforced over and over. Modifying your behaviour long-term involves the rewriting of your CD with transformational data. This requires focus and consistent application. There are a number of support mechanisms that can help to go beyond the making of resolutions to transform you.

At the top of my list is fervent, believing prayer. Conduct a Google search for scientific evidence of the power of prayer. If you are a believer, put prayer to work for you. Be clear about your requests and act on them. You are more likely to get the job that you are seeking if you actually send out rÈsumÈs.

Visualisation has the backing of many experts. These are sessions in which you picture yourself living as if your goals have in fact been achieved. Picture yourself on the job. The more real you make the images, the greater the inspiration to modify your behaviour to achieve your goals.


'Empowering Why Question'

"Empowering Why Questions" provide a means of tricking the subconscious into allowing easier access to behaviour-modification prompts. Change is difficult because the subconscious tends to reject things that are different from what is on your CD. If your CD is filled with enjoying high-calorie treats, prompts to resist the ice cream are blocked.

An Empowering Why Question could be: "Why do I have so much control over my diet and have such a healthy lifestyle?" This sends the subconscious off to find out why this is so. This process prompts behaviour modification of your eating habits. The exercise needs consistent repetition and critically, you must avoid answering the question. Focusing on what you think is your reality confuses the issue.

There are interesting claims related to the transforming value of emotional freedom techniques (EFT) or tapping. The adventurous can investigate this further.

The bottom line is that the Stage One objectives are to take a deep look into your life and see if there are beliefs about yourself that are holding you back. Identify them and dump the baggage.

- Trevor E S Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People Academy home of the SHRM-accredited "Certified Behavioural Coach" award and "3-D Leader: Leading Difficult People" certification. E-mail: