It’s 2021 and you’re kicking off the new year putting your best foot forward. You consciously selected a resolution you believe will improve your health, your finances, your relationship or your job. And, I’m sure it will. The challenge lies in keeping your resolution.
Did you know, most people give up on their resolutions by January 17th. It’s known as D-Day. If you make it past this date, you’re in the 40% group who will make it to the 6-month mark. Only about 8% of the population will stick to their resolution.
Now, we don’t mean to be a downer. In fact, just the opposite. We want you to understand your obstacle and provide you with the tools to succeed. What you are up against is just an obstacle and obstacles can be mastered and overcome.
The reason New Year’s resolutions don’t often succeed is because 95% of what’s driving our behavior on a daily basis is embedded in our sub-conscious mind. We’re only consciously present 5% of the time. When you made that resolution, you made it consciously. However, habits don’t just change because we want them too. The sub-conscious mind can be stubborn, and resists change as its’ emotionally invested in our habits. For lasting change, we need to reprogram the feedback loop in the sub-conscious mind that created this behavior. We do this with a breath technique that incorporates breathing and coherence between the heart and emotional centers of the brain.
The second obstacle is the time of year for New Years’ resolutions. Our bodies live in concert with the cycles of nature. In the Fall and Winter months, we tend to have less energy physically and mentally as we have less sunlight. In the Spring and Summer months, we have more energy as there is more sunlight. It’s the easiest for us to transform behavior when we’re the most energized from the daylight hours. During the Fall & Winter months, you may notice it’s the most challenging to stick to your resolution in the early morning and evening hours. Armed with this knowledge, you can be prepared for the mind to challenge you the most during these times and incorporate strategies for your long-term success.
ACT’ing In Alignment With Our Resolution
Behind every thought whether it’s positive, negative or neutral is a corresponding emotion and behavior. Emotion can be a code word for energy. And, energy follows awareness. Wherever the mind is, energy follows. The conscious brain has access to 40 impulses per second which means you can have access to basically 40 choices in any given subjective state. The sub-conscious brain has access to 40,000 impulses per second. When we’re looking to change something in our life, it takes a disciplined strategy to direct our energy towards shifting the “resolution” of the conscious brain into reprogramming the sub-conscious brain. Shifting the mind with the mind is a willful action and willpower only gets us so far. Hence, only 8% of individuals stick to their resolution.
We recommend using the body to transform the mind. The body is only invested in maintaining our optimal health. Working with the body’s natural physiology and biochemistry, we incorporate a “body OVER mind” philosophy called ACT which translates into Awareness Choice Transformation. When we become “aware” of what we want to change, we can make the “choice” to “transform” it. To do this, we go to our body first utilizing breathing exercises.
The length, depth and pace (LDP) of our breath rate and patterns is closely linked to our internal and external environments. Breath rates and patterns are responding to our perception of the present moment relaying messages with the heart and brain. When we feel challenged to overcome the obstacle keeping us from resolution, we tend to breathe faster taking shallow breaths. Our heart rates rise and our cognitive mind tends to be a run-on sentence replaying all the reasons we shouldn’t make the choice we truly desire. We also tend to take more breaths in the winter than we do in the summer as it’s harder to breathe in colder temperatures.
Breathing is one of the autonomic functions of the body we can control. Learning to control the LDP of our breathing to maximize our energy levels while keeping our heart
rate and blood pressure balanced is essential to not only good health but transforming the sub-conscious mind. As we control the LDP of our breathing, we become aware of the choosing mind in a relaxed state promoting growth mode all year long. To train our breathing rate to 10 breaths or less, we’ll use a technique called Ocean Sounding Breath.
Breathe diaphragmatically slowing the length, depth & pace of the nasal diaphragmatic breath to 6 to 10 breaths or less per minute. Do this for 10 to 20 breaths (a breath being a full inhale and exhale). That signals the brain to relax as breathing at a rate of 10 breaths or less per minute signals the Parasympathetic Nervous System (or relaxation response system). In a relaxed state, we can feel our emotions, watching them from a place of non-reactivity and allowing them to move through our body. Slow your breathing, slow your thoughts, slow your emotions. Remember the term “what we resist, persists”. We want to set the table to relax into the feeling of our thoughts and emotions amplifying peak awareness with the lowest heart rate. We can incorporate this breathing exercise any time we choose personally and professionally.
Once you feel the emotions around the thoughts dissipate, now we incorporate a positive message in the present tense into the mind that supports your resolution. Inhale diaphragmatically with an ocean sound. At the top of the inhale, pause and say to yourself, “I Am", then exhale slowly repeating a phrase that supports your resolution. For example, "eating healthfully”, "exercising daily”, or “working without distraction”. Do this for several rounds until you feel your mind and body in sync with the resolution.
Every time the urge to resist your resolution comes up, incorporate the ocean sounding breathwork exercise. The sound will calm both the body AND the mind. As we move through the Winter months, slow your breathing and practice mentally repeating the present tense intention in your mind. In March, when there is more sunlight, harness the warm energy of Spring to reinforce your resolution.
This is how we use our “breath AS medicine” to feed the body and mind.
Go BE Great