Why willpower is unlikely to help you keep those resolutions


The vast majority of New Year resolutions end in failure. Why? Because we believe our conscious mind is running the show, while actually the unconscious is much more powerful.

Willpower, our conscious effort to change, to resist has been proven to be very weak indeed. A Stanford University experiment proved that as the cognitive load of the conscious mind goes up, people are much more likely to make non-sensible choices. In the experiment two groups of students were asked to remember numbers – one group had to remember a two-digit number – the other group seven digits. After walking down the hall they had to choose a snack – the group with the seven digit number was almost twice as likely to choose chocolate cake over fruit.

Let’s face it as we are getting back to our busy lives after the Christmas break our cognitive load is going up more often than down. Relying on willpower is unlikely to work.

We need to ask our unconscious mind for support. This autopilot, in charge of our habits and go-to solutions needs to be on our side if we want to have any chance of keeping those resolutions.

Problem is, the unconscious mind does not listen to reason. We need to find out what emotional benefit we are getting from that problem behaviour we are trying to change. Do we eat in order to cover up boredom? In which case simply going on a diet is not going to work – we need to address what is making us bored. Take the plunge to go for that new job or start a new hobby. That way your chances of diet success will be much higher.

As with most things in life, and brand development, things work much better when the conscious and unconscious are aligned.

You can find out more about the unconscious mind and how to influence it here: 7 Facts about the unconscious mind

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