It’s March already – how many of you are still going strong with your New Year’s resolutions? Apparently, around 66% of New Year’s resolutions last one month or less… so if you have broken yours already you’re definitely not alone!

New Year’s resolutions are notoriously hard to keep. Perhaps we’re trying to change too many things at the same time, or perhaps the target we set is too unrealistic. There are many reasons why only about 8% of people stick with their resolutions. But why?

It might be a good idea to implement changes gradually. For example, if you want to lose weight, cutting out sweets and sugar and bread and pasta and coffee and milk and who-knows-what-else all at the same time will feel pretty daunting… and difficult to follow through. Changing your diet is essential if you want to lose weight – but you have to do it in a way that is sustainable. There’s no point cutting out everything you used to eat for a week or two, then giving up the diet. Instead, you can start with cutting down on processed foods and starting to eat more fresh and home-cooked meals. Change one thing at a time; and once you’ve mastered that change, add a new one. You’re much more likely to succeed this way.

Changing our habits is definitely not easy. We need willpower and persistence  – but if our goals are very big and require changes at a deeper level, we might need some extra help as well. A few days ago I attended a mind coaching talk by Asad Khan, who shed some light on why willpower alone is not always enough:

“The issue with New Year’s resolutions is, you’re not changing who you are. If you’re trying to do something which is different to your self-image, you won’t be able to do it. There is no willpower that can push you through your self-image. What you need willpower for is to create that visualisation.” – Asad Khan

Let’s go back to the scenario of wanting to lose weight, which is actually one of the most common New Year’s resolutions to make. If you want to change your whole body shape and go down a few dress sizes, then adding visualisation to your diet and exercise regime is a good idea.

Picture yourself at your ideal weight: how do you look? What clothes are you wearing? What perfume? How about your hair and makeup? And most importantly – what does it feel like? Create an image in your mind and keep visualising that image regularly. You could even make an image with Photoshop that you can print out and put it somewhere where you can see it all the time. Mirrors, bedroom wall, fridge door, handbag, mobile phone wall paper… you get the idea.

You can do the same thing with any other goal that you might have. Small, sustainable steps will make it seem much more achievable, and if you add visualisation as a daily practice you have a much higher chance of actually hitting that goal. The mind is a very powerful thing – and it can either hinder you, or it can aid you. You might as well learn how to use it to your advantage. And if you need any help with that, check out Asad Khan’s website or head over to his Facebook page.

This year, make your dreams a reality. Don’t just wish for it – do it.