Raise your hand if you made a New Years Resolution (..if anyone notices just say you're stretching..) Now, raise it even higher if you think you're going to keep it.
Congrats extra hand raisers, you just took your first step toward ensuring success! Pat yourself on the back with that hand now. It all really starts with what we think is going to happen. The moment you put your hand up, you activated all sorts of happy parts of your brain. You know you felt it. If you didn't put your hand up higher, you activated some unhappy ones. You know you felt it. So, which kind of thought do you think will bring you closer to achievement?
The brain is one of my favorite lesson topics, my students' too. It's the foundation of everything, not just learning. When you realize that the brain is also just another organ that can be tamed and trained, you've unlocked some pretty good bonuses in life. Building muscle is hard when you've never done it before. So is training yourself to think positively. But let's understand what the hard part really is - patience. We know what positive thoughts are, feel like, look like. We know they help us. If your mind is wired to slide down the "I can't" slope (which, by the way, is dependent more on your environment than willpower, so stop being so hard on yourself!) it always wants to go the way it knows first. It's like when you get in the car and automatically start driving to work instead of to the grocery store.
The musicians in the room know this story - there was a research study done once that aimed to determine whether raw talent or hours of practice made a better performer. The result? No matter what age or education level the instrumentalists were, the 'best' ones had all practiced at least 10,000 hours. This is good news for New Years Resolutioners. Every little step you take brings you closer to those 10,000 units of practice. And you can't logically doubt your abilities because until you've gotten to 10,000, you're not supposed to be great at it yet! So if you feel an urge of "I can't," stop and take a breath, find a better thought, practice your new behavior, and feel accomplished because you're one step closer to success than you were just one step ago!