Happy 2013! With a very determined new Moon in Capricorn on Jan. 11, your New Year's resolutions may have unexpected staying power.
A fortunate confluence of planetary alignments this month brings an opportunity to change even the most stubborn habits. New research in the past decade has illuminated how habits work and how they can be changed.
Here are a few things to consider when embarking on your New Year's resolutions that will help you follow through.
(1) Will power is finite quantity. Put things on your path of least resistance.
Scientific evidence is mounting that will power is a finite quantity. If you use it in one area of your life (like the workplace), you may find there's not much left over to fuel change in another area of your life (like going to the gym). So conserve your will power and put desired behavior on your path of least resistance (like sleeping in your gym clothes), or raise the difficulty of habits you want to change (like hiding the batteries for the remote control if you want to watch less television).
(2) Change a keystone habit first.
Keystone habits are habits with ripple effects. Some changes you make can make other changes easier. For example, starting an exercise routine even as simple as walking a few times a week often leads to healthier eating naturally. Things like keeping a daily success log, or meditation, may also be keystone habits. Experiment and find yours and take advantage of the ripple effect.
(3) Do one thing at a time. Take small steps, build a track record of success, and reward the steps you take along the way.
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Each small success releases positive neurotransmitters than can help you create new routines, and redefine old ones, more rapidly. So don't try to change your whole life overnight, pick one thing, stick with it until you feel it's become a new habit, and go on to the next.
(4) Cultivate social support.
We get by better with the help of our friends. A strong social support network is one of the top indicators of health, happiness and success. Join with friends who want to help you succeed in your chosen Resolution, or start a mutual support group to help each other.
(5) Trust that change is possible.
Cutting-edge research demonstrates that when you engage the centers of your body that involve trust, it produces a hormonal cascade that decreases anxiety and stress that makes changing habits easier.
If you're determined to change your world and would like extra insight, you may also want to check out the latest books on harnessing habits to achieve your goals:
Astrologer and change-catalyst Donna Woodwell lives in Austin, Texas. You can also catch up with her at fourmoonsastrology.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/fourmoonsastrology on or Twitter @lunalicious.
Marjorie Orr has an M.A. (Hons) in English Literature and Philosophy from Glasgow University, and was a current affairs journalist, award-winning BBC TV documentary producer and then a psychotherapist. She has a worldwide following for her astrology... read more