The new year is a great time to make a fresh start and focus on what you would like to do to improve your life in both personal and professional ways. You may think about behaving more mindfully with your family, friends or colleagues; working more efficiently in your job; or dedicating more time to your studies.
Naturally, we have a fundamental human desire to better ourselves and to gain a sense of fulfilment in what we do. Willpower alone is often not enough to make changes. We can, however, hone skills to help us create a successful life.
Changing unwanted behaviours is easier than you might imagine. Products or regimes can be helpful, but it is good to be aware that we have innate resources which can create positive outcomes if used properly. These resources include an emotional brain and a thinking brain. The right side of our brain – the emotional side – has a powerful and creative imagination. The left side of our brain – the thinking side – is logical and can help us decide what it is we want to do and how to put it into action.
American psychologist Daniel Goleman, PhD, said, “Emotions make us stupid”, which is very true! Daniel wrote a book called ‘Emotional Intelligence: How it can matter more than IQ’, in which he explains how self-awareness, impulse control, persistence, motivation, empathy and social deftness are all qualities that mark people who excel, whose relationships flourish and who are stars in the workplace.
There is often a strong emotional connection with the behaviour we want to change and the lifestyle built around it, so it can take time for changes to take effect. The main thing which triggers behavioural change is emotion, and there have to be strong feelings behind the new behaviour to give it the power to stay. For example, when you reach the point where the undesirable habit or activity gives more pain than pleasure, you simply don’t want to do it anymore. You will have changed the feelings and expectations in your mind.
The keys to success with behavioural change are to:
- Be very clear about the negative effects the unwanted behaviour causes.
- Think of the positives surrounding the new behaviour.
- Anticipate any situations where you may become more emotional, and have coping strategies in place to deal with them.
- Above all, expect the best and learn from any difficulties on the way. Any lapses into old behaviour are merely learning opportunities and chances for refinement before the change becomes inbuilt.
We all have the ability to improve our emotional intelligence to better our relationship with ourselves and those around us. Let’s make it a new year’s goal to create a life which is meaningful and fulfilled.
If you are interested in reading Daniel Goleman’s book, you can purchase it on Amazon.co.uk here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Emotional-Intelligence-Matter-More-Than/dp/0747528306.