Eating habits can be broken.

Dr. Maxwell Maltz’s book, Psychocybernetics, tells us that habits are generally made (or broken) in 21 to 30 days. He was a cosmetic surgeon with some patients who could not see any difference in their appearance after surgery. He eliminated the disfigurement, but the patient still saw the defect as if it had not been repaired.
His study of this phenomena led to his book, Psychocybernetics. He studied the subconscious mind and determined that it took his patients about 21-30 days for a person to view and accept the changes made to their bodies.
Over time, this ’21-day’ (or 30-day) window for change has been used as an absolute for changing habits. He observed his patients only. Some made the change – accepting their new ‘look’ (defect-free) in less than 21 days. Others took many days longer. Some never saw the removed blemish, even months after surgery. They saw imperfection as if it had never been removed.
How does this help us today on New Year’s Resolution Day? For most of us, we will make resolutions because we always do. In 30 days, we will forget those intended resolutions and continue on as if we had no need for change in our lives. Our habit of not making changes that will help us never come to fruition.
Is there any help? Yes, remember the keyword in the discussion of the time required to realize a change is ‘minimum’. Some of us can make a change in 21 days. Some in 42 days. Most in 63 days. Yes, most of us take over two months to make changes complete and effective.
The standard New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. A five-pound loss in the first two weeks can be followed by two weeks of a plateau of no weight loss. The early success is erased by no further success. After 21 days, we give up on losing weight for the year. It is another habit we tried to change and failed.
Our subconscious mind’s primary directive is to protect us. One good example is that we learn very quickly when we put our hand on a hot stove and get burned, we don’t do that again (at least most of us learn that). We failed when the hot stove burnt us. That failure memory is locked into the archives of our brain. Anytime we get in a similar situation, our subconscious brain will monitor very closely to ensure that we don’t do it again.
The same is true with other failures in our lives. A failure is logged into our subconscious brain when we give up on our resolution to lose weight. Once or twice is not a big deal. It becomes a big deal when we have multiple failures. Our subconscious mind sees the possibility of failure occurring again and will do everything it can to prevent another failure. It will inhibit you from losing weight because it doesn’t want you to fail.
Nearly everything (95%+) of everything you do is controlled by your subconscious mind. If it doesn’t want you to be successful, it will be nearly impossible for you to succeed. However, there are things we can do. The subconscious mind does not know many things. One of them is real from imagined. If we imagine success from dieting more times that we have failed at losing weight, then the subconscious mind doesn’t know whether to help or hinder you from your objective.
The words we choose are also critical. We can select the words, ‘lose weight’ or ‘eating healthier’. Losing weight has a history in our brains. Eating healthier might not. There is a higher success rate when choosing better words to describe our intentions.
Stick with your New Year’s resolutions for at least two months, especially if you are not seeing the results you want. You might be surprised this year at your success rate. And, don’t try to change everything in one year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *