What do champagne, the neon ball in Times Square, and New Year’s resolutions all have in common? They all appear sparkly and bright on December 31 and almost the next day have disappeared. Research shows that up to 88% of New Year’s resolutions end in failure, yet each year more than half of Americans still make them. What is it about the changing of the year that either inspires or pressures people to make such a great effort to try and change something that they have been unable to accomplish over the past 365 days?
It’s the unacceptability of the current condition. Whether you are talking about your weight, your relationship, your job, or anything else, sheer willpower only goes so far in breaking unhealthy patterns. People believe they are exerting free will in their decision making, but research shows greater than 40% of the actions people performed each day weren’t actual decisions, but habits.
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Charles Duhigg in his book, The Power of Habit, writes that habits “can emerge outside our consciousness…they often happen without our permission…(they) shape our lives far more than we realize, and they cause our brains to cling to them at the exclusion of all else, including common sense.” Some habits and patterns serve us well. Others don’t. It’s those that suck away our joy, health, and deep connection that so many of us wish to let go of on December 31. The turning of a “new leaf” or new calendar is one of the few times when we traditionally pause to reflect upon the quality of our lives and take measure.
The question that remains is if wanting to change is enough? Unfortunately, usually, no. We have worked with thousands of individuals who in the past, had come up short despite strong intentions and efforts. What do we do differently with them that allows for change? Well, you may have heard of a funny-looking process that’s used effectively by millions around the world to create surprisingly quick transformative changes in their health, love, and work, called EFT. It stands for the Emotional Freedom Techniques, and is often referred to as “tapping.” You may have seen it on the Dr. Oz show or read testimonials by folks like Bruce Lipton and Deepak Chopra. It’s sometimes referred to as an emotional version of acupuncture and it’s used to reduce the stress and unconscious blocks that stop us from creating change in our lives.
Here would be one way that you could begin to explore how EFT tapping could help you to release a block that might be a common New Year’s resolution. First, find an issue you wish to work on. Let’s say for example that you wish to lose 20 pounds. It’s important to understand that with EFT, the more specific you are, the more effective it will be. So, find a specific memory of a time in the past that you tried, but failed to follow through on your resolution to change. In this example, we will recall a dinner party with friends at which you ate three servings of chocolate ganache cake after promising yourself to only have one small serving.
Step One — The Setup
Begin by thinking of the event and noticing what emotion comes up for you. Perhaps it’s embarrassment from seeing someone noticing your enjoyment of the extra helpings. Next, notice if you can feel embarrassment anywhere in your body. Lastly, guess at how strong that emotion is on a 0-10 increasing intensity scale. That is what we need to get started. Take four fingers of your dominant hand and gently tap repeatedly on the outside “karate chop” point of the other hand and repeat the following: “Even though I feel ____ (i.e. this embarrassment) thinking about ____ (i.e. the three servings of cake), I still deeply and completely accept myself.” Repeat three times.
Step Two — Tapping The Points
Next, you will be tapping several points, one after the other, perhaps three to seven times; it doesn’t have to be exact. It doesn’t matter which side of the face and upper body you start with, and you may alternate sides if it is easier for you. The points are: top of head, third eye-point, side of the eyebrow, side of eye, under eye, under nose, chin point, collarbone, and under arm. Using your middle and index finger, tap these points while saying a reminder phrase to keep the mind focused on the problem. Use the reminder phrase “this_____,” filling in the blank with the emotion. In this case “this embarrassment.”
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Step Three — Assess And Continue
Measure your progress by checking how intense the feeling is now after a round or two of tapping the points. You may continue for another round of two by modifying the phrase slightly to, “Even though I still have some remaining ____ (embarrassment), I deeply and completely accept myself. The reminder phrase for this would be “this remaining ____ (embarrassment).”
All these steps become second nature after you have practiced on yourself several times. As you begin to release the emotional intensity and energetic blockages associated with past unsuccessful and related experiences, you’ll be amazed at how much more easily changes can occur without baggage attached. That said, given the fact that most of the associative learning and memories in our neural networks are below the level of consciousness, it is incredibly helpful to have a trained coach/practitioner to help guide you in connecting the dots for those blind-spots that you cannot see. Also, when one considers working on past traumatic events, one should not attempt doing this alone and should either consult with a professional trained in these techniques or consider becoming more competent by attending a clinical EFT workshop.
Whether it’s the transition to a new year, a new birth year, or any other opportune time that you are looking to make a real change in your life, consider that there are methods like EFT that can significantly increase your odds of winning your life’s jackpot.
This post was authored by Alina Frank.
In the age of constant communication, 24/7 jobs, and mandatory multitasking, finding a moment for reflection is almost impossible — almost. Courtney Somer made mental wellness her mission, creating Eyla, an online resource packed with inspiration and real-life tools to maintain your personal peace. We'll be sharing some of this goodness every week on R29 Guest Stars, so whether you're looking to get spiritual, clear your mind, or just read some motivating interviews, Eyla is here to help you shine brighter.