KellySpeakingHoping to wake up as some new, ideal you in 2013?

Most New Year’s resolutions are based on the assumption that who you really are is inadequate, and must be improved through self-discipline, joyless striving, and maybe a leftover Christmas miracle.

I invite you to take a different approach this year, one that starts from the recognition that whatever it is you want to be, do, or have, you already have the seeds inside yourself to make it happen. With a bit of focused energy and self-compassion, you can reach your goals. I call this approach “New Year, TRUE You.”

Instead of vowing to makeover your personality, why not commit to honoring your strengths and values? Give yourself permission to dream big, even if you’re more used to self-doubt. Take positive steps toward change even if you feel overwhelmed or unsure where you’re headed.

To help you with whatever your 2013 goals are, I’ve put together a guide to the various programs and resources I’ve created to support the process of change. Pick the one that seems like right fit for you; though they differ in content, the spirit is the same.

Happy New Year!

Best,

Kelly

“Boost Your Willpower: 28 Days to Create the Change You Want A Free 4-Week Online Program through YogaJournal.com

Through this exclusive Yoga Journal program, created by Stanford University psychologist Kelly McGonigal, you will learn to identify what you really want and gain the tools and skills needed to reach those goals. You can do this program anytime, at your own pace. After you sign up, you’ll receive daily emails with links to asana practices, meditations, and self-reflection exercises to tap your inner guidance, focus your energy, and strengthen your willpower muscles. Plus, you’ll enjoy great information and tips about how willpower works and how to create a life that supports all of your goals. The program also includes invitations to live online chats with Dr. McGonigal.

Note: I’m especially excited about this program because it provides participants with free access to professionally produced yoga videos and guided meditations. The program includes four different yoga videos: a gentle flow practice emphasizing breathing stretches; a more energetic flow practice accessible to all levels; a restorative yoga practice; and my favorite, a simple flow practice integrating mudras (hand gestures). Sign up now!

Choose to Change” On-Demand 6-Week Video/Audio course from SoundsTrue.com

Do you feel stuck in old habits that no longer serve you? Have you been struggling to make a change that you know will bring greater health and happiness into your life? In Choose to Change, Dr. Kelly McGonigal presents a six-week online video course on the process of intentional change that blends lecture, experiential exercises and guided meditations, Q&A with participants, and more. CE credits available to a range of healthcare professionals. This series includes videos of previously live sessions, as well as downloadable MP3s of all meditation/self-reflection practices in the program. Get immediate access online at Sounds True.

The Neuroscience of Change” 6-Session Audio Program from SoundsTrue.com

The Neuroscience of Change: A Compassion-Based Guide to Personal Transformation presents six live (unscripted) talks and twelve guided self-reflection and mediation practices to support the process of change. This audio series integrates the most exciting scientific findings about how the mind works with the wisdom of mind-body traditions like yoga and Buddhism. It deepens some of the most important ideas from The Willpower Instinct, including the importance of mindfulness, self-compassion, and acceptance for change. The program also provides practical support to help you explore and embody these qualities through breathing, meditation, and relaxation practices.

You can order the 6-CD set OR download the program in MP3 format at Sounds True. CE Credits available for the downloadable version.

Or order the 6-CD set from any major bookseller, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Chapters (Canada), and Indie Bound.

The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It.

Available in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook formats everywhere. Also available in Chinese, Dutch, German, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and other translations — check your regional booksellers to see if it is available. Published as “Maximum Willpower” in the UK.

My fall 2011 Stanford University course “How to Think Like a Psychologist” is now available as a series of free, downloadable videos through iTunes university.

In this fun course, I invited my favorite psychology and neuroscience researchers at Stanford to talk about their work and what it means for everyday life and real-world problems. Each class starts with a 45-min lecture by the guest speaker, followed by about 30 minutes of Q&A from myself and course participants. I had a great time grilling these amazing scientists about everything from politics to education, parenting, shopping, and the scientific process. You’ll even hear a few personal stories they’ve never shared in public before!

Featured speakers include: Chris Bryan, Philippe Goldin, James Gross, Bridgette Martin Hard, Brian Knutson, and Greg Walton. My special thanks to these psychologists for agreeing to let us share their talks with the world. (Several speakers declined, citing a “bad hair day” and other concerns. Oh well.)

Check out the full course at iTunes.

And for more details about my psychology classes that are open to the general public, visit Stanford Continuing Studies.

Enjoy!

San Francisco Public Radio did a lovely 1-hr show on the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. The piece features the founder of CCARE, the scientists who are studying compassion, as well as one of my compassion cultivation courses, and stories from students in it.

You can download or stream the audio story here, or read the transcript here.

Below is one of my favorite excerpts:

Deborah Defilippo heard about CCARE when she attended the 2010 discussion between scientists and the Dalai Lama. Researchers talked about the health benefits of meditation.

“I am, I guess you could say I’m a type A, high achieving person,” DeFilippo says. “And I’m now catching myself when someone in front of me is driving below the speed limit, saying the phrases that are in almost every single meditation practice that Kelly has. And that is, you say for each individual and yourself and the world, ‘May you be happy. May you be free from pain and suffering. And may you experience joy and peace.’ …It’s like taking a deep breath and a lot of calm does instill within me.”

Stanford’s CCARE program has its critics. Some worry this type of secular practice will lose something, and perhaps lack substance. Others say the aspirations of CCARE – to make a more compassionate world  — are too idealistic. They question how much students can learn in nine weeks.

But McGonigal says many students do connect what’s taught by CCARE with what’s occurring in their lives.

“One of my favorite stories was a man who was in a church setting and a homeless woman had approached this group that was meeting at the church…. And he could feel in himself that little bit of threat or stress arising that would normally have led him to maybe get rid of that person as quickly as possible so that she didn’t disturb the group that was meeting.”

The man remembered a lesson from the previous week in class.

“He considered the other ways of thinking about her,” McGonigal said. “That, just like him, she was human. She was suffering. Going down the checklist, does this person need help? Do I have the resources to help? And turns out that she had diabetes and she needed food and there wasn’t food available in that moment and the people in the group were able to get her something to eat and the whole thing ended very differently because he was using this framework from the study that we talked about … People can take something from a study and use it in everyday life.”

– Narrated by Judy Silber for San Francisco Public Radio. You can download or stream the audio story here, or read the entire transcript here.

I’m excited to announce the release of my latest audiobook, which presents six live lectures and twelve guided self-reflection and mediation practices. The Neuroscience of Change: A Compassion-Based Guide to Personal Transformation (Sounds True) integrates the most exciting scientific findings about how the mind works with the wisdom of mind-body traditions like yoga and Buddhism. It deepens some of the most important ideas from The Willpower Instinct (Avery 2012), including the importance of mindfulness, self-compassion, and acceptance for change. The program also provides practical support to help you explore and embody these qualities through breathing, meditation, and relaxation practices.

You can order the 6-CD set OR download the program in MP3 format at Sounds True.

Or order the 6-CD set from any major bookseller, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Chapters (Canada), and Indie Bound.

Program Description

Personal Transformation Based on Mindfulness and Self-Compassion

What’s your most important goal? Why does it matter so deeply? How will you overcome the obstacles? Answer these questions with sincerity, proceed with mindfulness and compassion, and you have just set in motion a revolutionary method for personal change that is supported by both the latest science and traditional wisdom. On The Neuroscience of Change, psychologist and award-winning Stanford lecturer Kelly McGonigal presents six sessions of breakthrough ideas, guided practices, and real-world exercises for making self-awareness and kindness the basis for meaningful transformation.

Practical Methods to Retrain Your Brain to Support Your Goals

Our understanding of the incredible power of the human brain is at an all-time high, with the emerging fields of neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, and psychophysiology opening new possibilities for greater health, happiness, and freedom from suffering. Drawing on her training as a research scientist and longtime practitioner of meditation and yoga, Dr. McGonigal reveals these startling findings, including the clinically supported methods for training the mind away from default states that no longer serve us, and establishing behaviors and attitudes aligned with our highest values and aspirations.

The First Rule of Change: It’s Already Happening

As the world’s wisdom traditions teach and science is now verifying, our lives are in fact defined by constant change. Whether you’re looking to change a behavior, improve your health or other circumstances, or simply for a way to bring hope and resilience into your life as it is, The Neuroscience of Change will help you trust yourself and unfold your true capacities for personal transformation.

Highlights:

  • Willingness, self-awareness, and surrender—how to nourish the seeds of change
  • Focusing on the process, not the outcome
  • How to overcome the “trigger-to-instinct” reaction
  • The proven benefits of meditation—and how to start practicing yourself
  • How to transform self-criticism into self-compassion
  • Why your mind creates habits-and how to consciously create new ones
  • Making values-driven commitments
  • Visualization and the principle of “encoding prospective memories”
  • The power of the vow
  • “Deep activation” and the danger of rejecting what is
  • Working with inner experiences as the key to making outward change
  • Six hours of breakthrough science, practical wisdom, guided exercises, and mindfulness meditations for making positive change that lasts

You can order the 6-CD set OR download the complete set at Sounds True.

Or order the 6-CD set from any major bookseller, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Chapters (Canada), and Indie Bound.

In this 1-hour webisode of the tv show “Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour“, Dr. Kirsten Sanford and Dr. Kelly McGonigal discuss the science of self-control, why and how to become a “willpower scientist” in your own life, and what the latest research says about parenting strategies, behavior change, and motivation.

Watch via the link below, or download the audio or video for your ipod/phone/computer.

http://twit.tv/embed/10740

It was a blast to be on The Today Show! Check out the interview discussing my new book The Willpower Instinct,  and my Stanford Continuing Studies class “The Science of Willpower.”

Click to watch: The Today Show Willpower Tips

Interview by Matt Lauer. Original broadcast: 1/3/2012.

Whatever your New Year’s Resolution, there’s a science-help book for you.  You’ll get great advice mixed in with the funniest, most fascinating stories and studies science can provide. I put together my favorite science-help books for every possible New Year’s Resolution.

Check out the slide show on the Huffington Post’s Books Section.

[Excerpted Below]

The self-help shelves are full of guides on weight loss, health, happiness, and self-improvement. But sometimes the most life-changing ideas and advice are found in the science section.

As a health psychologist, it’s my job to help people make difficult changes. I learned early on that it was easier to change people’s attitudes and behaviors with a fascinating new finding than with platitudes or pleading. The right study doesn’t just convince you that you should do something. It gives you a whole new way to understand yourself and the world around you.

For example, when I show my Stanford students videos of an addicted rat willing to be electrocuted for its next fix, they report back that remembering this image gives them the willpower to resist temptation. Pictures of how the brain responds to bargains helps shopaholics understand their need to buy; studies showing the importance of self-compassion for weight loss convinced dieters to stop calling themselves fat, lazy, and hopeless.

And in my experience, it’s these “A-ha!” insights that give us the inspiration and motivation to make a change for good. That’s why I wrote The Willpower Instinct – to give people enough A-ha moments to tackle any challenge.

Want to know my favorite picks for science help to be happier, get fit, save money, have better sex, lose weight, break bad habits, be kinder to yourself, and more? Check out the slide show on the Huffington Post’s Books Section.

Bookstore browsing image by Martin Cathrae, licensed under Creative Commons.