“It’s never too late to become who you want to be. I hope you live a life that you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over.” F. Scott Fitzgerald
With a New Year happily underway, I find myself working with many clients who want to start afresh in some way. As well as those that have behaviours, circumstances and patterns that they want to bring to an end, many are coming because they want to start a new pattern or behaviour, have a goal or desired new outcome for their life.
Whilst exercise and better eating habits are and I guess always will be a focal point for a January of any year, I find many people who are also looking to integrate new ways of enjoying their lives better. Whether that is with a new meditation practice, energy management practices, learning a new skill, making social media videos, being more mindful, reading books instead of Facebook (all real) or some different form of making time for themselves. The thing in common is that all of these people have recognized that they need to go a little bit deeper within themselves if they want to achieve their new goal or outcome.
A lot of people talk about goals, however to achieve goals or permanent change, usually what needs to happen is to look at the underlying habits that a person already has in place that may either help or prevent them from achieving their aim to establish their new habit or practice on a permanent basis. And that is why they come to someone like me.
The simple solution that I use on many occasions is hypnosis, for it is very helpful when working with the underlying patterns within the subconscious. I would merrily suggest that many of our existing habits and practices are already a form of hypnosis, i.e. behaviours and patterns that are deeply ingrained into our respective subconscious that we carry out on auto pilot. So, the idea of using hypnosis to add in a new habit or goal often works brilliantly well.
Some would say that if you like the sound of any new goal objective enough, then you will not hesitate in integrating it into your life, without needing to go anywhere near hypnosis. Statistics tell a different story though, with ideas like exercise and new eating habits often falling away for many people by the time the calendar saunters into February. Initiating the new idea is usually easy, maintaining it is the challenge.
It may surprise you to read that I also say that you do not necessarily need to use hypnosis for a new habit, and you might be able to simply use a logical and practical approach i.e a plan.
I always suggest to my clients that they need a plan for whatever change they want to initiate, even when working with hypnosis (It is not magic after all ;-). A typical plan for bring a new habit in might be:
- Make a list of your existing daily/weekly habits/behaviors
- Hang your new habit on one of them
- Create a cue
- Start small
- Celebrate your success
Now this sounds simple and it is, however you need to put a bit of work in at the start. The reality is point #1 takes a bit of time and attention. A lot of our day is built out of routine, and in order to build something new into our routines, then we have to do a little of re-structuring. So, a reasonably thorough list is what is needed.
Honest identification of potentially unhelpful habits and behaviours (such as looking at your phone to check social media as soon as you wake up), and essential behaviours (such as personal hygiene routines) is extremely helpful for starting something new.
The trick is to look at the essential behaviours and what how you can use them to hang a new habit on (point#2). For example, I worked with someone recently who needs to take their energy management practice seriously and is starting their day by focusing on it while they are in the bathroom in the morning. The very act of getting in the shower in the morning is the cue (point 3) to initiate the new habit. Others use their journey into work as habits to hang a new habit on. One particularly inventive client uses the moment he walks through his office door to cultivate an attitude of being more mindful of himself and others.
The point is when you hang a new habit onto an existing one (however trivial the habit might appear to be) then it becomes a lot easier to make permanent, especially so when you have a fixed cue to remind you. It all prompts your subconscious to accept a new habit.
Point #4 – starting small means exactly that…If you are starting a meditation practice and you set your sights for an hour’s meditation, then that’s a very hard place to start. If you settle on 5 minutes to start off, then that’s very achievable. Setting small achieve steps in any goal is the way to reach and maintain them.
Point #5 – Celebrate is so important for any new enterprise. It’s very well saying “I’m not there yet” (which may be entirely), however the language of that is very self-defeating. Far better to celebrate and congratulate yourself on the progress you have made to date.
And of course, if you want to, then you can still use hypnosis to reinforce all of the above
Love & Blessings