Nearly 25% of folks who made New Year’s Resolutions for 2012 will have abandoned them after only one week. Let’s change the world one goal at a time: Join me at my “Resolution Revolution” workshop on Saturday, January 14th at 10 am. If you’re in Los Angeles and want a chance to enjoy trance, click the Special Events link at end of the home page at www.VossHypnotics.com.
In the meantime, I want to give you a hand in making your resolution as powerful and effective as possible.
I know you’re expecting to learn something positive here. And so you shall. But first, let’s get one thing out of the way. And that’s a big THUMBS DOWN for a classic technique:
AFFIRMATIONS DON’T WORK.
Well, to be fair, I mean to say that most affirmations don’t work.
When I first started my practice, someone suggested I keep repeating to myself, affirmations of success. I tried for a whole day: “I’m a wealthy therapist. I’m rich. I’m successful.” By the end of the day, did I believe I was rich? No, I thought, “there’s a moron chanting in my head!”
If we repeat over and over again things we don’t believe, we simply learn not to trust ourselves. No wonder why we don’t feel confident. Never lie to yourself again. There’s a better way. To me, affirmations are those unexamined, cheerful, generic slogans people want you to paste on your mirror. A poweful suggestion is a secret message that could only be given to you by you.
SUCCESSFUL SUGGESTIONS use these SIX HANDY SECRETS
I follow the rule of thumb: use images that are easy to remember. And it’s a metaphor! Enjoy:
The THUMB (our opposable digit) makes things POSSIBLE.
Your resolution must not only BE possible; you must BELIEVE it is possible. If you were to resolve, for example, to become the next president of the United States and were not already in the primaries, that’s a poor choice. (If you are in the primaries and reading this, call. I can help!)
What about resolving to lose 50 pounds? If that takes you below where you’ve ever been comfortable, it might physically be possible but not seem so to your stubborn inner mind.
Keep your mind a credible source of information by making believable, possible goals. You can do that in several ways – put it out in the future: “By my next birthday, I am slender and strong, a perfect size 12.” Or make it incremental, “Every week, I shed one pound of excess fat,” “Every day I become more slender and strong.” Or make it a process goal, “Every day, I satisfy myself with healthy, delicious food and enjoy exercising.”
[Note in the “Be Real” department: For the entire first draft of this post, my resolution example was “a perfect size 10.” But this is MY resolution, this year, to take my fitness to the next level. And I’m a size 14/16 now. I know size 10 is possible. But I’ve never been that size, except perhaps for a week in the last century. So despite living in LA where people actually wear size “Zero,” I’m going for a goal that is credible to me!]
The INDEX FINGER makes things PRECISE, as it points exactly where you want to go.
Without a real target, you don’t have a goal, you just have an idea. If someone resolves to lose “some” weight, they might be done after just one pound. Health professionals usually recommend a goal of size rather than weight anyway, as converting fat to muscle can make a slim size heavier than you think. “By my next birthday, I’m slender and strong, a perfect size 12.”
The MIDDLE FINGER gives a POWERFUL signal.
Want to stick with your goal? Make it matter. I’ve had clients come in who want to give up smoking because they “should.” hmm. One who made it recently? He had a powerful desire to have more stamina at his martial arts classes. And me? “slender and strong” sounds great – and counteracts any leftover misgivings I have about feeling vulnerable as a whispy little skinny girl.
The RING FINGER is an indicator of your PRESENT Status.
Even if your goal is future (By the time I’m 40) the suggestion needs to be in the present tense. “My lungs are powerful and so am I.” Repeating to yourself that “I WILL BE slender” reinforces the notion that you ARE NOT. Use your suggestion or affirmation to take yourself into your choice of possible futures.
A good suggestion is a mini-mental rehearsal. When you imagine, sense and feel, “I AM slender and strong,” you actually create a memory. Your body and subconscious sense that inevitability and begin doing now what is necessary to get from here to there.
The LITTLE FINGER, or “I” in sign language, makes things PERSONAL.
You already know this, but you can only improve your own self. Who is slender and strong? Whose lungs are powerful? If your self-suggestion depends on other people, you’re giving away your power: “The band practices brilliantly every day,” or “My kids appreciate me.”
And a good suggestion is personal in the sense of being uniquely yours. “Get healthy” is not only imprecise, it’s impersonal. “Have stamina to blast through my martial arts class,” is personal. Your powerful suggestion is likely to be different from mine — and that’s a good thing!
Finally, back to the THUMB for POSITIVE Thumbs up sign.
When we process language, we hear the action words and specific nouns…. It’s a bit like a search-engine, skipping over boring words like “and,” “don’t” and “not.” So repeating over an over again, “Do NOT eat too much,” sounds to the inner mind like, “blah blah Eat Too Much.” Programming the NO is like when a worried parent at the playground calls out, “Don’t Fall!” and suddenly the idea of falling takes hold and you can see the child walking along the edge of the wall begin to sway. Better suggestions? “Keep your balance!” “Smaller portions satisfy you.”
Negative language to anyone who is highly suggestible – children, people in shock, get right into the subconscious mind. My favorite is in the movies when someone gets shot and their partner runs over to them as they lie bleeding, shouting, “Don’t die on me!” What? I’m dying? Okay, I guess I’m dying. Better suggestion? “Keep breathing!”
So look over your resolutions. Choose ONE to focus on. A see what happens when you make it Possible, Precise, Powerful, Present, Personal and Positive.
And let me know how well it goes!