Pretty much all of us know, or at least have a rough idea what things we’d like to change in order to have a better life. Whether that is to get into shape physically, to do better in our career, have a better work/life balance, better relationships, or simply to procrastinate less (or all of the above) we have at least thought about it, and probably tried from time to time to change.
To help us there’s vast array of books, magazines, and seminars on how to manage your time, plan your life, and how to be happy. We learn about models like GROW, setting SMART goals, how to DREAM*, all of which give great advice. Without doubt, if you were to apply even some of the advice and techniques from these books and seminars your personal life will improve drastically. How could it not?
So why isn’t it happening, what’s going wrong, why can’t we just seem to get motivated enough to reach our true potential. Well the truth is that simply knowing how to do it isn’t enough. We also have to believe that we will achieve those goals, and I don’t mean just saying it but actually believing it at the subconscious level. Years ago life coaches would tell everyone to use affirmations...which was to tell yourself as often as possible (especially facing the mirror every morning, hoping nobody is watching) things like ‘I am thin’, or ‘I am successful’, or ‘I am confident’. The idea was to convince yourself that you were indeed who you said you were following which you would start to behave in a way that fitted in with this new identity.
The only thing wrong with this method was that it was either too slow (and required endless repetition) or it just wasn’t effective for many people. The issue was that affirmations worked primarily at the conscious level (like many of the books and seminars) and it would only become effective if it eventually filtered down to the subconscious.
The key to understanding this is that the most powerful change happens at the subconscious level. Our subconscious mind runs the vast majority of our life. It makes most of our daily decisions (especially the ones we do without thinking too much about and the ones that involve our emotions), it also determines which thoughts bubble up to our conscious much of the time, it determines what we do or do not notice from moment to moment (through the functions of Deletion, Distortion, and Generalisation), and finally it controls our moods at any given time. So if you can get your subconscious working for you and get it to drag you in the right direction then suddenly everything changes. Change becomes effortless, the things you do from one moment to the next become syncronised with your goal, and you find that distractions are less common.
So going back to affirmations...as you would stand there telling yourself that you’re the best thing sliced bread repeatedly every day, your subconscious mind would be thinking ‘Oh come on, who are you trying to kid? Your neighbour Tim is so much better than you’.
So the question then becomes ‘how can I change at the subconscious level?’ This is where Cognitive Hypnotherapy comes in. It works at the deeper subconscious level so any changes may be experienced as a change in mood, noticing different things, having different thoughts, or simply noticing that you do things differently.
Of course that is just part of the story, as we do have to find out which beliefs are inhibiting us and what kinds of beliefs will be more helpful. Then we can decide on a course of action, after all self development is an ongoing process and we do need to know where we are going. This also means we need to work out what the goals are for each client, otherwise how will we know when we’ve reached them?
(*GROW; Goals, Reality, Actions, Will. SMART; Specific, Measureable, Agreed, Realistic, Time-Bound. DREAM; Dedication, Responsibility, Education, Attitude, Motivation)