By Susanna Sweeney, MSc, MBACP, CHT
Using self hypnosis for goal setting, you will learn how to avoid the 7 most common mistakes in conventional thinking around how to set goals so that you can set your goals correctly and will succeed. I will show you how to change your mindset around goal setting using an approach informed by hypnosis.
The prime example for how difficult it can be for people to set and achieve goals in life without harnessing the subconscious mind is found in New Year’s resolutions.
Remember the time you
decided lose weight or to give up smoking for New Year’s? I bet those
plans came apart within a couple of weeks. For most people they do.
This is where self hypnosis for goal setting comes in- it really makes a difference, helping you navigate the obstacles and limitations your mind sets for you. Let's talk about the 7 most common mistakes in conventional thinking around goal setting, and I will show you how applying thinking based on self hypnosis will put you ahead of the posse.
Making a change is not just a conscious decision.
Remember, the conscious mind makes up only 10-20 percent of our overall brain power.
The rest is dominated by the subconscious mind. If you want to achieve permanent change, you have to harness your subconscious mind power.
The subconscious mind is where emotions, desires and habits live. Believe it or not, these are so much stronger than conscious thought when it comes to decision making. And unless you teach yourself to change these, achieving your goal will be a struggle of willpower.
Hypnosis for goal setting therefore requires dismantling some subconscious mind programming- in as far as the old programming is holding you back from realizing your goal.
Setting vague goals ends up in vague or no results. “I am going to cut down my smoking.” is a vague goal. Your subconscious mind won't know what you want it to do.
When do you want to stop smoking? Make sure to be specific.
If you want to appeal to your subconscious mind, you must speak its language. And the language of the subconscious mind is specific.
“I am going to cut down by one cigarette each day starting today and I will quit smoking by March 1st.” This is a specific goal which contains an action step for each day. Taken together, these action steps spread over a space of time will help you achieve a major goal.
So, make sure you set specific goals, and ideally include concrete action steps.
It’s really easy to become over enthusiastic and set your goals so high that you set yourself up for failure.
It’s best to change only one thing at a time.
For example, many people want to quit smoking without gaining weight.
For such double goals, my suggestion is to break them down into single components which are easier for the subconscious mind to handle.
In the case of weight concerns while quitting cigarettes, my suggestion is focus on quitting smoking first, while stabilizing your weight. Do not attempt to lose weight at the same time as giving up tobacco because you can easily confuse your subconscious that way.
Your subconscious mind is not great at multi tasking, but is excellent at zooming in on one particular issue and focusing all energy on that. So, stick to one goal at a time. You can set another goal once you have achieved the first one. Take it one step at a time.
If you are like most people you will think of change in your life in either-or-terms. It’s either success or it is failure.
In my opinion, not a good concept. Why?
At the first perceived failure people usually give up. Why?
Perceived failure produces negative emotions such as shame and disappointment.
But self hypnosis thrives on positive emotion.
Change your mind set and accept that in reality, achieving lasting change is always a journey. It’s a journey of ups and down, trials and tribulations, until the change you want to make becomes permanent. So called failures are part of this journey.
Think of the journey this way: Every ‘failure’ offers precious learning.
Therefore, when you make a mistake or 'fall off the wagon', just get back on as if the glitch never happened at all, and continue on your journey towards your goal.
Your subconscious mind will thank you and will help you to never give up, as long as you keep your emotions positive.
I have already talked about how all-or-nothing thinking that
leads to perceived ‘failures’ and often winds up in negative emotions.
But the warning about negative emotions stretches beyond that. Many people continually judge themselves, often without being consciously aware they are doing this. Beware of your inner dialogue when you find yourself thinking things such as:
Once you judge yourself, the door is wide open for negative emotions. Self-blame leads to shame, fear and anger.
These emotions in turn lead
to your system shutting down and preserving the status quo.
subconscious mind, if it is to embrace change, likes positive emotion to
be associated with the change. You must support yourself in maintaining a positive attitude throughout to be able to achieve your goal.
Using thinking based on self-hypnosis for goal setting will help you with that.
Mind power techniques for mastering your emotions can help you nurture positive emotions and put negative emotions in their place.
Use auto suggestions to boost positive emotions and to regularly remind your subconscious mind of your (specific) goal.
Use auto suggestion techniques to formulate your auto suggestions correctly so that they will work for you and not against you.
We tend to believe that our conscious mind, which we experience during day time hours, is all there is to ourselves.
We like to think of ourselves as perfectly rational and we like to believe that every decision we make is based on rational thought.
There is a lot of research on psychological phenomena that shows that nothing could be further from the truth.
One good example is research on
different types of psychological biases that we use unconsciously as short cuts in
decision making. Here, research has shown that decisions tend to be much
more irrational than they are rational.
In reality, we are much more likely to make decisions based on emotional experiences in the moment. Then we justify them later with rational thought.
In hypnosis, the model we use
describes the rational mind as making up no more than 10 to 20 percent
of our brainpower, the rest being run by the subconscious.
The problem is, we tend to ignore our subconscious. We tend to deny it exists at all. Some people are even afraid of it. That means ignoring and neglecting 80 to 90% of our brainpower.
And the more you ignore the subconscious, the more it is left to its own devices, running whatever programs it sees fit. This subconscious mind programming runs in the background while you are going about your daily life, while you are asleep at night. These programs are running whether you are aware of them or not. Read more about how this plays out on a daily basis in my article: "Does Self Hypnosis Work?"
Often, these programs are based on negative experiences in childhood that people had to get through somehow. And while these programs may have been helpful for survival back then, more often than not, they are no longer helpful now.
For example, a child may have been criticized a lot by her parents while growing up. In order to get through this painful, shame instilling experience, she told herself that her parents were right, that she was at fault and not good enough.
In adulthood this survival strategy becomes a limiting belief that holds her back. Every time she encounters a challenge the old program will play in the background:
Therefore, she will inevitably set herself up for failure with whatever she attempts to do.
Once that failure (or perceived failure) happens, the old feelings of shame and inadequacy will replay themselves for her. She will feel bad about herself, and those feelings feel very real and very familiar.
Therefore she will allow them to reinforce the false negative belief that she is “no good”.
This cycle will continue for as long as she believes that the negative belief is real.
To fully experience the benefits of self-hypnosis you must become aware of these limiting beliefs and see them for what they are- an illusion. You can include auto suggestions to this effect in your program of self hypnosis for goal setting.
Once you have set your goals the right way, you need to use the right tools to help you achieve them. Without the right tool box you can easily get lost.
Self hypnosis techniques help you convince your subconscious mind to come on board with the changes you are planning to make. These tools speak the language of the subconscious mind and introduce suggestions of change in a compelling way that evokes positive emotions and keeps your desire burning for realizing your goal. The benefits of self-hypnosis include helping you to convince your subconscious mind that change is desirable.
I hope this article on how to use an approach informed by hypnosis for goal setting has helped you to become clear on how to build good foundations for your work with hypnosis for goal setting. I hope the article will make an active difference in helping you change your life for the better.
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