JANUARY/FEBRUARY/MARCH 2005, #168 / Vol. 32, No. 1

Achieving Your New Year’s Resolutions

By Beverly Taylor

Beverly Taylor offers hypnotherapy as a rapid yet gentle technique for rapid change in OPEN EXCHANGE’s Hypnotherapy category.

New Year’s resolutions are an excellent way to create change in our lives — but wouldn’t it be great if they could be easier to achieve? They can be — by utilizing the full power of our brains.

The Power of the Subconscious Mind
Scientists working at Harvard and other institutions have measured the conscious mind to be only 6 to 12 percent of our brain power, while the subconscious mind garners 88 to 94 percent. Willpower is part of the conscious mind, but it only works if the subconscious mind is in agreement! Therefore, the secret to accessing the power of our brain is to make changes at the subconscious level. Hypnosis is one of the easiest methods for accessing the subconscious mind.

What is Hypnosis?
Far from being the stereotype shown in many movies, hypnosis is a natural state of awareness that we experience every day. In fact, we go through hypnosis at least twice a day — when going to sleep or waking up.

That “zoned out” feeling that may come up while watching TV or reading a captivating book is a state of hypnosis. We might even recall this feeling coming on while driving — it is as if the conscious mind is in the back seat, while the subconscious mind is in the driver seat. The back seat driver may still even chatter! Either way, we are still aware and in control.

Contrary to the myths about hypnosis from movies, TV or stage hypnosis, the hypnotized person can’t be forced to do anything they don’t want to do. They aren’t asleep — they are very aware — even hyper-aware, and they will always wake up. Any normal person can be hypnotized unless they don’t want to be. And, of course, a hypnotherapist’s purpose is to help a person, so they would never ask a client to quack like a duck!

One way to train the subconscious mind is through the use of affirmation mantras. These are short, positive statements like: “Every day in every way I’m getting better and better.” “I love to eat so healthily!” “Exercise is so wise.” “I am a non-smoker, I like it that way.” “Steady improvement every day.”

It is best to say them repetitively and with a steady rhythm. Once you have memorized the mantra, you can also use it as a counter thought to replace negative thoughts. This method takes many repetitions; one theory is that it takes 3,000 repetitions to make a new habit. Yet this technique is easy, free and can be done almost anywhere.

It is very important to think and talk about the desired results in a positive way — for example, “I easily achieve and maintain my ideal body weight.” The subconscious mind ignores the words not and don’t, so the phrase “I don’t gain more weight” is converted to “I gain more weight” in the subconscious mind. If I said, “Don’t think of a blue elephant,” what do you immediately think of? A blue elephant!

Image Rehearsal
Another technique is to imagine the end result. Start by getting in a comfortable position and closing your eyes. Relax every muscle in your body and take three deep breaths. Then imagine the scenario that you want to occur. Make it exactly as you wish it to be, from the sights, sounds, feelings, thoughts, and smells. Keep everything positive — think of what you want, not what you don’t want.

This works with your subconscious mind very well. It’s as if you are programming your subconscious mind to create what you want. It works as long as your mind doesn’t have a stronger competing end result already programmed into it. If it does, then either continue imagining your end result or go see a hypnotherapist for help.

This spectacularly powerful tool is right here — as close as our own minds!