Hello, Hypnotic Friends!
The topic today is habits — habitual behaviors that we engage in almost without thinking. Learned behaviors which now flow. Too easily, sometimes. Sometimes habits are good. Like bathing. Like using deodorant. Like brushing your teeth.
Like looking both ways before crossing the street. Sometimes habits are bad. Say, smoking. Or a “cookie addiction.” Or any other kind of addiction, sex, alcohol, spending, gambling, and so on. Or any number of other unhealthy or unwanted or self destructive behaviors, which lead to an outcome we’d rather not come out to. 🙂
Actually, those words, bad and good habits, are misleading. There are NO good habits and there are no bad habits. I use those words for convenience and understanding because they’re out there in the vernacular, out there in common usage. The truth is, there are only useful habits and non-useful habits.
Cool thing is, we get to decide what that is. If a habit is useful, go with it. Enjoy. Live. Love. Be happy. If a habit, however, is not useful, or no longer useful, we can identify that, know that, and change it! Here’s another one of those self-empowering ideas. We can change our habits. Yes, we can. We are not victims in this life–we make the rules. You and me. We can get into the habit of breaking habits, when it’s useful to do so. And I’m going to lead you through a simple process in this essay to do just that!
We’ll take a “simple” unwanted behavior. How about something from my own life. Sugar? Bakery goods? Brownies? Hmmm, I know–candy. Chocolate. Hershey bars.
I used to have a habit. It was called “eat candy bars.” Anytime, all the time, just about every day or so. Primarily, Hershey’s with almonds. I’d get the little bars, and I’d also get those giant sized bars, 8 oz, which I think nowadays cost more and are 4 oz. Still called “giant” sized, however. I guess it’s all in your perspective. And I’d eat the whole thing–eventually. In a day or two. And then I’d buy more. Bad habit, right? Maybe, maybe not. I’m sure the Hershey company, and the Nestle company, and the M&M Mars company, thought it was a GREAT habit, and loved me for it. But for ME, I decided that it was not useful. I decided to shift that habit, as it became a non-useful habit when I decided to get healthy and consume less calories and less sugar and transform my body.
I decided! Eating candy bars: non useful habit. Let’s change it!
Here’s a simple NLP process to do just that. NLP, again, is Neuro-Linguistic Programming ™ which is a “high tech hypnosis.” It’s also been called, aptly, “hypnosis on steroids.” I love my NLP, as taught to me by the Master of Masters, the creator, Dr. Richard Bandler. He taught me, and I’m teaching you. Here and now. Behold! A habit-busting technique that is so simple and straightforward, perhaps it will become a new habit of yours to use it. And bust any non utilitarian habits. Until they invent a Bad-habit-be-gone-spray-in-a-can, this is the next best thing. Psssssst.
But, before I get into the process, one more story. I went to a “weight loss hypnosis” talk the other day and it involved imagining bugs/maggots/disgusting vermin crawling on my donut to get me to change my behavior as regards donuts. This is NOTHING like that. I find THAT suggestion disgusting, the idea that we need to get uncomfortable about things in order to change. False! That’s ill-formed and wrong-directional. You don’t need to do that. Thing is, you may want to enjoy a donut or piece of donut sometime in your life. I don’t believe in taking that opportunity away, or making people feel sick!! We’re not attaching negativity to the thing, which decreases or limits your choices, we’re enlarging your choices so that it’s easier to choose healthy and useful habits.
Ok. The chocolate bar. I used to be able to put myself into a state of desire. Wanting it. Which then led to buying and eating it. Create a picture in your mind that represents a negative habit and your wanting to do it.
We all have desires all the time that we don’t act on. I had a co-worker once who would have benefited by a slap upside the head. I wanted to do that, on occasion. Did I? No. Never.
Sometimes I have a desire to stay in bed beyond an appropriate time. Do I? No. I get up. Sometimes, a scene in a movie is so absurd I want to shout something derogatory out at the screen in the theater. Do I? No. Sometimes, I see a good looking stranger at the gym, and I feel like running up and squeezing his bicep…do I? No. We all have desires which we know perfectly well we will not act on. Create a picture in your mind that represents a temptation or desired behavior that you KNOW you will not act on.
Notice everything about that picture–the thing you will not do, the line in the sand as it were. You won’t cross it. You know you won’t do this thing, even though you’d like to. As you study the picture, notice it’s size, shape, location, color or black and white, movement, focus, brightness, clarity, everything. Memorize those qualities of the picture. Qualities of the picture are like the options in a photo editing software. You’re not looking at the content in any way, you’re noticing the qualities such as focus and color.
Now, take the picture of the unwanted behavior, and match it to those qualities of the “won’t do it” picture. Every one! Size, color, focus, etc. And stick this picture right in the space of the “won’t do it” picture, like two pieces of music on a music stand. Imagine yourself not doing this thing, and the positive outcomes flowing from that change. In my case, not eating the candy leads to a smaller body, more energy, more money in my pocket, and feeling good! Lock in the picture of the unwanted behavior into the “won’t do it” position. Click your teeth, or snap your fingers, or say “that’s right” and tell your mind to keep it there. Sometimes I imagine splashing a bucket of shellac over the top of the picture as a sealant for the new qualities.
Top secret NLP insight: When you change how you represent a situation or problem in your mind, the situation changes! Read that sentence again. Let it seep in.
Now, step back and think of yourself and the unwanted behavior. In this case, you may notice that the temptation to do the thing that USED to be a bad habit has shifted, into something you simply won’t do. Not a struggle. Simply a sense of No! I won’t do that. Freedom! You speak the holy word (for Star Trek officiandos, name that episode!).
Play with this and let me know how you do! And, as always, if you’d like to learn more cool NLP techniques and processes, here’s how: http://www.seattlenlptraining.com
. In fact, Michael and I have three 1-day seminars next month, which is a fabulous introduction to the power of NLP. One seminar focuses on life change, one on sales and business success, and one on self hypnosis. C’mon down and learn more. You know you want to!