Hi, Hypnosis and NLP Friends!
Here is a habit-busting technique that is so simple and straightforward, perhaps it will become a new habit of yours to use it. Until they invent a Bad-habit-be-gone-spray-in-a-can, this is the next best thing. It’s an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) technique called visual mapping–by manipulating images in your mind, you change your real life outcomes. Sound amazing? It is.
We’ll take a “simple” unwanted behavior for our example. How about something from my own life. Sugar? Chocolate. I used to have a habit called “eat candy bars.” When I decided to get healthy and consume less calories and less sugar and transform my body, I decided: Eating candy bars is not a useful habit. Let’s change it!
We can do that with NLP. 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 co-originator, Dr. Richard Bandler. He taught me, and I’m teaching you.
In this process, we change thinking and change habits. It involves manipulating images in your mind. Images in the mind are like the coding of a computer program. When you change the code, you change the program and how it functions. When you change the photo-shop type properties and qualities of an image in your mind, (such as brightness, focus, color, etc.) you change your mind’s coding, and you change the way you see the habit, and you change the habit itself.
Let me repeat that: When you change how you represent a situation or problem in your mind, the situation changes! Because doing is believing, here is the process:
Picture #1. Create a picture in your mind that represents a negative habit. Any picture that “pops in” is good. We’ll be using it in a moment. Study it enough to remember it and set it aside. My picture is an unwrapped Hershey bar, and it represents to me unhealthy eating of all varieties, not just sugar.
Now, we want to create a different picture in your mind of something you wouldn’t do. We all have desires all the time that we don’t act on, or things that are so “that’s not me” we never even would consider doing them. I would never jump out of an airplane for fun. NEVER. I wouldn’t eat a slug. I wouldn’t get a tattoo on my face.
Picture #2. Create a picture in your mind that represents a behavior that you KNOW you will not do. I’m using the jump out of an airplane one.
Next step. Notice everything about that picture, picture #2, the thing you will not do. Do not concern yourself with the content of the picture, study the QUALITIES of the picture, like those photo-shop type qualities. As you study the picture, notice its size (big, tiny, panoramic off the edges of your vision, etc.), shape (square, oval, round, etc.), location in space (do you sense the picture to be close to you, far away, above you, behind you, etc.). Is it in color or black and white? Is it 3D or flat? Is it a moving picture or a still image? Notice it’s focus, brightness, clarity, the saturation of color. Is it framed? Notice everything and memorize those qualities of the picture.
Final Step. Magic in action. Now, take the picture #1 of the unwanted behavior, and change it’s qualities to match it to those qualities of the “won’t do it” picture #2.
You’re not changing the content of the picture. You’re changing the qualities we discussed. Carefully match every one–picture #1 to match picture #2! 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. Then lock in the picture of the unwanted behavior with all changes in place into the “won’t do it” position. 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.
Now, step back and think of yourself and the unwanted behavior. 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. A sense of No! I don’t do that, I won’t do that. Freedom!
Learning is all about creating connections in the mind. What you’ve done here via this process is tell your mind that this thing (unwanted behavior) is just like that thing (thing I wouldn’t do). And it becomes your new realty. I don’t do that. You just changed the programming in your mind, and it becomes your behaviors. Goodbye smoking, or excess candy bar consumption, or sleeping in, or being lazy, or any other unwanted habit.
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.
Connie Brannan, CHt.
Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist
Licensed Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming®
Design Human Engineer™
Professional Conversational Hypnotherapist
Managing Partner, Mindworks Hypnosis