The Heart of Resolution Failure

Well, we’re facing another new year, another twelve months that we have yet to live, so most people are talking about resolutions or new goals and directions for 2013. As you know, I usually like to phrase in the positive, but I’m going to play devil’s advocate for a few moments and ask “why are many of the changes you’d like to make this year, ones that you wanted to make last year?”, “when are the ‘to do’ items set out in January going to ‘be done’ by December?”

What has been stopping you from getting to where you want to be, to be the person you’d most desire to be?

So, rather than give you tips on how to set goals for the year (I’m sure you’ve already got a number of them in your inbox already), I’m going to outline a simple exercise that you can do yourself which might reveal some interesting fundamental blocks that are getting in your way of shifting towards greater health, happiness, success, (fill in the blank)… Our aim is to get to the heart of it, so you can shift the direction or dimension of your life in a way you choose, now.

Setting yourself up for Reflection and Realisation (rather than another year of failed resolutions)

As a hypnotherapist, my career is helping to guide people through processes that release perceived limitations, work through misperceptions, and replace old tapes/programs with more supportive or productive ones. This is what I do. As you might have noticed, I mentioned ‘guide’ because I don’t force people into hypnosis – one of my main roles is to create a space where people can access their own subconscious mind and discover the resources they need to make the changes they need and want. So… that means that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis.

Let’s think about most resolutions – we talk about ‘trying’ to lose weight, seeing whether or not we can learn something new, or start a better habit or spend more quality time with others (or a whole list of options here), but there’s often, below the optimism sometimes encouraged by a bottle of bubbly, that negative chorus that says “I’ve heard this before, but have you ever done it? No. Doubt you’ll do it this year.” And that voice hypnotises us into believing that our past failures are the way it will always be in the future.

While I don’t believe this is true (or I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing) please understand that any failures at change because you told yourself you couldn’t only means that you’re fantastic at self-hypnosis already! That’s what you’ve been doing, so we just need to change the thought/feeling/pattern that was ‘supporting’ you negatively, into one that can truly support you positively.

Quick ground rules:

  • Time and space for yourself – make sure that you’ve allocated a place and a few minutes where you can close your eyes and focus on yourself. Lock the door, get outside, whatever you need to do to give yourself space to reflect.
  • Safety and Focus first – it’s easier to focus on this when your eyes are closed, so stay safe. Please don’t be driving or in a place where you need to divide your focus.
  • Bedtime, Perfect Time – with the first rules done, the easiest way to fulfill both is to do this as you are getting ready to sleep, when you are ready to drift off in bed. Or, just as you are waking up in the morning, setting your direction for the day before you get up and fully awake.
  • Focus on ONE change – when we have a laundry list of things to change, we dilute our ability to get to a destination effectively. As they say “you can’t chase two rabbits at once” – so focus on one change you’d like to make and then when you’ve succeeded, start with another.
  • Be easy – you’re starting something new – this is something that develops over time, like muscles. If you have some trouble with the heavy lifting at the beginning, just support yourself and realize that over time and with some practice you’ll get better and better at it. And because you are worth it, you’ll be able to be a bit more compassionate with yourself during this change process.


Who’s in Charge of Not Changing? (Step 1)

If the change that you want to make is on a resolution list, there’s a part of you that really wants this to happen – yet there may be something within you holding you back. Ok – if you’re in your forties, under 170cm/5’6” and female, maybe there are some good reasons that I’m not playing in the NBA, but I’m talking about goals that may be a stretch, but have some essence of possibility in them.

So let’s focus on the block. Once you have the rules in place, take a few minutes and close your eyes. Think about the change you’re NOT able to make yet and notice any feelings (emotions or sensations) in your body. Realise that the aspect of you that is ‘prohibiting’ your shift is probably doing it for a very good reason – even though that older, protective part/habit may not be helping you anymore. With an openness and gentle curiosity, find out what some of the reasons for the ‘holding back’ – usually it comes up as a word or a statement for me, but others experience it visually within themselves.

Crazy Talk (Step 2 – or two steps back?)

Often my conscious mind gets in the way and thinks “well, that’s just silly”, but then I give myself an internal hug and realize that it’s not so silly to my subconscious. Sometimes it forms to help or protect us when we have less information than we need to deal with something in the past, sometimes it’s a ‘truth’ that was transferred from another person when we were younger (“this is the way the world works” says Dad/Mom/Teacher and we believe them completely), sometimes there’s a trade off (even if just in our minds) that we may not have been willing to exchange. For example, with a change in body shape (lose weight) may come an additional cost of having to buy a new wardrobe. If money seems tight, that might be a good enough reason for the mind not to release extra weight.

Alternative Realities (step 3, 4…)

With that in mind, you can start an internal conversation about shifting old adages, compassionately finding alternative ways of getting what the inner-check (no longer seen as a deterrent) needs and wants, and planning ‘baby steps’ towards success in change.

Even if you don’t have a full plan right away, sometimes getting to know some of the reasoning behind the delay can be heartening. If we understand some of the underlying programs that have been running, our ‘nonsensical’ inability to achieve our resolutions can be better explained. At the same time, while it might not be your fault that you’re in the position you’re in, you now have to take responsibility with that new knowledge.

Some areas that you could focus on within yourself (during your internal dialogue) are:

  • How might this have been supportive to me in the past, but may not be relevant any more?
  • Is there another way of getting what I needed/wanted back then in an adult-like or currently accommodating way in the present?
  • Who said that (when you get a statement of ‘truth’)? How might that have helped that person, but might not be translatable to me and my situation?
  • What steps in my life could I take that would get the same benefit, but edit out the damaging aspects?
  • How could these two opposing aspects of myself find some common ground that is good for me, my life and those around me?


Taking off the Brakes

What’s the first step in getting yourself out of a hole? Stop digging! While I’m saying that only in jest, when we remove the blockages from our lives, many of our resolutions seem more accessible and possible (or they may no longer seem relevant). My recommendation is to practice this whenever you can, so that you can be the “driver” of your own journey, your own exceptional life.

If you need a little help with this process, please drop me a line at [email protected] and I’ll be happy to help out. And when you finally cross that resolution off your list, please let me know how you did it – I’d love to celebrate your success with you!

Happy 2013 – it’s going to be great. Jennifer

Like us – while I’m new on the social media scene, I’m aiming to get better in 2013. You can find us on facebook under GreyMatterNetwork.

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