Well it’s finally over, 2020 is out the window and it’s time for those new year’s resolutions as we kick start a brand new chapter, we hope. But what makes one person’s new year’s resolution successful, when another person only reverts back to old, tired habits? There are certain factors that will help or hinder your new year’s resolutions that all hinge on the big question, are you ready for change?

Can you envisage a life without that old habit, and how, exactly, would that new life be better?

Readiness for change involves the ability to define a new direction. You need to be able to design that new reality so clearly, you can almost taste it. What do you see yourself doing, instead of those old behaviours? How do you look in that picture? How do you feel? What do you notice? Imagine that you are meeting your future self who has already achieved their new year’s resolutions, whether it is a new version of yourself as a non-drinker, a non-smoker, a calm person, a confident person etctera. Study this new version of you. How do you interact with others? How do you hold yourself? You might notice that you feel ‘taller’ or ‘lighter’. What do you do when others are smoking nearby, if you are trying to quit that nasty habit? What are you feeling while others are drinking and getting ‘merry’, if you are converting to non-drinker status? You get the idea.

You see, the unconscious mind doesn’t know what is real and what is imagined, and so where you put your focus is where you will go. By embodying this new you, you are already instructing your unconscious mind that this is where you are headed. But to meet your new year’s resolutions, you need to do this with focused attention, and you need to repeat this process. That’s where hypnotherapy is useful – the message gets into your unconscious mind without the critical thinking block that the conscious mind creates.

Using pictures is also very important because it is the language of the unconscious, just as you dream in pictures as your unconscious mind communicates to you, so do you communicate back with pictures. It’s not hard. If you can remember what your bathroom looks like, you can visualise. There are all sorts of other techniques you can use assist the process, such as the direction that your eyes are looking when you visualise, or feel these new realities.

Are you prepared strategically to implement your New Year’s Resolutions?

Say one of your new year’s resolutions is to quit drinking, but you still have a case of wine hidden in the garage where your partner won’t find it – yes that happens! How are you strategically going to assist the process? You might tell your partner about the sneaky case of wine and pretty much out yourself – for some people, that will be enough. More likely, you’ll want to redistribute that wine so that it is no longer a burden which distracts you from your purpose.

And what are you going to do instead of drinking alcohol? There is an amazing technique I use in clinic designed to ask your unconscious mind what the best replacement behaviour would be, specifically for you. For some it is drinking something else. For others it is doing exercise, or deep breathing, etcetera. The technique works by asking the body directly and bypassing the mind altogether. The body doesn’t lie.

Are you ready to release anything holding you back from making, and keeping, those changes?

Behaviour change is not an imperative, it is not an order. It is up to you to meet your new year’s resolutions. So what, emotionally, is holding you back from that goal? I have seen several clients with weight issues who have some hidden emotional trauma that they really did not want to look at. Quite often, abuse will result in weight issues, either overweight or severely underweight, for example. If you are not ready to tackle the underlying cause, your efforts may not be sustainable. Of course that isn’t always the case, but often, it is the difference between meeting and sustaining your new year’s resolutions, and not.

So, are you ready to look at it, and let it go? Nobody can force you to do this and you need to feel OK about addressing the underlying problem. But think of it this way… you can literally waste a lifetime, not looking at it, and have your problem behaviour bounce back into your life any time you are triggered by those old feelings. It is up to you. If you do decide to shake that old skin once and for all, there are plenty of good hypnotherapists who can assist. Best of luck with your new year’s resolutions, and Happy 2021!