Almost 90 per cent of New Year’s resolutions fail, and this can put us off trying. But what if you could think your way to success in three simple steps?
Hypnotherapist Steve Dell believes you can do just that.
He says: ‘Clients come to me wanting to change something or feeling stuck in some way. But changing behavioural patterns can be difficult without understanding how our brains work.’
The reason why it’s so hard to break habits is that the primitive part of our brain, which looks out for our survival, is resistant to change.
Steve says: ‘On an evolutionary level, change is deemed dangerous because it could make our lives potentially worse. The primitive brain is doing its job to protect us, but when it comes to specific resolutions, like finding love or chasing a dream job, it can get in the way. People who are stuck in patterns are operating out of their primitive brain.’
In 2017, psychologist Richard Wiseman tracked 3000 people who’d made resolutions, ranging from losing weight to quitting smoking. He found only 12 per cent succeeded after a year.
But the fix is straightforward says Steve: ‘Hypnotherapy can quieten the primitive brain and allow the conscious brain — the dominant, cool-under-pressure and good-decision-making part of the brain — to get firmly in the driver’s seat.’
Do a deal
When you’re on a diet, every cell in your body is drawing you to the thing you’re trying to avoid — and that’s your primitive brain resisting change.
You may feel silly, but make a deal and say something like this out loud: ‘Thanks for the suggestion, but I know eating that slice of cake/seeing my ex/staying up late, is a bad idea. I’m in control. I’ll have a slice on my treat day/catch up with friends/have a late one at the weekend instead.’
The process of doing this and succeeding proves to yourself and your conscious brain that you’re not only capable of sticking to your wishes, but in control of your actions.
Learn to relax
Many factors impact how active our survival mode is. Stress, especially long-term stress, triggers hormones including cortisol and adrenaline. Being stressed calls our primitive brain into action more often, boosting its hold over you.
To counter, reassure your primitive brain that you’re OK by decreasing the impact stress has on you. If it’s something you can eliminate from your life, do so without delay. If the cause isn’t easily removed, work on calming your body and mind.
Body scanning is a short and effective guided meditation. Try to practise it daily — the more you do it, the quieter your primitive brain becomes.
Reducing stress will prove to be your willpower weapon. Lie down or sit in a quiet room. Close your eyes and picture your favourite colour. Imagine it as a gentle, warm mist and breathe it in. Allow it to enter every part of your body and bring warmth, comfort and calm from the top of your head to the tip of your toes.
Be in control
If you find your resolutions flounder, no matter what kind of technique or plan you use, look at the bigger picture. If you aren’t in control of your life, your resolutions will fail too.
Get in the habit of being in control of your life in general, by using your conscious brain to make decisions that are good for you.
This New Year let go of that toxic friend, look for a job that makes you happier, save up to go on holiday — all these things will help you feel more in control of your life.
Edited by Punteha van Terheyden
For more information, visit stevedellhypnotherapy.co.uk. Steve offers sessions nationwide via Zoom