When most people form a New Year’s resolution they do so with the best of intentions. However, like many great ideas the planning that goes into it is often non-existent. When the resolution gets forgotten there is a little sense of disappointment, and then a sense of resignation that the issue is closed.
There’s little progress as a result. I’ve seen this time and time again in the world of therapy, and it’s a source of constant surprise to me that when repeating the process, people somehow expect the result to be different. It rarely is.
So what’s missing? In many cases, simple planning.
Anyone setting up a business starts out with a business plan. Many of us who run businesses have an ongoing process of planning, measurement and revision that underpins the health of the business. A business plan, financial plan and marketing plan are must have’s for many of us. And yet, in many cases something as important as shifts in our our health, or relationships, exist without such a plan. That seems just a little odd to me.
One of the things we look at in Thirty Days Of Change is the idea that to create a new paradigm we do need to set things out with intent and with a plan. By the time we begin to act to create change we should have explored an issue from numerous directions, and looked at a variety of ways to attain the outcome that’s desired.
To look at this idea briefly here are a few things to consider when planning change.
1. Defining the intent.
Having a very clear idea of the desired outcome is a great place to start. Saying ‘I want better health’ is a wonderful idea, but it’s very not very specific. It’s certainly not an intent that’s really part of a plan. A better definition of the goal might be ‘I want to enjoy going to the gym twice a week’.
For someone working with a very specific issue, such as getting over a recently ended relationship we might change the goal from ‘I want to forget Jeff’ to ‘I want to limit the amount of time I spend thinking of Jeff’. The objective here is to be able to put a measurable limit on the time spent dwelling on the painful events of the past.
Where ever possible we want to have defined times to work on bringing about change. In the case of the person thinking about their health we’d be defining a block of time each week for them to get to the gym (or whatever their chosen form of exercise was). Using the calendar, having time booked and the visual reminder of it in their planner (digital or otherwise) becomes a constant reinforcing tool that stays with them. In the case of the relationship issue, booking to do an engaging activity during which it’s impossible to dwell on the past is a great idea.
3. Assemble allies and collaborators.
Having an exercise partner is a great way to build a commitment to exercise. With the right allies you are moved along a path, both encouraging each other. Just be sure you choose your partners carefully. You don’t want to be the one constantly reminding your friend to get out of bed, it’s time to get to the gym. In the case of the relationship adjustment, it’s about putting positive people around oneself and not falling into a trap of wallowing in the negative feelings shared with others.
4. Be accountable.
There’s only going to be one person that can really make this change. It’s going to be you. Owning that fact and accepting it does two things. Firstly it reminds you that there’s no easy out. This may take some work and If you’re serious about change, you will need to put that work in. The second thing it does is allow you to celebrate your success. Success will be yours and yours alone. That’s not a bad feeling.
5. Have some weighpoints.
Being able to say ‘I got to the gym twice a week for two weeks’ is not an end point, but it’s a nice weighpoint. It’s a simple way to see that you are making progress. In the case of someone working with a slightly more abstract issue, such as their relationship issue, we have a simple tool to assess our state of mind, and being able to say ‘five out of seven days this week I’ve been feeling positive’ is a form of weighpoint that can be encouraging.
When you achieve a goal it’s worth celebrating it. We’ve all got different ways to congratulate ourselves, but experiencing the reward is a very important step that often gets forgotten. It’s important to be able to enjoy the fruits of success, so delivering that reward as goals are reached is important.
Hopefully this give you a glimpse into some of the things we’re going to be look at in the workshop ‘Thirty Days Of Change’. I look forward to sharing how we use hypnosis and other tools to implement these ideas in a positive way and one likely to deliver the desired outcomes. Be sure to register for your space on the workshop here.