Boo, hiss! “They’re behind you!” I say in my pantomime of life. For most of us New Year Resolutions don’t do what we intend them to do. They do work, but usually they work in a negative way to make us feel bad that we haven’t achieved them. So stuff the resolutions!
Now, imagine your fairy godmother is here; what wishes would you make?
I’m now whispering behind my hand to the audience — be aware, be very aware — our subconscious mind is naturally goal-seeking, so be careful what you wish for.
We are complex. We have a number of actors on our internal stage. There are the character parts that wants to be fit, healthy, confident and positive (the heroes of the piece), then there are the character parts that think they know better — “We know from past experience: you’re useless at dieting / going to the gym / being happy at work / being calm under pressure, etc” (the villains). You can fill in your own areas of internal squabble.
So one of the keys to setting goals and allowing the goal-seeking subconscious mind to take you forward to achieve them is first to acknowledge that there are little demons who want to protect you from possible failure. So they will be saying, “Don’t even go there.” They think that if you don’t really try, them you can’t suffer from the feelings of failure. “Oh no they don’t! Oh yes they do!” You the audience may join in here.
The fact is there are internal dialogues going on within our subconscious that we may not be consciously aware of. However, when we start to become aware, we can start to join in. Like the pantomime audience we can point things out and put in our own instructions, because we can start to see the scene as a whole.
Step by Step
A demon may appear as an ugly sister or monstrous giant, but we can direct our play and negotiate for a character part to change. Step one is to see our character parts and respect that they think they are playing their part to contribute to the enjoyment of the play. (We know that in practice they are doing the opposite.) Step two is to learn how to make the changes. How to allow the heroes of our play to come to centre stage and the ‘villains’ to change their personas in a way that they can act as a supporting chorus.
So, dear audience, take an empty toilet roll and some sticky-backed plastic — no sorry I’m getting carried away! Take some time — it doesn’t need to be very much — to first write your list of goals. There are no limits to what you can put on your goal list, be it personal or professional wishes or needs. However, find them in your heart, not your head. If we are side-tracked by the ‘head stuff’ we include all the ‘shoulds and oughts’. These are things like, “I should be aiming for a place on the board,” or “I ought to be the perfect mother as well as earning a good salary and maintaining a size 10 figure.” But if these things are completely unrealistic, or subjective, or not what we want in our heart of hearts, then we are setting ourselves up for failure and unhappiness.
Should and oughts are created by little villains, who in turn are created by what we see and hear in the world around us. We need to trust what we feel and hear from inside.
Turning your goals into positive suggestions and giving those suggestions to your subconscious (and conscious) mind on a regular basis keeps the pantomime characters playing the parts that you want them to play and making your life what you want it to be and have fun and laugh — it’s the best therapy.
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