Around 40% of the population will make a resolution on 1st January 2017. The New Year brings with it the opportunity to leave the past behind and start afresh. This means that it is a great time for businesses to capitalise on this desire to change and market their programs. The diet and exercise industry, in particular, goes into overdrive, urging you to sign up with the mantra, “New Year, New You”!
But what does ‘new’ actually mean and how do we find a ‘new’ us?
The dictionary defines new as “produced, introduced, or discovered recently or now for the first time; not existing before”.
The key point here is ‘not existing before’ and this is why I dislike this whole idea of creating a brand new self, just because the calendar has turned over.
The only time we are ‘new’ is when we are born
We are all a product of our experience. Each and every one of us sees the world through a unique lens that has been shaped by everything that we have learned up to now. We can gain knowledge and learn skills, but fundamentally, the person that we are was decided long before we became susceptible to marketing.
Your subconscious mind is responsible for 88% of what you do
Your subconscious mind is that part of you that does everything for you that you don’t think about consciously. There is a commonly held belief that only 12% of our brain is our conscious thinking mind.
The role of your subconscious is to protect you and keep you safe, from controlling your heart beat to making you jump away from a hot stove.
A great example that I use with my clients is when you find yourself switching off whilst driving. Your conscious mind is thinking about work, or dinner, or the kids, so your subconscious mind drives the car and keeps you safe.
All of our behaviours are based on what we have experienced
When you fell off your bike, aged 5, and Mum gave you chocolate and you felt better, a part of your subconscious mind stored this for future reference. So now, when something brings you down, a little voice inside your head tells you that chocolate is the answer.
When you smoked your first cigarette, you were rebelling against authority, or being part of the gang and it was good, so you did it again. So in times of stress, our subconscious mind will pick up a box of cigarettes, take one out and light it before you even notice.
But what if I’m not happy with how I am?
This is where our subconscious lets us down, because when we decide that we want to make a change, the logic, reasoning and decision-making comes from our conscious mind.
Then there’s willpower, which is also part of our conscious mind. Willpower is about using our strength to stand up to the little voice that wants to keep those bad habits because it thinks they are in our best interests.
And relying on willpower is why so many resolutions fail.
With all the conscious will in the world, if your subconscious doesn’t want to do something, it won’t. It will whisper in your ear about how ‘just one more won’t hurt’ and tell you that you ‘deserve a treat’ and, given that it is 5 to 7 times more powerful than your conscious mind, eventually, most people give in.
Hypnosis is all about making your subconscious work with you, not against.
In the relaxing state of hypnosis, your subconscious starts to listen. A good hypnotherapist will use all of your motivations for wanting to change to make suggestions so that your subconscious realises that it is no longer working in your best interests and begins to support your goals, rather than undermining them.
It’s not a magic wand. You still need to consciously make the right decisions and engage your willpower until new habits become automatic, but it won’t feel like a battle, it will feel easy and natural.
Not a 'new you' or a 'better you' just a 'happy you'
Everything you need to make lasting change is right there inside you already. Sometimes it just needs a helping hand.
So here’s to my 2017 mantra: “New Year, Happy You!”