Goal Setting Hypnosis Tips

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Can I lump a bunch of goals together in my suggestion?

Be Specific

Be specific with goal-oriented self-hypnosis. Don't leave it up to your subconscious to guess.

Wanting to be healthy is a fine goal, but if what you really need to do first is to quit smoking, that is a specific goal and is more useful. Don't expect your subconscious to know that you want to quit smoking if what you are telling it is that you want to be healthy.

Many of your goals will be general, such as having more self-confidence, not procrastinating, or improving concentration. Work specific phrases that apply to your own situation into your suggestion, but you don't have to break everything down to specific parts to a given goal. You can be specific within your suggestion for a general goal.

Getting more exercise is great, but walking 30 minutes a day is more specific. Being a better guitar player is more specific than being a better musician. Practicing guitar regularly is a better short-term goal.

Getting a good job is a good goal, but getting a job at a certain company, or getting a certain kind of job, is more specific.

Public speaking is an example of a goal with different aspects that you can deal with all at once. With your suggestion, address all the problems together. If you are nervous, have trouble making eye contact, and just hate the idea of speaking in front of a group, write your suggestion to show yourself as calm, making good eye contact, and having fun.

Choose your goals carefully and be specific. Don't try to change your whole life all at once. Slow and steady wins the race.

What will I get out of self-hypnosis?

Self-Contained Goal

Your goal, as you read this book, is to learn self-hypnosis. As we point out elsewhere, you get stress reduction as part of the package. That may be all you're interested in right now. If so, it is your short-term goal and your long-term goal.

Most of you probably have additional uses in mind for self-hypnosis. You have changes you want to make in your lives. You can see those as long-term goals.

You may be tired of hearing about goal setting. Sometimes it sounds as if you're supposed to sit down and plan out the rest of your life. Few of us are ready to do that. Let's take a more casual approach.

The first goal is self-contained. That is, stress reduction and relaxation are contained within learning self-hypnosis. When you have that going, what do you want to do next? You may want to go farther with stress reduction or apply it to a stress-related condition.

Or you may not want to do anything for a while but practice. It does feel good.

You may know of something else you want to work on, even before you learn the procedure. You may want to stop smoking, lose weight, or gain confidence. There are probably a few things you'd like to work on eventually. We'll learn to list them later.

Your goal will be your answer to the question: What do I want to do next with self-hypnosis? Break it into short-term and long-term segments, if appropriate, write your suggestion, and get going.

How long does it take to reach a goal in self-hypnosis?

How Long Does Self-Hypnosis Take to Work?

How long will you spend on a given self-hypnosis goal? It's generally considered that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. That's what you are doing--forming a new positive habit to replace an old, negative one.

Once you have spent 21 days working on a given goal, it will stick for some time and you can go on to another. It is helpful to refresh your goal every few months by doing a few sessions with the same suggestion, or a slightly different one if you want to progress farther on the same path.

Some goals take longer, but you should see results in 21 days. If you are quitting smoking, you will probably have stopped or cut back by day 21. Continue until you feel you can resist an urge to smoke, no matter how long it takes.

If your goal is to be comfortable with public speaking, for instance, 21 days will probably be enough time to accomplish that. After that, you will get better by actually practicing public speaking. You can give yourself a post-hypnotic suggestion to make that happen. (In this case, a post-hypnotic suggestion is just something like: I get better at public speaking every time I speak before a group.)

Refer to the case study in the practice section for an example of a situation where reaching a certain goal took almost a year. The goal was to conquer a serious phobia. The individual did see results as she went along.

If you don't get results in 21 days, try changing your suggestion, or rethink whether this is a goal you really want, and not one someone else wants for you.

What is the basic goal of self-hypnosis?

Improve Your Life

The overall purpose of self-hypnosis is to improve your life. How you do this, through the goals you choose, is up to you.

Most of us want to be healthy, live at least comfortably, if not lavishly, and have good family and social relationships. We want to be successful in our endeavors and have achievements we can be proud of. These seem very broad, and they are meant to be. Each person will have different goals within this overall plan and different ways of approaching those goals.

Make a list of goals you want for yourself, not in any order. Just do it off the top of your head. Put it aside. Go over your list tomorrow and cross off anything that is really what someone else wants you to do, not what you want for yourself. Then number the list in order of importance, though you won't necessarily work on them in this order. You can always change it later, like a Netflix account.

Don't be in a rush. You don't want to increase the stress on yourself. Remember, you are in control.

Sometimes it seems as if things happen when they are supposed to. That may be, and doing self-hypnosis to reach goals does not deny that. There may be a collective unconscious or some spiritual force that determines events. (I don't want to discuss any specific religious tradition.) You can believe any of this, or none, follow any religion or philosophy, and still use self-hypnosis without conflict.

Do I have to continue with a self-hypnosis goal indefinitely?

Changing Your Goals

When you feel self-hypnosis has worked for you for a certain goal, go on to the next one.

You may also decide you don't want the goal you're working on after all. You can just drop it. This won't happen often, if you avoid things like desiring to win the lottery or luring a certain love interest.

If your self-hypnosis isn't yielding results, you can change your script or suggestion. The goal stays the same; you just approach it differently. You can make minor changes in the way you view your goal while you're at it.

Avoid changing your goal too much, or you will just confuse the subconscious.

Let's take weight loss as an example.

A goal to "lose weight" is a little too vague, as is to look "sexy" or to have "a smokin' hot body," whatever that is. It is not realistic to want to look like some celebrity.

I like a goal such as, "I am at the body weight that is best for me," but you can use a specific weight if you want.

Let's say you weigh 220 pounds and want to weigh 160. It works best to have intermediate goals, but you can do this consciously. Start with losing 10% of your body weight. When you get to 198, set a goal for another 10%. That will bring you to 178, and another 10% will put you where you want to be

Throughout this progress, you will have the same goals of reaching your best, healthiest weight, and if you want to be specific, weighing 160 pounds. Using self-hypnosis for the specific weight you are working on at a given time requires too much re-programming. So be specific, just not too specific.

Regarding this example, you may end up at 165 pounds and stay there, but you look and feel great. Trust that your subconscious knows best in this case, and accept that.

Can I use self-hypnosis to make someone else do what I want them to do?

Goals Relating to Other People

So you would like to have Jack, or Judy, ask you for a date. Can you use self-hypnosis to get through to him/her?

You have a big tennis match coming up. You know that Jim, your opponent, has trouble getting his second serve in. Can you use self-hypnosis to make that serve even shakier?

The big promotion will go to either you or Linda. You know that the choice will come down to the final interview. Can you do something to influence Linda to make a mistake so you will get the job?

The answer is no, no, and no.

You cannot use self-hypnosis to control or influence other people. You cannot use it to hex or cast spells.

This is tempting. If you are competing against someone, it's tempting to influence their performance. It's also tempting to try whatever you can come up with to attract someone. Self-hypnosis, or any hypnosis, can't be used in this way. I realize there are all kinds of tricks you can use to fool your opponent into thinking you are going to do something other than what you intend. You want to keep your poker face and not let the other players know what's in your hand. But this is not the same as using your own hypnosis session to describe or imagine someone else making a mistake. That won't work.

In the same way, you cannot use self-hypnosis to help someone else by influencing their behavior. You can influence your own behavior toward them. Teach them self-hypnosis instead so they can help themselves.

There is a way you can use other people's reactions to you to bolster your own self-image, and we discuss that in the suggestion section.

What goal should I work on first?

Which Goals Come First?

Sometimes it's hard to decide what you really want for yourself. There are too many demands in modern life. We often have problems deciding what to do first. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be rich, for instance, but that is too indefinite a goal for our purposes. You have to consider the steps needed to get there. Enrolling in a class to improve your skills or knowledge is a direct step, for instance. Buying a Ferrari with credit cards is not.

Do you have so many goals you can't decide what to work on? Good. That shows you are ambitious and ready to go. Choose a minor goal first so you can build up confidence before you get to the things that are most important to you. Work on one thing at a time When you achieve that, you can go on to your next goal.

What is a major or minor goal? That's up to you. Suppose you think you should drink more water. You don't object to drinking more water; you just don't think about it during the day. This is a good example of a minor goal, and one that will probably show some good success. Then you can go on to more important or more abstract goals.

Sometimes you do need to get to important things right away. If you have the bar exam coming up next month, you''d better get right to it.

Is it true that I can do anything I want?

Be Realistic

You may have heard that you can have anything you want if you only work hard enough. This is a little unrealistic. You may have heard that any child born in the U.S. can grow up to be president. We've only had 43 presidents in over 200 years, so there is a flaw here, though it would be interesting if everybody had their turn.

Let's look at some examples.

I like track and field. I think it would be cool to set the world record in the high jump, but my vertical jump is only 10 inches. It would be more realistic to aim toward adding an inch or two to my jump than to set the world record.

I would like to be a general in the army, but I don't want to be a private. My grades are lousy so I can't get into West Point but I still want to be a general. Short of starting my own army, I'm not going to be a general without working my way up. That's unrealistic.

If you're a teenager and you want to be a doctor, a lawyer, a scientist, a fire fighter, a famous chef, a professional athlete, or an astronaut, you can do it if you work for it and things fall right. If you're 80 years old and have never done those things, these professions are not realistic goals for you. But you can aim toward being a painter, an author, a philosopher, or even a politician.

If you have an idea that could turn into a big tech company you can start in your garage, that can be a goal. But don't start by setting that goal as making a billion dollars. Set short-term, realistic, achievable goals. Use self-hypnosis to keep up your confidence and leave your mind open to ideas. Haven't you at times worked hard on a problem only to have the solution pop into your mind when you're doing something else? Use self-hypnosis to leave that door open. Relaxation and confidence will do it.

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Carma Spence-Pothitt