Four quick ways to boost your motivation

As January approaches many of us are starting to think about what we would like to change, and begin making New Years Resolutions.

January starts strong, and gym car parks are full, and we feel good about the changes we are making. As January moves on though, we can find that the motivation to lose weight, stop smoking, or change our lives in some other way, which was so strong just a month ago, has gone out of the window.

So what is the key to keeping that motivation going as the memory of New Year fades?  What really drives us to successfully make these positive changes?

Some theories suggest that motivation is a positive reward for achieving something such being able to fit back into that pair of jeans, others suggest the opposite, that motivation comes from a fear of a negative effect: such as stopping smoking to avoid lung cancer.

Positive outcomes tend to motivate us more than negative ones, but often, despite a clear benefit , we fail to maintain the motivation required to achieve our goal.

Often the key to staying motivated is creating the right kind of goals in the first place.

1. Create specific goals:

Motivation is fed by success.  It is no coincidence that longer term goals such as losing weight can be the hardest to stick with, because the change in eating habits has to be maintained for a long time before you reach your final goal.  Instead of just saying “I want to lose weight”, write down the steps which are going to lead you to that weight loss, such as walking to work 3 times a week, or changing your full fat milk for semi.

2. Make your goals achievable:

Setting a goal of running 15 miles each day, when you haven’t run in years, is probably not realistic. Even small achievements are a great motivator, conversely, goals which are too big can lead to you feeling disheartened .  Better to start with small and achievable goals at first and when you have achieved them, create new, slightly bigger goals

3. Notice what you have achieved already

Have you noticed how much easier it is to be motivated when you are in a positive mood, or having a good day?  When we feel good, we tend to want to move towards our goals, and create change, but when we feel negative we tend towards familiarity and that motivation can wane.  Celebrate the achievements along the way, because that sense of achievement will keep the motivation alive!

 4. Find Support

One of the most important aspects of my job as a solution focused hypnotherapist is to support the client in whatever change they wish to make.  That might mean helping them to visualise the steps needed to reach their goal, helping them get through the times that don’t seem to be going so well, or focusing on the positives.  Of course that doesn’t mean you have to book in to see me (though I will be glad to help if you want me too), but seeking out other sources of support such as friends, family, online forums, facebook groups, twitter or groups such as Slimming World, can really make the difference to your chances of succeeding.

Make your New Year’s Resolution this year to follow these 4 rules, and see your motivation to achieve your goals soar!

Good luck and I would love to hear all about it!

How Hypnotherapy Can Help You to Ride Your Elephant!

Ok, so your first question is probably “Has Leah gone nuts?  Why is she talking about riding elephants?”

And I can understand that, but I haven’t gone crazy (or at least this isn’t evidence of it!).

Trying to make changes can at times feel like riding an elephant.  The rider (you) seems to be in charge, but that control is precarious, because in comparison to the might of the elephant (your subconscious mind) you are tiny.  If the rider and elephant disagree on which way to go, then the rider is powerless!

We have all experienced this at times: when you have lost your temper and regretted it later, tried to stop smoking and it has felt like a battle, got stage fright, eaten a tub of ice cream when you are on a diet, or left the dishes when you knew it would be better to do them today.

This is why when we want to make changes, we (the rider) might want to take a different path, but in comparison to the elephant you are riding (your subconscious mind) you are tiny, and your influence is small if the elephant is determined to stay on that same path.  That internal resistance we feel when making changes is the battle between the rider and the elephant.

This is where hypnotherapy comes in, during the process of hypnotherapy what we are doing is allowing the rider to gently persuade the elephant that the new path is a much better choice, and once the rider and the elephant are both willing to move along that same path then change is easy!

Of course another point of view would be to relax as a rider and allow the elephant to take the lead - who knows what might happen!

*The idea of an elephant and rider metaphor was first put forward in relation to change in the book:  Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard , Dan Heath and Chip Heath