It’s almost beyond a cliche that New Year’s resolutions are only made to be broken. We set the firm intention to eat better or to finally dust off that treadmill, only to find that two weeks into January we’re back to our same old habits.
Why is that? Why does it seem that change-even change that will be undeniably good for us-is so difficult?
The answer lies in the interdependent relationship of our conscious and subconscious minds. So let’s look at those for a moment.
This conscious mind is our walking-around-town, everyday mind. It’s the mind that learns new things and notices the details. It’s also the mind that is rational (usually) and is the main tool we use to reason things out.
The conscious mind might say something like, “I resolve to eat healthier food starting on January 1st because I want to take better care of myself.” It’s pretty cut and dry.
On the other hand, the subconscious mind doesn’t always see things in such a rational, cause and effect way. Its mode of reasoning and interpreting reality seem, at first, to be a little more mysterious.
Our subconscious mind is like a huge, secret vault where we store all our memories, experiences, and learnings. Once we’ve learned something new-like tying our shoelaces or learning the alphabet-it goes into the “vault”. After that, we don’t have to think about the learning. It’s just there and it comes up automatically when we need it.
The thing is, once something goes into the “vault”, the subconscious mind doesn’t want to mess with it or change it too much.
There’s a lot of benefit in working this way. For one thing, we don’t have to relearn our language or how to tie our shoes every morning.
But what happens when the learnings are no longer useful or were just mistaken in the first place?
For example, some people learned in early childhood that when they were scared, alone, or feeling unloved, eating made them feel better. It gave them comfort and made them feel safe. It was such a successful strategy that it carried on into adulthood long after the original circumstances that called for the behavior had passed.
As a result, every time a feeling of fear or loneliness comes up the subconscious mind goes into the vault and pulls out the tried and true solution for those problems.
At this point, even if we consciously want to change that behavior, our subconscious minds will be there putting up resistance.
This is where hypnosis and hypnotherapy come in.
By entering into deep states of mind/body relaxation we are able to connect and communicate with the subconscious mind. We are able to listen to it’s reasoning (which may no longer seem so mysterious) and cultivate a sense of gratitude for it wanting to help us feel safe and loved. We can also show it that it’s strategy is no longer working and is actually not getting the result it wants through the old behavior.
Once we have its attention, we can then offer it powerful suggestions to put more positive and effective learnings into the “vault” and into everyday practice.
At the end of the process, we have turned the conscious and subconscious minds into allies, making change easy and long-lasting.