Happy New Year!

Well, it is that time of year again when we all talk about New Years Resolutions. It has been a about 2 weeks now since the start of the year. Did you make any? How are you getting on?

I thought, keeping the idea of New Years Resolutions in mind, I would dust off and repost a couple of blog entries from yesteryear with some advice on how to make sure you succeed in the changes you want to make this year.

The first one is my “top ten tips” to make successful changes in your life and the 2nd is a bit more “NLPy” talking about the relevance of the most popular (i.e. the most talked about) meta-programme: the TOWARDS and AWAY FROM pattern.

Top Ten Tips For Making Changes in 2010

1. Be Honest
Do you really want to do it? Or are you just doing it because you think you should? If you really don’t want to do it, you won’t even manage the 1st step! So relax and enjoy yourself (see tip 10)

2. Be Bold
Set a massive goal and really go for it. Even if you don’t succeed you will have made it much further than if you had set mediocre target.

3. Be Realistic
Set a massive goal but be realistic about how and how long it will take you. You want to lose 3 stone? You won’t do that in a week! Not sure? Seek professional advice.

4. Live the Goal!
Before you begin, imagine exactly what it will be like when you succeed. See it, hear it, feel it, even smell it and taste it.

5. Be Positive
State what you want not what you don’t want. If I tell you NOT to think of orange penguins, what is the first thing you think of? Your brain doesn’t deal too well with “don’t” so think what it is you really want. If you want to stop smoking for example, then why? To be healthier? Fitter? Taste you food?

6. Tell Everyone
If you really mean it, tell everyone you know. The embarrassment of telling people you have quite will keep you going!

7. Get Feedback
How do you know you are getting there? You need a way of testing yourself. Do it regularly.

8. Ecology Check
Ecology is a fancy word for the relationship between the organism (you) and the environment. Only effect the word round you in a neutral or positive way. Want to make some money? Well you could rob a Post Office, but that is probably not the best way is it?

9. Do It With Someone Else
Find someone who wants to same or similar goals. Working together will keep you focused and motivated

10. Have Fun!
Nothing worse than aiming for some future goal and having a miserable time trying to achieve it. Ask yourself “what is the most fun way I can achieve this goal?”. Life is a journey, not a destination…

And as a bonus:

11. Get a coach!
A coach is someone who can impartially and objectively help you work through you goals and the best way to achieve them. You will set targets and be accountable to your coach for achieving them. This gives you extra motivation, knowledge and assistance which can prove to be invaluable.

Resolutions the NLP Way…

When we consider most changes we want to make in our lives, particularly New Year’s Resolutions, the common choices people make are to:

  • Give up something they normally like.
  • Take up something they don’t normally enjoy.

So it makes sense to consider these in the context of the TOWARDS and AWAY FROM meta-programme.

In the broadest sense, we move towards (perceived) pleasure and away from (perceived) pain. Whether that be physical or emotional.

So straight away we can see a problem, we are trying to go against our own meta-programmes when trying to make new years resolutions (it’s not difficult to see why these choices fail almost all of the time. In the first case, they’re trying to move away from pleasure and in the second, they’re trying to move towards discomfort and pain!). We do what we do, no matter how “bad”, because our unconscious sees the behaviour as beneficial. Even heroine addicts take heroine for a positive reason, even if it is the one of the most terrible and destruction behaviours you can do.

So, to make resolutions really work you need to switch the meta-programme. Lets use the example of smoking.

You (or a client) smoke for a positive reason, whatever that may be. You want to quit because you know it is bad for you/you are sick of the smell/everyone is nagging you/whatever the reason.

At the moment you are “towards” the behaviour smoking. So you need to create a compelling towards motivation for the behaviour “not smoking”. You need to figure out what positive benefits you will get from changing this behaviour. Maybe you will be healthier/taste your food/have more money/whatever. You have to strongly create this positive state, imagine this outcome vividly in the present context (not some distant future time, but NOW) and most importantly feel good about this new behaviour, this new “you” (a specific feeling of “good” associated with this new you, a generally wishy-washy feelings won’t work)

If you’re looking forward to something, it’s much easier to do all of the things necessary to make it happen. It draws you TOWARDS the now behaviour.

And if you know the dire consequences of failure, there is also a driving force behind doing all of the things you need to do for success. It pushes you AWAY FROM the old behaviour.

So, you need to create a terrible horrendous image of you if you continue on with this behaviour.

Tony Robbins calls this “leverage”. Making the change will create massive amounts of immediate pleasure and not hanging will create massive amounts of immediate pain, Richard Bandler calls it “propulsion systems”.

So, it is left me to do is wish you all the best with whatever changes you want to make in 2010!