Think about what you want, not what you don’t want

Pink ElephantHave you ever noticed that the more you try not to do something, the more you end up giving in and doing it. The harder you try not to do it, the harder it is to stop.

You’re using willpower, which is going to fail at some point. You see, if a person’s using willpower, that generally refers to the conscious mind. The problem with will power is that it means you are consciously focussed on what you don’t want. A person who is using will power is constantly thinking, “I’m definitely not going to smoke today,” or “I’m not going to eat any cake this afternoon,” or “I’m not going to accept the offer of a biscuit.” Instead your mind hears “smoke”, “eat cake”, “eat biscuits”.

This is because the unconscious part of your mind has difficulty in dealing with a negative. The unconscious part of the mind experiences through pictures, sounds and feelings.

If you think about the history of language, we started by labelling things we could see. “Rock”, “Tree”, “Bush”. Later on our languages evolved to include words like “not”, or “could”, or “should”, or “should not”, or “We should never do this”, and so on. We added these as words, but at an unconscious level our language is still very primal.

To think about what you don’t want, such as not smoking, your mind first has to think about it, to negate it. This is a really complicated and difficult thing to do long term.

For example, If I say to you “Don’t think about pink elephants, whatever you do, do not think about pink elephants, floating by in the pink sky.” Your mind has to first think about pink elephants and then maybe cross it out, or change the colour, or blot it out by concentrating on another thought. But if I hadn’t mentioned pink elephants, you probably would not have thought about them all day.

Your mind doesn’t want to sabotage your efforts. Your mind wants to help. It’s just you’ve been programming it wrong.

Instead of focusing on what you don’t want. Focus on what you want.

When talking to a young child or training a dog, positive reinforcement works best. Especially if you praise them when they do things well. It’s the same with your mind. Focus on what you want. “I am healthy.” “I am slim.” “I am fit.” Your mind hears, “be healthy,” “be slim,” “be fit.”

Hypnotherapy can help you change a habit or behaviour at an unconscious level.

Want to know more? Contact me for a free consultation to find out how I can help you change your habit or behaviour.

Katina Chapman, Hypnotherapist