How the Rocky Horror Picture Show Got It Wrong!

There’s a lyric in the Rocky Horror Picture Show that goes “Don’t dream it, be it”.  However, dreaming it – imagining something in detail, getting all your senses involved in the experience – helps you be/come it…

Imagination is an incredibly powerful and versatile tool to assist in making changes in your life.

ferrari-630145_640
Imagining standing on the winner’s podium

It has long been used by athletes and others to help boost their performance.  In this instance, you  focus on your desired result, imagining it as already having happened.  You focus on what you would see when you achieve that goal, what you would hear and feel, perhaps even taste and smell.  This could be considered as using imagination to focus on the positive.

Several recent studies also showed how imagination (and specifically visual imagination or visual aids) can be used to help stop food cravings.  In particular, it was used to bring up images of pleasant or engaging activities rather than thinking about food.  Here, then, imagination is used as a tool for distraction.

A third way of using imagination is to create a negative image around something you want to let go of or remove from your life.  For example, if you want to stop smoking, you could imagine your lungs filled with black tar, your mouth filled with ash and cigarette butts, or perhaps smoking a cigarette that tastes and smells as though it was soaked in urine.  You pick whatever distasteful idea will help put you off smoking.  Here, you use your imagination to amplify the negative in order to reinforce your desire to stop.

skunk-1239764_640
Eau de Skunk to help put you off something like smoking or junk food

For any of these three ways to exercise your imagination, you can use aids to help you tap into your senses.  For example, you could bottle some unpleasant smelling thing to sniff while you imagine the thing you want to remove from your life.  Or you could find a visual image that speaks to the goal you want to achieve, or to the distraction you want to anchor in your mind for times of need.  You could also find a piece of music that evokes the feeling you want to have –

This is a large part of what is done in a hypnotherapy session.  The therapist helps you identify your goal, and how best to approach it.  Then, the actual hypnosis is a way of strengthening your imagination so that these techniques are more effective, in the same way that a bottled scent or an image can act as a support.

Certainly, using imagination in this way is something you can do by yourself.  In fact, most hypnotherapists agree that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis: you can’t be forced to do anything.  And you are always an active participant in where your subconscious is willing to take you.

Still, having someone else guide you in the process can help you relax into it more, and can also help keep you on track.

Either that, or you can go back to watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show and come up with a more sci-fi way to achieve your goals…

Save

Save

Save

Dream Big, Plan Small

If you want to transform your life, I always advise to Dream Big and Plan Small.

That may sound contradictory.  What I mean, though, is that it’s good to have big dreams, to allow yourself the freedom to imagine what you would most like to achieve, even if it’s something that may take a while, or that could be a challenge.  That distant goal, like a far-off mountain peak, can be the thing that inspires you to keep moving forward.

Yet, while you might stop now and again to gaze towards that mountain, in the moment you need to keep an eye on where you’re actually putting your feet.

You need to plan small, to assess what your next step on the journey is.

To take the metaphor further, there might be a river to cross, or a little hill to climb, or somewhere to stop for a rest.  If you’re looking at the mountain in the distance, you may stumble, or miss the opportunities around you, or lose your way when there is nowhere to cross the river and you have to go back to find a bridge.

Bringing this to a more practical example, consider how you could apply this if you are trying to change an unhelpful pattern in your way of being.

DreamBig

It’s great to imagine how you would like your life to be, all that you could achieve if you broke that bad habit.  Picture the best possible scenario, what you would like to do and feel if you could wave a magic wand and achieve anything you want.  That’s your big dream.  It doesn’t have to be entirely realistic or easily achievable, it’s a dream, after all!

Next, though, it’s important to come up with steps you can take now, today or tomorrow, or at least this week.

In terms of breaking a habit, one of the most helpful things you can do is to substitute the unhelpful pattern with a different habit.  For instance, you could start drinking herbal tea when you would normally have reached for a snack.  Yet, establishing a new habit takes time and consistency – most people agree at least three or four weeks of doing it daily.  You need to make the new pattern something you can achieve for that length of time – make it as easy as possible, even ridiculously easy.

After all, it’s better to take a baby step forward in a way that you can maintain and build on, than to try something more ambitious, fail, and give up on the whole thing.

So, instead of saying you’re going to meditate for 10 minutes a day forever (or even for a month), you could commit to meditating for 2 minutes a day after breakfast, for a week.  Or instead of going to the gym for half an hour 5 times a week, you could do 10 sit-ups in your living room every day for a week.  It’s best to set yourself a small target, and to be specific – when and where are you going to do it.

This is what I mean by the call to Plan Small: that way you are setting yourself up for success.  If you outdo your plan, great, you’ve taken a bigger step than you set out to take.  And if you only achieve that small step, well still great.  You have now proved to yourself that you can make changes, you can enjoy them, and you can build on that first step with another and another.

Now, what big dream inspires you?  And what little steps could you take in the next week to bring it a tiny bit closer?

If you’d like some help figuring out your dream, or planning those baby steps, why not give me a call or drop me an email: 07561 231 281 or ceejaymccracken@gmail.com

Top Five Keystone Habits

One of the main reasons you might go to see a Life Coach is to help you make changes to your how you are living.

For instance, you might want to get better control of your weight, stopping snacking when you know you’re not really hungry, or being more disciplined with exercise.  You might find yourself procrastinating, rather than living your soul’s purpose, or maybe you find yourself reacting to people at work in a way that isn’t doing your career any favours.  It could also be that you want to improve your love life, instead of repeating negative patterns like always picking the same kind of wrong person, or sabotaging any relationship you get into.

While there are a large number of ways to approach breaking negative patterns or habits, one useful approach is to set up Keystone Habits.

The idea here is to establish some helpful patterns that are unrelated to any issues you want to change.  These habits support you in feeling calmer and happier in general.  That makes you less likely to react to triggers that could otherwise send you into a negative spiral.  They may also help you reflect more on what you want to be doing, how you want to be living, who you want to be.

So, what are the best Keystone Habits you can adopt?  Here are my top five:

  1. Meditation – even five minutes a day of meditation can help you feel calmer, and let you respond more creatively to any issues that come up.  It also helps with sleep problems.
  2. Journalling – this is a great way to reflect on what’s going on for you.  Like talking with another person, journalling helps you get clarity on what’s happening, and also offers a different perspective on it.  Surprisingly, it also has physical benefits!
  3. Gratitude – having a gratitude practice of some kind is a real mood booster.  Spending some time every day looking for the good in life and giving thanks for it helps you notice the positives more, to balance out any negatives.  It’s also another reflective practice, helping you get clearer about what is working in your life.
  4. Planning your day – taking a few minutes each morning to plan your day helps you be more productive.  It brings focus to what you want or need to achieve.  And with a to-do list to cross off, you can track what you achieve, giving yourself that feel-good factor of knowing you’ve gotten lots done.  Each thing doesn’t have to be big, setting lots of small targets can be good to boost your morale, and lots of little steps will get you to those big goals in time!
  5. Exercise – once again, little and often is key here.  Even five minutes of some kind of movement can boost your metabolism and your mood.  It can also help you think more clearly, sweeping away negative self-talk and that stuck feeling you sometimes get.

It takes a while for a habit to form (anywhere from 21 to 66 days, depending on which studies you believe).  It’s best to choose just one keystone habit to start with, get that established, and then you can think about setting up another one.  And remember, it’s better to do 5 minutes a day than to do 30 minutes one day and then nothing for the rest of the week.

So, what will you make a start on today?