A Blueprint for Success: Planning and Maintaining New Year's Eve Resolutions
(512 min read)

Helen McLucas

Helen McLucas

Calling all New Year's resolution warriors! If your New Year's resolutions have a history of ghosting you faster than a fad diet after two weeks, fear not. We're about to embark on an adventure far more exciting than finding last year's forgotten gym membership card.

Image by Karolina Grabowska
Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay

Self-improvement through New Year's resolutions often encounters formidable and hidden roadblocks or self-sabotaging behaviours deeply embedded in the subconscious mind.

We have the best intentions and sheer determination but...

Failing at New Year's resolutions is so common that there's even a slew of (unofficial) dates commemorating such failures - some sources cite "Ditch New Year's Resolutions Day" as January 17 while others denote the second Friday in January as "Quitter's Day".1

This year, to ensure success, let's support your resolutions with a dash of hypnotic magic! Imagine achieving your goals without breaking a sweat and without looping through the fail/stop/try again cycle. Imagine focusing on who you are becoming - a better, happier version of yourself. Using hypnotic magic helps there, too.

New Year's resolution

The basic steps for setting New Year's resolutions2 or other changes are:

  1. Define the desired change.
  2. Commit to your resolution.
  3. Be realistic.
  4. Write it down.
  5. Make a plan.
  6. Be flexible.
  7. Use reminders.
  8. Track progress.
  9. Celebrate successes and reward yourself.

The past is the gateway to the future. Before embarking on New Year's resolutions, ideally, take time to reflect on the past year. Assess your successes, the thoughts, beliefs, and behaviours that supported, hindered or blocked you. Note these latter areas, as these are often self-limiting beliefs held in the subconscious and responsible for self-sabotaging behaviours.

Change is firstly an internal process requiring your thoughts, beliefs and behaviours to be in sync with the change you desire, the life you want, and the person you want to become. Once your internal world shifts, your external world changes too.

The secret ingredient to ensuring successful change effortlessly - hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy works to ensure the conscious and subconscious are in sync, living the same story. Why is that important?

At the conscious level, you are committed to your New Year's resolution, but the subconscious is not. The story goes like this:

  1. Your conscious mind commits to change e.g., "I am going to lose weight. I've got this."
  2. The subconscious chuckles and bides its time because it knows you get stressed, and it knows what you need to de-stress.
  3. The day comes when you get stressed - the conscious and the subconscious minds are in conflict. However, the subconscious is 95 per cent of your mind's power and in control of your beliefs, so naturally, it wins.
  4. Your de-stressor behaviour, deeply embedded in your subconscious, automatically kicks in, and you find yourself comfort eating, breaking your resolution.

When your conscious and subconscious are not in sync, you have a mutiny on your hands. Beliefs are formed in the subconscious. It doesn't matter what your conscious mind says, if your subconscious beliefs are different to your conscious, change will be difficult, even impossible.

In therapy, this conflict is known as a repeating, automatic self-sabotaging behaviour pattern based on a belief, such as, "It's too hard, why bother, I'm fine just as I am, I knew I'd fail." Or, other self-limiting beliefs, such as, "I'm not good enough, I don't deserve... etc.".

The nature of change

The nature of change is a complex interplay of beliefs and behavioural factors, often hindered by innate human behaviours.

Humans lean towards the familiar and the comfortable, avoiding the unfamiliar. Change requires us to make the unfamiliar familiar by making it the new, acceptable norm.

Humans are also driven by the Pleasure Principle3 where we are motivated to seek pleasure and avoid pain. The Pleasure Principle is a fundamental aspect of human motivation and plays a crucial role in obstructing our desire for change. The pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain influences behaviour, making it challenging to adopt new, potentially uncomfortable habits and abandon old, pleasurable but perhaps, detrimental ones.

We anticipate behaving in alignment with our perceived norms, but when unanticipated behaviours emerge, they catch us off guard. A classic illustration of this is evident in sports performance: Athletes fully prepare for competition, they are at their peak, ready. However, the subconscious mind can be a silent saboteur, derailing their best efforts with subtle whispers of self-doubt from the inner critic.

Resistance to change often manifests at the subconscious level, in deeply ingrained unknown habits, beliefs, and thought patterns. The subconscious tends to create a sense of security and stability by adhering to familiar routines and behaviours. Change disrupts this, triggering a natural resistance mechanism.

This resistance can stem from a fear of the unknown, a reluctance to step outside the comfort zone, or an aversion to potential risks associated with change. The subconscious mind, being geared towards survival, is wired to be cautious and resistant to change.

Overcoming resistance to change often involves raising awareness of these subconscious processes, challenging ingrained habits, beliefs and thought patterns, and cultivating a mindset that embraces change, adaptability and growth. It requires a conscious effort, and possibly, help from a professional therapist, to reshape the subconscious narratives that blocks the acceptance and implementation of change.

A new study suggests smokers who quit try to give up cigarettes an average of 30 times before they succeed.4 Dieting is just as difficult.

Medical Clinics of North America … compiled data from an analysis of dozens of diet groups spanning thousands of participants. (Concluding) more than half of all weight lost in diets is regained within 2 years. By year 5, more than 80% of all weight lost is regained.5

Hypnotherapy to the rescue

Hypnotherapy is a clinically proven and professional specialist therapy that accesses the subconscious to eliminate these often-hidden blocks and behaviour patterns.

Hypnosis has a surprisingly robust scientific framework. Clinical research has shown that it can help relieve pain and anxiety and aid quit smoking and weight loss... helps regulate feelings and behaviours... manage stress, cope with life's challenges and improve physical and emotional health. How Hypnosis Works, According to Science, Time Magazine, April 2022.

Unlike talking therapies, hypnotherapy works with the subconscious which empowers individuals and creates congruency or harmony where the whole self works towards change, managing blocks and self-sabotaging.

Hypnotherapy is client-directed and achieves results rapidly, saving you time and money.

Self-compassion

A final note...

Reflecting aids learning from the past. Self-compassion aids future success by fostering a positive mindset, resilience, and a healthy relationship with yourself.

Hypnotherapy works to help you develop self-love and self-compassion, empowering you to set realistic goals, achieve personal and professional change, and overcome the associated setbacks.

Believing in a positive self-narrative is critical in successful change work. A harsh inner critic can undo your change work in a flash of self-doubt through self-criticism. Challenging that inner critic with self-compassion and generous assumptions, e.g., "I did my best; I've learned from this and I'm a step closer," fosters resilience and lays the foundation for continuous personal and professional growth.

Embracing such a mindset with a touch of humour transforms setbacks into stepping stones for future achievements. Viewing attempts at change as anything less than success is counter-productive. Acknowledging that we gave it our best effort without dwelling on perceived failures or setbacks is crucial.

Recognising the complexity of major change is essential; seeking support when needed demonstrates strength rather than weakness.

Seeking help from a professional clinical hypnotherapist will help, not hinder your change work. A key success factor in change is personal congruency where you let go of your old story and commit to creating the new, improved version of yourself via a new narrative.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?" Actually, who are you not to be? - Maryanne Williamson

1 https://www.forbes.com/health/mind/new-years-resolutions-statistics/
2https://www.mindtools.com/a8mlh20/new-year-resolutions
3https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-pleasure-principle-2795472
4https://drugfree.org/drug-and-alcohol-news/smokers-may-try-quitting-average-30-times-succeed-study/
5https://www.greatgreenwall.org/supplements/diet-failure-statistics/

Research

Pain and Anxiety - The Effect of Hypnosis on the Intensity of Pain and Anxiety in Cancer Patients: A Systematic Review of Controlled Experimental Trials. Nov 2021. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07357907.2021.1998520?journalCode=icnv20

Changing Behaviours - Hypnosis breakthrough in changing ingrained behaviour. Oct 2018. https://lighthouse.mq.edu.au/article/september/hypnosis-breakthrough-in-changing-ingrained-behaviour

Most research points to hypnosis being effective in changing people's evaluations, beliefs, attitudes and motivations - a recent study was able to control participants' automatic responses—that is, behaviour outside their conscious control.

Weight Loss - The effectiveness of hypnosis as an intervention for obesity: A meta-analytic review. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2018-03961-001.

Literature review of the evidence-base for the effectiveness of hypnotherapy. Eileen Davis, 2015. https://www.pacfa.org.au/common/Uploaded%20files/PCFA/Documents/Research/Literature-review-of-the-evidence-base-for-the-effectiveness-of-hypnotherapy.pdf


Helen McLucas (JP, MBA, Dip Counselling, Dip Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy, ASCH Board Member, Counselling Psychotherapist, Clinical Hypnotherapist | Community Leader | Mental Health & Disability Advocate), is passionate about unlocking the potential within individuals through the transformative power of a range of therapy tools, especially hypnotherapy. As a community leader and advocate, Helen actively engages in initiatives that promote community health and wellbeing and inclusivity. Helen's advocacy extends to championing the rights of individuals with disabilities and mental health issues ensuring their voices are heard and respected.


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