My full-time employment is that of a recreation and fitness center manager. I see this progression every single year. No, I don't know all of the people who impose their own resolutions, but I recognize them as surely as if I knew them like my own children. First, the sheer number of people who are in the fitness room spikes every January. I can guess that some of these people haven't been exercising regularly for some time, and I understand that after the body has been "let go" for a long time, it's bloody hard work getting it back into shape. I understand it takes a certain level of courage to go back to the gym for someone who hasn't been in years, or maybe ever. Self-consciousness can be a real factor in preventing people from ever joining a gym. Next comes the physical toll on the body that is thrown back into an exercise regimen after a long hiatus. Stuff gets used that hasn't been used for a long time, and it HURTS afterwards! Here are some common mistakes made by folks who want to get back into physical activity after a long inactive stretch:
1. Too much too soon - If you haven't jogged for a long time, and you break this hiatus by running four miles just as fast as you can go on a treadmill, you're going to be so sore the next day, you may have trouble getting out of bed. Same with lifting weights. You may have been able to bench 180 lbs in college, but trying to resume that level of resistance years later is a sure-fire way to strain, pull, or tear something that is going to hurt. It's also going to make you not want to come back.
2. The mind is willing, but the body isn't able - Again, don't expect to pick right up where you left off with your exercise, depending on how long it's been since you were active. BABY STEPS are an integral part of starting or restarting an exercise regimen.
3. Hydration - Drink water before, during, and after exercising, even if you aren't a heavy perspirer.
4. Set goals that are attainable - If you haven't exercised in two years, and you used to be a six day a week exerciser, start by being a three day a week exerciser, and ease back into a routine. You'll be pleased to learn that your body will "relearn" exercise faster than just learning it the first time. It's called "muscle memory."
5. Worrying about what others think - If you don't like the way your body looks in shorts and a t-shirt these days, hmmm, how can I state this diplomatically ... WHO CARES?! Seriously, why should you care what others think about you? Are their opinions what guide you throughout your life? I hope not! What YOU think in this instance is far, far more important.
6. Not giving yourself enough credit - Be proud of your trips to the gym! No, don't reward yourself by stopping at Burger King for a chocolate shake, necessarily, but mentally high five yourself, encourage yourself, and stop with the negative self-talk. Literally stop it.
7. Not giving yourself enough time for an exercise routine to become habitual - Studies show that the average time for a habit to be formed or broken is around three weeks. Give yourself at least that long, and what you may notice is that instead of asking yourself, "Am I going to work out today?" you'll ask yourself, "WHEN am I going to work out today?" One small word, "when," but a huge step forward to someone wanting to get into a regular routine.
I realize that exercising isn't the only New Year's resolution that people make every year, but it's one of the most common ones. And it's a good one! So, how does this all tie into hypnosis?
I'm glad you asked.
Our deep-seeded beliefs we harbor in our subconscious mind are the true drivers of our life. Those beliefs will trump consciously made resolutions every time. Every time. Oh, it may take weeks or even months for a subconscious belief to overpower some change that a person has implemented into his or her own life. Have you ever known someone who has lost massive amounts of weight on some particular diet or program, and then they gain it back months later? This has either happened to most of us, or we know someone in this situation. If you ask this person why they gained the weight back, more often than not they'll answer, "I don't know." They don't understand why they stopped exercising or avoiding particular foods, because in so many people, these subconscious beliefs are so deeply buried, a person may very well not be aware of their presence, or the effect they wield on their life. What kind of belief about oneself would make it so difficult for someone to stay slim and healthy? Here are some typical examples:
1. I don't deserve to be happy.
2. I don't deserve to be loved.
3. I can protect my heart by being heavy.
There are, of course, thousands of variations of these beliefs, but for most overweight folks, one of these could be applied, or some version thereof. So how does hypnosis come into play with this type of dynamic?
The answer is simple: When you change your beliefs about yourself, you change your life. Hypnosis is the tool to change these beliefs. It isn't the only tool, of course, but it's one of the most effective and efficient. Our day to day actions are driven by our beliefs. Imagine how your actions will change when your beliefs do. Imagine going to the gym, eating a healthy diet, and developing a loving attitude towards yourself, not because you're supposed to, but because that is the direction your beliefs are pushing you. To a large extent, our behavior is automatic. When negative beliefs are in place, negative behavior follows. When positive beliefs are in place, well, you get the picture.
Don't underestimate the power of your own beliefs, whatever they are currently, and whatever they could be. You hold the key to this door; if you allow me, I will be happy to show you how to use that key.
Happy Belated New Year, and whatever your resolutions are, remember that you can achieve them. You absolutely can! And as you travel down Resolution Road, also remember to take it easy on yourself...