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Resolutions - Make Them Work: Part 1
With the New Year upon us, many of us find ourselves making New Year's resolutions; and, in a very short period of time, many of us find ourselves feeling disillusioned with the fact that almost as soon as we made those resolutions, we failed at keeping them.

Why do we fail? Is it possible to make a resolution and succeed at keeping it?

Yes, but you've got know how. Before you can plan on keeping a resolution, you need to understand yourself, your subconscious and add to your tool box a little thing called SMART goals.

I'll let you in on a little secret, a resolution is really nothing more than a goal. A goal to quit smoking or lose weight, exercise more, make more money or spend less money, get organized, finish that project that's been hanging around, feel better about yourself, stop dating the wrong men or whatever else you feel you want or need in the New Year.

So, how do you begin this process. How do you understand yourself and your subconscious.

Start by accepting and understanding that your subconscious is attempting to guide, help and contact you all the time. Most of us have gotten really good at blocking our subconscious with our habitual and self-defeating habits and behaviors, conscious thought patterns or emotions. In addition, the subconscious can also be drowned out with mundane mental trivia and negative, self defeating thoughts that we subject ourselves to regularly. You know, that little voice (perhaps from a parent or ex husband, wife, employer, whatever) that says don't even try because you'll fail, give up, you're not good enough or strong enough or smart enough to succeed.

Studies have shown that people who frequently experience negative emotions such as anxiety, pessimism, anger, resentment, fear or hostility have a much higher risk of illness, disease and depression compared to their peers who possess a more positive outlook and practice relaxation techniques. It is these relaxation techniques that also allow the subconscious to discard the build up of (what I call) garbage that we all carry around with us.

This garbage can literally weigh you down until you feel as if you can barely move let alone accomplish or reach a goal. So, before you do anything else, get rid of some of that garbage.

The fastest way I know to get rid of this garbage is with hypnosis. Using a bit of self-hypnosis (something I don't recommend too often), you can use positive self-guided imagery. It is simple and yet very powerful. The idea is to "anchor" the feeling of self-worth, hope, love, joy, health or whatever you want to grow more of in you life, your heart and your mind.

First step. Take a deep, relaxing and cleansing breath in and out, allowing your mind and body to slow down just a bit.

Second step. Count yourself down from 5 to 0 and with each number remind yourself that your body and mind is relaxing just a bit more.

Third step. With your eyes closed, concentrate on an image that for you represents what you want to grow more of in your life right now. The image can be a person, a place, a pet, anything. Remember that for purposes of this exercise, this is just a symbol, it doesn't have to be specifically what you want to bring to yourself. With a lot of garbage being carried around, sometimes it is hard to even figure out specifically what you do want. This exercise will let you get rid of some of that garbage and make it easier to gain a bit of clarity.

So, for this exercise, just pick a symbol that represents what you want to grow in your heart and mind. For example, you could think of a brand new sports car or a beautiful large house as a symbol for success, money or wealth. For joy, fun or pleasure it can be an image that represents a vacation for you, a cruise or swimming or lying in the sun. Personally, I like to bring up the image of my children when they were small running, laughing and playing. Or sometimes I bring up the image of a kitten, curled in my arms and purring. I find this image particularly peaceful and filled with love and hope.

Your goal here is to bring this image into your mind and then with this imagine in mind to allow the all the positive feelings associated with that image fill your heart and mind. Imagine the energy of those positive feelings filling your heart and with that imagery imagine the sensation of those feelings circulating throughout your body.

Fourth step. Now, imagine a spark. A spark or energy, of life in the center of your heart. All life starts with a spark. Think of this spark as your "heart fire". Visualize or imagine throwing open the doors to your heart. During a session I frequently use the image of throwing open shutters in a dark room and allowing the sun and light and air to flow in. Imagine that the air flowing in fuels this flame in your heart, like oxygen fuels any fire. See and feel it growing larger and large with each breath that you take.

Fifth step. Imagine or visualize that your heart fire continues to grow until you are encircled in a cocoon of loving, light-filled energy and strength supporting you, nourishing you, and growing whatever you envision in your life now.

The final step is to then count yourself back out of this hypnotic state. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!! Count yourself out. Starting with 1 and with each number up to 5 reminding yourself that you are coming completely out of hypnosis and that you will be in a completely non-suggestible state. Do this at least twice.

Simply knowing something on an intellectual level gives you very little power; but when you can take that image or desire and internalize it by using your subconscious, it can then become a part of who you are and this enables you to radiate that truth outward, changing your life completely if you wish, and most definitely giving yourself a New Beginning.

In Part 2 of this article, I'll explain SMART Goals and how to make them work for you.

Linda Simmon, C.Ht.

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