by Linda-Ann Stewart
Susan committed to eating a healthier diet and wanted to make sure she’d follow through on her goal. The first thing she did was go through her pantry and threw away chips and anything with sugar. At the grocery store, she bought fruits, vegetables and healthy proteins. She assembled healthy snacks ahead of time, so she’d grab them instead of looking for something inappropriate.
She used hypnotherapy to imagine staying on her plan, resisting temptation and enjoying her new treats. Through this mental rehearsal, she established a new habit and lifestyle, and easily avoided impulse snacking. Because she took control of her environment and developed strategies ahead of time, she created the conditions for success.
This same process can be used for any habit or situation you want to improve, personally or professionally. There’s an old saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” If you leave the details to fate, hoping that you’ll take the right action in the moment, you probably won’t. Either someone else will decide for you, unexpected situations will get in the way, or inertia will keep you in place. And you’ll just fall back on what’s familiar and automatic.
The Problem with Willpower
Willpower will only take you so far. You need to have strong motivation to be able to get yourself moving in a new direction. Usually, your willpower flags if you get tired, stressed, bored or the results don’t live up to your expectations. Think of the last diet you were on. You probably stayed on it for a while and then began to slack off a little at a time. The slide began with Fettuccine Alfredo at the restaurant with your spouse, then birthday cake at your best friend’s party, and finally you gave up when you went on vacation.
Set Up the Conditions to Succeed
Instead of relying on willpower, set up the conditions ahead of time that will get and keep you on track. Do you want to lose weight, start to exercise or make follow up calls for your business? How can you design the situation to ensure you’ll fulfill your intention? For instance, to permanently lose weight, reframing the concept may help. Rather than thinking of being a diet, consider it a lifestyle change. Decide that you don’t eat certain foods or only a moderate amount of them, not only now, but from now on.
To begin an exercise program, get a buddy or schedule reminders in your phone. Set out your clothes or shoes so you almost trip over them. Start small, with a few minutes a day, and then increase the time as you get into the habit. Design the circumstances so that you know you’ll do it with very little effort.
How can you make sure you make those follow up calls? The night before you could decide on the list of people to call and put it on your computer. And you could reward yourself with something healthy, such as a break with your favorite book, when they’re done. Another solution would be to have an accountability partner that you’d call or email when you’ve completed your task.
Figure out how you can set up the situation so that you’ll behave the way you want. Formulate guard rails to keep yourself from drifting off course. Make as many decisions as you can ahead of time, so when a challenging situation arises, you’re prepared with a solution. The main item you need to develop is commitment to your vision, as Susan did. If you want it badly enough, you can create the conditions so that you’re successful.
The Universe wants the best for me and supports my quest to improve my life. I’m guided and inspired as to how to create the right conditions for me to thrive. Everything I need is already available from the Infinite. I simply need to look for and recognize it. I willingly accept my greater good.
Watch the accompanying video Planning for the Unexpected.