About a month ago, I decided to make a major change in my daily diet. I cut way back on coffee drinks. No more homemade iced mochas or weekend Starbucks Frappuccinos. No more chai or black tea. No more soda. Just one cup of plain old coffee per day.
Before I made the choice, I’d been thinking about it (ignoring it) for quite some time. It seemed like an obvious move in the right direction—delete anxiety, muscle tension and insomnia, and put an extra five bucks in my wallet every day.
But I had a case of the “what-ifs.”
So I had to pour a few less cups of coffee? Big deal, you’re thinking. Well, it may not seem revolutionary to you—and I know most AFC readers are making much fitness bigger changes—but it was a big deal for me. We’re talking reversing a 10-year habit. I was scared. When I made my first post about it (to lock myself into the goal), I wasn’t 100% sure I’d actually do it. After all, what if I gained weight? Got headaches? Developed narcolepsy? Died?
You might be facing some of your own what-ifs about making a big change. Maybe you’re dreaming about running a marathon or applying for a new job. Maybe you want to start lifting weights or doing yoga but you don’t feel fit enough to enter a gym.
“When starting something new or something you haven’t done in awhile, it can be scary,” says fitness blogger Jessica, who recently battled her own what-ifs when she started the P90X program. “We can make up a ton of excuses and doubts to hold us back from reaching our goals.”
But we shouldn’t let fear and silly excuses hold us back from achieving what we want. For those with a special talent for creating what-if scenarios (like me), hypnosis is a godsend. Sometimes we just need to be reminded that we’re not a slave to habit, self-sabotage or cravings, and that we can handle whatever challenge comes our way. You can achieve similar grounding with meditation, but since I have a hard time talking to myself I went with the guided option.
It’s ironic, perhaps, that in turning to hypnosis to banish my coffee-curbing what-ifs, I came up with a whole new batch of them: what if hypnosis puts me to sleep? What if it’s weird or doesn’t work? What if it does work?
Thankfully, despite my apprehension, I tried it anyway. After doing a little research, hypnotherapy sounded more sensible to me: it’s essentially just guided visualization, a form of talk therapy, that you can do with a hypnotherapist in person or via CD. A certified hypnotherapist will help you visualize your goals and the deep-rooted obstacles holding you back. (At no point does anyone appear in a cape and spin a pinwheel in your face.)
The hypnosis CD I tried was Mastering the Mind, which, though geared toward weight loss, is essentially to help you get in tune with your body and in control of your mind. The principles are universal. Hypnosis can help you move past all the what-ifs and set up a game plan. It can also help you remember that you’ve actually set a goal (that repetition and positive reinforcement come in handy when you’re prone to forgetting.)
While locking myself into a commitment by going public got me over the initial hurdle, it didn’t give me much confidence about putting my new resolution into practice. Hypnosis helped me realize that my goals are easily achievable—not just cutting coffee, but all my fitness and health goals.
Jessica’s fitness advice: kick those what-ifs straight to the curb. “You can go years and years caged by them when you could have just taken some baby steps right over the cage and into good health.”
Hypnosis can help you turn those first steps into strides.