It is a simple process, but it is one I encourage so many to get comfortable with and understand. I think it is essential to have this process in your set of mental skills.
To gain the maximum effect from setting yourself goals, everyone can benefit from acquainting themselves with all those fabulous good feelings they are going to experience when they achieve that goal. For more on goals, have a read of these articles:
Whenever we successfully achieve something that we planned, or hit a different goal of some kind, it makes everything worthwhile, and it feels really good. So how about getting familiar with that feeling before it has happened in reality?
These good feelings (of achieving the goal) can generate passion for the goal. Thus, an effective part of any goal setting process can include you imagining that you have achieved a particular goal set for some moment in the future: You imagine the satisfaction of success, the glow of accomplishment. This satisfaction serves as a real motivation, a passion for achievement that will last throughout your plan of moving towards the goal. Also, doing such a thing can inform you greatly about the kind of mindset needed, the actions and behaviours required, and much more besides.
Joe Montana (Montana & Weiner, 1997) encourages storing future memories in this way:
“If you are in a slump, focus on your mental approach before you mess around with what you are doing physically. Visualizing specifically and realistically what you will be doing will help you move from stressed-out to confident and relaxed…
This isn’t fantasizing, it’s rehearsal.” – Joe Montana
Mental rehearsal is good on so many levels, and it can inform us as well as familiarising us with those great outcomes.
Effect on Confidence:
Imagining successful achievement of our goals helps us to perceive achieving a potentially difficult goal as a real possibility that we are very much capable of. Building this kind of confidence motivates you to expend the energy necessary to achieve the goal.
Lots of people view their future through their past. They think because they have always done certain things a certain way, then they will continue to happen that way. Whereas creating your own future memories is going to enable you to have a vision of the future — which can be a much more powerful force in determining the future than is often given credit for.
When I first was introduced to the world of personal development in my late teenage years and early twenties, I recall reading a classic self-help book by James Allen, entitled, ‘As a Man Thinketh’. In it, he suggests that we all imagine that the mind is like a fertile garden and the thoughts that you have in your mind are seeds. All that your thoughts need to grow, is your attention. Your attention is like the rain and sunshine that the seed needs to grow. So, if you allow old, limiting thoughts and beliefs to continue to grow and then keep focusing on them, you are going to have a mind filled with fruit of the belief that you do not know how to overcome obstacles or worse still, a mind filled with failure or lack.
So nothing too taxing today, just a very classic and generic process combining self-hypnosis with future memory creation, follow these basic steps and make it pertinent and relevant to your particular goals and desired outcomes in life:
Step One: Induce hypnosis.
You can do so by any means you desire or know of. You can use the process in my Science of self-hypnosis book, use the free audio we give away on this website to practice or have a look at the following articles as and when you need them; they are basic processes to help you simply open the door of your mind:
Heavy Arm Self-Hypnosis Induction Method
Using Eye Fixation for Self-Hypnosis
The Chiasson Self-Hypnosis Method
Hand to Face Self-Hypnosis Induction
Using Magnetic Hands for Self-Hypnosis
The Coin Drop Self-Hypnosis Induction
Once you have induced hypnosis, move on to step two.
Step Two: Imagine walking along a pathway of your life, and each step forward goes forward in time. As you step forward you start to float upwards higher and higher – use this as a way of going deeper into hypnosis. Imagine floating upwards, and at the same time become more absorbed in the hypnosis session.
Imagine that you can still see the pathway down below you and that it is like a line of time going forward. When you feel that you have reached a good level of focus and absorption in the hypnosis, move on to the next step.
Step Three: Notice that there is a highlight on the pathway/timeline below you. Start to descend down to that highlight. This is your desired outcome, the successful achievement of your goal.
This is the moment in your future that is a tipping point for your goal. This is a moment where everything just clicks into place. All the lessons you’ve learned, all your skills, all your communication, all aspects of who you are suddenly all just blend perfectly and everything goes right for you in that moment.
Float down into that moment and all the time imagine going deeper into hypnosis. As you reach that point, move on to the next step.
Step Four: Watch the scene from the outside.
See the successful goal being achieved; see yourself in that scene achieving your desired outcome or goal, whatever that may be. Imagine that moment where it is Mission Accomplished!
As you look at this image of yourself in your imagination, think to yourself, “I just know that is going to happen,” the same way that you know a brick will fall to the floor if you let go of it. Undeniably convince yourself of it and really believe in it as you look at it.
Then, think to yourself, “I deserve that.” Really know that you deserve it. You put the work in to achieve it, you deserve the outcome.
Finally, think that this is enjoyable, fun, fulfilling; perceive it as an enjoyable thing to do that is rewarding and fun. When we take our goals too seriously, we often make them too rigid and they are not very compelling. Think to yourself that the journey to your desired outcome is going to be enjoyable and fun.
Notice all the sights in this scene, hear the sounds, notice how other people react and respond to you (if there are other people there) and notice as much detail as you possibly can about this scene.
With that step fully complete and with the scene vivid in your mind, move on to the next step.
Step Five: Now step into the shoes of this future you. See through those eyes, hear through those ears, feel with that heart and stomach. Be that person in every way. Notice how he (or she) thinks, how he feels, how he holds the body, and adopt all of these things for yourself. Soak it all up and learn deeply about it. Get comfortable being this way. Notice how you communicate and how people respond to you, if there are people there.
So you step into that image of you in your mind. Wear it, act like it. When you pretend to be a certain way, you are learning how to be that way at the deeper behavioural level. Really, truly associate with it, feel the feelings of it and get it lodged into your mind.
Then do those things (achieving that goal) and BE that version of yourself. Mentally rehearse that future scenario in your mind.
Here you are acquainting your mind with that outcome, you are teaching it how to be that way. You are creating your future successful running memory. Spend some time on this step and really associate with that outcome. See what you would be seeing, hear the sounds of your success, feel the feelings that you would feel. Experience it as if it is happening right now. Learn as much as you can about what it takes to be in these shoes, how to think, feel, behave and once you feel you have absorbed as much as you possibly can from this, move on to the next step.
Step Six: Use your cognitions.
Tell yourself over and over that you know this is going to happen. Affirm with yourself. Use your internal dialogue and just talk to yourself in an appropriately motivating manner that assures you that this is going to happen, that you are capable of this and that it is going to be a wonderfully rewarding journey getting here. Repeat these ideas and words to yourself until they help you feel positive about it, and once you notice that sense of positivity, move on to the next step.
Step Seven: Now float up and out of this scene, but bring all the lessons and learning with you. Float up above the line of time once again, incorporating all the deeper learning and recognising how easy it is to assimilate it all inside you.
Float down back into the present moment and bring all that learning with you. Remind yourself that gradually bit by bit, when you are outside in the world, all this learning starts to be embodied by you and starts to become closer and closer to being your reality.
Then move on to the final step.
Step Eight: Exit hypnosis.
If you use my own protocol as shown in my science of self-hypnosis book, count yourself up and out from one through to five. Otherwise, open your eyes, wiggle your toes and get oriented to the place you are in.
Use this basic technique and start getting yourself associated with those future memories of achieving the goals you have set for yourself in life.
An additional and related article that I think will serve you incredibly well here, is one I wrote last year and offers up a number of very useful strategies for owning your life in the now and not letting the past drag you to places you do not want to be, but also aiding and advancing a sense of healthy optimism about your future life, enjoy this: Owning Your Life and Being Responsible For Who You Are Today.
Ok, have an awesome weekend, I’ll be back next week.