How to Make Massive Change – Instantly
My neighbor Josh doesn’t want to quit smoking. He just wishes he didn’t smoke any longer. I know this because he came over for a visit the other night and asked me what my thoughts were on hypnosis. Hypnosis for the specific purpose of quitting smoking.
Hypnosis may be the cat’s pajamas when it comes to all manner of personal change, but what comes first? Before we look for external support measures we have a choice to make of our own. A big one. Usually one we don’t want to make. Once we make it though, the power of the support measures can really be utilized.
Decision First – Support Second
Hypnosis isn’t my bag. Truthfully, the only thing I know about it is that Scientologists aren’t that keen on it, but I understand on a non-experiential level how it may work. Much like piercing the veil, hypnosis may be able to drop a thought or idea down deeper into your consciousness than the place where your everyday thoughts lie. Everyday thoughts like, “Man, I sure would like to suck on some burning tobacco until I die a painful death from drowning in my own lung fluids.” Shit like that.
I’m biased against hypnosis only from a lack of personal experience. That, plus a conversation I had during my senior year at Boston College while sitting in the on-deck hot tub after swimming one day.
This was in 1998 and the day before the Boston Marathon. I, stupidly, had decided to run the damn race. It was sort of a rite of passage for BC swimmers once the season was done, and I had ventured back into the familiarity of the pool deck and into the water as a bit of warm-up and race prep. I hit the hot tub afterward to give my legs one last chance to enjoy themselves.
The gentleman who joined me shortly after was a professor in the psychology department. He apparently felt the need to speak to someone in a Speedo and let me know that he was a master hypnotist as well as a tenured professor. He went on to explain that he could if he wanted to, get me to run the race in world record time.
Now, I run like old people fuck, and that’s an insult to everyone I’ve met through hospice. Thus, right then and there, my bias against hypnosis was born.
Quitting Anything Starts With A Decision
Back to my neighbor Josh. I say he doesn’t want to quit smoking even though he was inquiring about a modality that would help him with the after effects of the decision, but not the decision itself. I say this due to his answer to the follow-up question I asked him after relaying to him the above hypnosis story.
“Have you made the decision to quit?” I asked.
He hemmed and hawed a bit. He told me that he hated smoking and he was embarrassed by it, and then asked what I meant by “made the decision.”
Since it wasn’t my whole life that was going to get rearranged, I put it this way:
“Have you thrown out all of your cigarettes and lighters, told everyone you know you’re quitting, made it your Facebook status, set up and paid for acupuncture appointments to help with the cravings, talked to your doctor about possible nicotine patches or other programs that have worked, told your girlfriend that if you smoke again she is to refuse to have sex with you for thirty days, and written a check to a friend for $1,000 that he gets to cash and keep if you break your commitment to quitting even once?”
His look told me he hadn’t really made the decision. But why? He really did want to quit.
You know what the above is? Taking a risk. Taking a huge risk. Putting some real skin in the game. Playing to win vs playing not to lose, maybe, hopefully. It takes some serious gumption to announce your decision boldly to the world. Why? Because if you fail everyone’s going to know it and your ego is going to get bent over a barrel.
What Josh wanted was to not be a smoker any longer. What he didn’t want was to have to go through the pain and turmoil that’s inherent in making the transition from being a smoker to being a non-smoker.
That was it. If he could have snapped his fingers and become a non-smoker, he would have.
Doctor, Runner, Debtor, Addict
We all have something we want that’s also a challenge. You may not be a smoker, but you may want to become a doctor, a marathon runner, or a published author. You may want to get yourself out of debt or free of the insidious grip of addiction. Infinite possibilities for change exist and many are personal to you and you alone.
Whatever the possibilities may be – no matter how big, or how small – they all start with the decision. Let’s actually capitalize that – the Decision. Once the Decision is made, a process begins. The cage door gets locked behind you and you have to fight or try to climb out to safety. There are no other options.
William Hutchinson Murray summed it up nicely when he stated:
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.
Worry less about what’s going to happen once the Decision is made, and more about making it. Really making it. Committing fully, no matter if any unforeseen obstacles or challenges will arise once you do. If you’re in, 100%, then it doesn’t matter what the obstacles are, you’ll get around them, or through them, or over them. You’ll have guides come into your life to teach you how to circumvent these obstacles, or the challenge itself will lead you to those who can help.
Hypnosis may be a brilliantly effective means of helping Josh once he’s decided to quit, I hope it is. But until he’s made the hard choice, and swallowed that decision down, there’s no external force or modality that’s going to do that job for him. For you either.
One Day Stronger Action Steps:
Grab a pen and paper. List three areas of your life you are unsatisfied with or would like to see change. Only three. Then prioritize them.
1. Pick the biggie. You know, “choose the wrench.” Pick the one that’s causing you the most strife and figure out what the decision is that you need to make to change that area. Is it eliminating something from your life? Is it adding something to your life?
2. Fight Club yourself. List out a system that if put in place would not allow you to fail. Figuratively outline the “this is what I would do if someone put a gun to the back of my head and said I wasn’t allowed to fail” plan.
3. Make the decision. Do what you need to do to get there. Take some time and say, “Ok, this is the last day that XYZ is acceptable, and these are the action steps I’m putting into place right now.”
4. Pick one part of your plan, one action step you can take right now. Not tomorrow morning, not after a nap, but right now. Is it a phone call? A book purchase? Telling a friend? Whatever it may be – do it.