Hypnosis and Exercise Motivation
By Victoria Gallagher
One of the biggest problems people face with their weight loss plans has to do with self-confidence. Self-confidence is knowing that you have the ability to get things done.
Each time you say to yourself, this week I am going to… and you don’t follow through on that, it reduces your self-confidence by a notch, making it that much harder to follow through the following week.
For example, if you are getting back into working out, let's say your ideal goal is to do cardio for 20 minutes three times a week and to work out with weights 40 minutes three times a week. However, let’s also say that it’s been more than 3 months since you have done any working out at all. The idea of this program might seem so overwhelming that you a) continue to put it off or b) get started on it for the standard two weeks and drop off. Does any of this sound familiar to you?
Of course in either of those cases your self-confidence will go down and it becomes that much harder to get back into it again because you believe that you will fail. One of the biggest motivating factors about anything that you do in your life is having the belief in your ability to do it. Once you know you can and will do it, doing it is not as big of an issue. It’s the doubt in whether you are ready to follow through or not that drags down your level of motivation. Right?
So one of the things that I advise my clients to do is start with a ridiculously small agreement to themselves that they know they can keep. Going back to the goal of working out, let’s say the above example is where you would ideally like to be, but if you’re not going to do it right now, what good is that? And I am speaking directly to those who may have a hard time sticking to an exercise program consistently or getting one started. So, what I ask is this: How much of that goal would you be willing to commit to this week? Minimum participation can be as little as 30 seconds a day. And usually what most will agree to at this point is anywhere between 5 minutes to 10 minutes a day.
Here is why I believe it would be better to do 30 seconds a day, than nothing at all:
If you are starting from square one, where you haven’t moved your body at all to moving your body vigorously for even as little as 30 seconds a day, there are a number of benefits you will get from starting out in this small this way.
* First of all, the main point of this exercise is to build your self-confidence back up to the ultimately level where you just know you will do whatever you say you are going to do. (I recommend keeping ALL of your agreements as well). Even if it is a tiny little thing that you have completed, completing anything will enhance your self-confidence so that maybe the following week you will add more time to this goal.
* Secondly, you will actually raise your metabolism by even a slight amount.
* Third, you will be putting exercise into your conscious awareness.
* Fourth, you will be creating a daily positive habit. Activity is a great affirmation to your body that you are doing something to take care of yourself and toward your goal.
* And finally, without you consciously trying to do anything at all, your body will tell you that it is ready for more. Even if these 30 seconds you spend seems difficult at first, you will increase your endurance by doing something consistently and will eventually need to do more to receive the same satisfaction.
Everything we have talked about so far deals with something that you will do at a conscious level. What I highly recommend is to go into hypnosis for a minimum of 15 minutes on a consistent daily basis and work on your goal at a subconscious level. Let your subconscious mind do 90% of the work. I ask you to consciously participate with the 10% that you do have control over. As you continue listening to your goal and visualize and even feel yourself exercising and being in the best shape of your life, these thoughts will eventually take over and become your new behaviors.
When you are working at a subconscious level, I further recommend that you listen to your hypnosis program at a time just before you will be working out because it will help increase your motivation. I don’t like to dictate when you should do something or what is right or wrong or bad or good. These are recommendations and what I have seen work for others. If something else works better for you, go for it.
I do suggest however, that there are benefits to working out and doing hypnosis in the morning (or whenever you wake up) that are not available to you at the end of the day. One is that working out on an empty stomach causes you to burn fat first, rather than the protein and carbohydrates you have been eating all day. Secondly, working out in the morning will give you more energy throughout the day. You will also turn up your metabolism during a time that you are active, which helps you to capitalize on any potential fat burning activity that you do that day, as opposed to right before you fall asleep when the smallest amount of calories are burned.
Some of the benefits of doing hypnosis in the morning are that you are less likely to fall asleep again after you have been asleep all night. Also, you are already somewhat in a hypnotic state when you first wake up and therefore you can take advantage of that state you are already in to listen to your hypnosis program.
So, to recap I recommend starting a ridiculously small work out program to build up a habit and a sense of self-confidence. Let your powerful subconscious mind do most of the work by feeding it the suggestions that will support your overall workout goal.
My final recommendation is to reward yourself with something positive. Choose a reward that is in line with your overall health goal, not food. Food has been used since the beginning of time as a celebration activity and so it is ingrained in our minds to celebrate our successes with food. However, all that does is reinforce your old beliefs and your old behaviors about food.
Here are a few suggestions to reward yourself: Take a drive to a nearby beautiful place in nature. Buy yourself a new outfit. Buy yourself a book you’ve wanted to read. Buy yourself a new music CD, or even some more hypnosis CDs that will help you continue to feel good about yourself. Here are a few CDs I recommend that very specifically relate to this article: Motivation, Self-confidence, and I Love to Exercise.