NLP for Habits

Filed Under (NLP life coaching) on 01-06-2011

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Why do old habits die hard? Why is it hard to stop smoking, lose weight, etc.? How can NLP help kill bad and build good habits?

Old habits die hard…

1. first of all because if you want to stop smoking and lose weight, you’re stating both wishes in the negative.  The words stop and lose are prompts to a negative state.  If you are stopping something, you’re stopping an action.  Stop for a red traffic light = you’re halting the action of going.  If you lose something, it disappears from your life.  If you lose your keys, you don’t have them.  That’s what stated in the negative means. Plus if you tell yourself that you want to stop smoking or lose weight, your brain concentrates on stopping and smoking and losing and weight. But it certainly doesn’t concentrate on what you want to get.

If you want to get something, state it in the positive.

The western culture and the English language have been infiltrated with negative thinking and therefore expressions. This certainly doesn’t help when you want to state things in the positive. The reason is because the conventional way to say it is that you want to stop smoking or lose weight. However, you don’t have to do what the majority does. Clearly tell yourself what you want to get. Be a nonsmoker, be slimmer. State it in the positive. We can’t process negatives. We can process positives. Don’t think of ice cream now. Did you think of ice cream?  Exactly the point!

2. because people tend to go from all to nothing in one breath.  “I’m stopping smoking from tomorrow.”  Or: “I better enjoy this cake, because from tomorrow I won’t be eating cakes anymore.”  Sounds familiar? This approach will work for some people. And it will not work for the rest. A gradual approach will work for the rest. Become a nonsmoker by smoking half the amount a day from tomorrow for a month. Then smoke half of that amount for a month. After 2 months you’ll be down to a quarter of what you used to smoke. And it’ll be far less drastic and stressful than going from all to nothing from one day to another. Smoke half less for a third month…. and by then your body will crave significantly less nicotine. Eventually you’ll grow to a nonsmoker quite smoothly because other factors will come into play too.

What was good about the old habit?

To change easily you must find what benefit the old habit brought you and incorporate the benefit into the change and your life after the change.  2 examples:

1. You certainly wouldn’t smoke if it didn’t give you some benefit.  So what was it doing for you?  The answer will be the benefit of smoking.  And if you look deeper, you’ll find more.  If you were so diligently consistent at smoking, you have diligence and consistency as two positive byproducts which you can use in doing something else when you are a nonsmoker.  Commitment is another beneficial byproduct.  How committed were you to smoking [= to what smoking was doing for you]?  Pretty firmly, right?  That’s the point!

2. Exactly the same applies to losing weight or anything else you wish to change.  If you consistently chose foods that tasted good but made you fat, you showed a strong skill of picking the wrong foods.  This skill of choosing things of one category is your positive byproduct which you can certainly apply to choosing better foods.  Perhaps choosing nutritionally valuable foods with such consistency, commitment, diligence, and …what else?…  will serve as an example.

NLP questions to ponder in conclusion

Do you know someone who could earn a million a month and would still have no money or be in debt?  And do you know someone who earns little and always has money for everything – and even left over?  Both individuals exhibit certain skills.  Based on what you’ve read here, how could you point out to the person with chronic lack of money what his/her positive byproducts of (mis)managing money are?  Likewise, how could s/he use those skills or positive byproducts to manage money more prosperously?   What of what this person is doing now is valuable and worth incorporating into his/her future life?

Do you have some habits that annoy you and you don’t know how to deal with? Or have you tried dealing with the habits and nothing seems to work?  Let’s see if we can tackle the habits with NLP.

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