NLP for Relapses

Filed Under (NLP life coaching) on 01-09-2017

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Why do we relapse just when we’re beginning to do so well?  Or just as we get so close to achieving a goal? How do relapses happen? Why do they repeat? What is the message in relapses? And how can anyone use NLP for relapses?

How relapses happen

If you have started a new way of doing something or are building a new habit, you’ll know relapses well.  Whether you’re ‘on a diet’, abstaining from alcohol, or whatever else, there will inevitably come a day when you sabotage yourself and relapse. You’ll eat something you exclude from your ‘dietary’ menu. Or drink something alcoholic, etc. And you’ll have an excuse for the relapse – or not.  You’ll enjoy the relapse and may later start hating yourself for having relapsed.  If you visually record your progress in the new ways of doing things, now you’ll have to record the relapse. And you know well that the relapse will look like a sore thumb among the days without relapsing!

Some people will not feel annoyed with themselves for having relapsed. Others will.  If you are one of the people who will, you’ll start asking yourself why oh why you had to sabotage yourself.  You may criticize yourself, call yourself a fool, and will finally realize that had you put up just a little discipline, you could easily have avoided the relapse…

Why relapses happen

But could you?  Or do relapses have a message?  One NLP way of looking at relapses is that relapses are a part of our progress and learning new ways of doing things. They are support pillars of motivation for building new habits. Many people find pleasure harder to handle than pain. Thus relapses happen just when the pleasure of having been doing so well begins to be too much to handle, too good to be true, too surprising / good / impossible to believe.

The relapse sets us back a step to tone down the burden of the pleasure of doing way too well for ourselves. The relapse reminds us of the old track we came from – the beginning of a new way of doing something.  And hating ourselves for having relapsed is an inevitable metaphor for looking back and realizing that despite the one relapse among so many days of doing well we’re still doing well!

We need relapses to happen

And we will do even better, because the relapse kicks up our motivation.  Our motivation between relapses goes in the opposite cyclical pattern to the pleasure of doing well.  While the pleasure is the weakest right after the relapse, the motivation to do well again without relapsing is the strongest right after the relapse. The longer we do well, the weaker the motivation to keep it up becomes. Hence the stronger our desire to relapse, the greater the pleasure of relapsing. Motivation is the weakest before the relapse while the pleasure is the strongest before the relapse. The relapse has made us review our progress and see that we have been doing well, thus the relapse kicks up our motivation and the cycle repeats itself – perhaps with longer periods between relapses.

Welcome and use relapses to your benefit on your stairway to heaven

If you have very high standards, are highly self-critical, or a chronic perfectionist, think of this article the next time you relapse. You’ll even thank your ‘self-sabotage’ for giving you a landing on the long spiral staircase to your new way habit.  Going up is more physically demanding than going down. And the landing is a place where you can take a breath, look down, and see how far up you’ve come.

And use NLP for relapses when they happen!

NLP coaching is just like the landing.  I’ll gladly meet you on the landing if you need a supporting hand. Just let me know.

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