I often receive desperate phone calls during late December and early January from people who are prepared to make important changes in their lives under the guise of a “New Year’s Resolution.” While I truly believe in taking advantage of the fresh start of a new year ahead, I want to be sure that my clients are prepared to take on goals that are achievable, with outcomes that are noticable and ongoing, regardless of the time of year! While I’m sharing this article for World Hypnotism Day (January 3), the process of setting and achieving goals is an important topic year-round.
What do they want to change? Many clients come to the hypnosis office because they feel “stuck.” They know something needs to change, but they’re not completely sure where to start. These clients are great to work with because hypnosis helps reveal the underlying patterns they might not be aware of. As we help them uncover the cause, we are able to help the client create new outcomes and expectations for his or her life with the obstacle removed.
How will this change impact the client’s life? It’s important for us as hypnotists to explore with our clients the areas of their lives that they want to change and how the change will impact their life. The “benefits” form is a great tool to start with, as it shows what is important to the client. Some clients might have an emphasis on outcomes benefitting their interpersonal relationships, while others might be looking to have changes in their professional life, and others might say that the most important impact for them is how they will feel and think after their sessions. Some might include a combination or add important themes in their life such as improved health, or better sleep.
How will they know they’ve made the change? Once you work with a client to become more clear about the areas of his or her life that are especially important for them to change, it’s time to talk about more specific goals and a path to achieve them! This is an important step, as it begins to answer the question “how will you know when you’ve made the change?” Throughout my process with my clients, I help them work on immediate goals, mid-range goals and of course we set the foundation for long term goals that they’ll continue to work on well after my time with them is complete. With some clients, they’ll know the change has taken place because they’ve changed a specific behavior. For others, it’s not as obvious. It’s important to have benchmarks in place so that the client can recognize in themselves that they are doing things differently than they did before their sessions.
When will they achieve their goal? Early in my process with clients, I focus more on quick, achievable goals- ways that they can begin recognizing that things are already different right away after their first session. As we continue to meet, I help the client expect their changes taking place further and further out into the future, sometimes several weeks out, even several months out. As they follow through on the changes they are making, I remind them that this gives them the ability to keep moving forward toward the larger, longer term goals.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these thoughts on goal setting and achievement. Wishing you a wonderful new year where you achieve all of your goals!