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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Making and Keeping New Year's Resolutions

As a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist in NYC, this is the time of year when I see new clients coming into treatment because they've decided to make important changes in their lives. This is the time of year when many of us take stock, think about our lives, and make New Year's resolutions about the things that we want to change about ourselves. 


Making and Keeping New Year's Resolutions

Clinical hypnosis (also known as hypnotherapy) is a safe and effective way to change old habits and create new and positive changes. Whether you want to develop better communication skills in your relationship, change old eating habits, stop smoking, or create an overall healthier lifestyle, clinical hypnosis has helped thousands of people to overcome obstacles that were keeping them from making those changes on their own.

At the beginning of the New Year when people make their New Year's resolutions, many people start with enthusiasm, motivation and determination to make the changes that they want to see in their lives. However, after a month or two, many of those same people get frustrated and discouraged when they don't see the changes happening fast enough, and they abandon their efforts. When you work with a licensed mental health professional who has advanced training in clinical hypnosis, you're able to work more deeply on the unconscious issues that keep you from making the changes that you want to make. It's not as much of a struggle as when you try to do it on your own.

If you, like many others, are at the point when you've made your New Year's resolutions and you feel determined to make those changes, here are some tips that might be helpful:

Recognize that Change is a Process:
Since change is a process that happens over time, and usually not a one-time event, recognize that making changes, especially if you're trying to do it on your own, might take longer than you think.

Focus on Changing Your Behavior:
Instead of focusing on specific results (e.g., wanting to lose a specific amount of weight by a specific date), focus on changing your behavior. So, for instance, instead of saying, "I want to lose 15 lbs. by March 1st," focus on eating healthier and more nutritious meals. When you focus on healthier eating habits, your goal will be a broader change that will be longer lasting, more holistic and more effective than planning for particular weight loss. You're also more likely to keep off any weight that you've lost when you have a broader goal.

Choose Only One or Two Changes at a Time:
If you overwhelm yourself with too many New Year's resolutions at a time, you are probably setting yourself up for failure. Choosing one or two behaviors that you would like to change is more likely to be effective. As you see positive changes in those one or two areas that you want to change, you'll feel more confident about yourself. Then, after you've consolidated your gains in these areas, you can consider other areas that you'd like to change.

Decide What You'd Like to Add to Your Life As Well:
When you decide to make a change in yourself, decide what you'd like to add to your life as well. So, for instance, if you want to stop smoking and you know that you tend to smoke when you get anxious, think about what pleasant activities you can substitute for your old smoking habit when you feel triggered by anxiety. Attending a yoga class, going to the gym, talking to a friend, learning to meditate, or some other healthy activity that you would enjoy, might be among the activities that you choose to add to your life. So, it's not just about "giving up smoking." The overall goal is to lead a healthier life, you're learning new coping skills for when you get anxious, and you're also adding healthy activities to create greater happiness in your life.

Recognize that You Might Slip Back into Old Behaviors:
This gets back to the idea that change is a process. So, it's better not to engage in all-or-nothing thinking when you're trying to make changes in your life. Recognize that you might slip back into the old behaviors that you're trying to change. Plan for these slips so that you're prepared if and when they occur. For many people, this is the time when they become frustrated and they give up on their New Year's resolutions. So, rather than berating yourself and giving up, acknowledge that you're human, you had a slip, recommit to your goal and move on.

Consider Clinical Hypnosis:
If you've tried all of the above suggestions and you find that you're still struggling to keep those New Year's resolutions that are so important to you, you might want to consider attending clinical hypnosis sessions with a licensed mental health professional who has advanced training in hypnotherapy.

Remember, there's a big difference between a lay "hypnotist" and a licensed mental health professional who is a hypnotherapist. While the "hypnotist" might know some hypnotic techniques, the licensed mental health professional who is a hypnotherapist has advanced therapeutic training and is recognized as a licensed professional in your State.

I am a licensed psychotherapist and hypnotherapist in NYC. I have helped many clients to make positive changes so they can lead more fulfilling lives.

I wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year.

To find out more about clinical hypnosis, visit the website for the professional clinical hypnosis society, ASCH: http://www.ASCH.net.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.