I stumbled upon this article by the New York Times a couple weeks ago, and have been thinking about it. I do want to apologise for not updating my blog as regularly as I used to, I will probably write a personal piece to share why and what has been happening in my private life.
So a brief summary of the short article:
Summary of content:
- The “possible selves” describes how people envision their futures: what they may become, or want to become, or even fear becoming.
- These possible selves, both positive (A violin student who wants to become a musician) and negative (A person whose feared possible self is an alcoholic may become a teetotaler.), are closely related to motivation.
- Conjuring positive possible selves can improve well-being and alleviate symptoms of depression by holding out the potential for a better future.
- So how do we construct that positive self and do what we envision?
- Take action: Making the transition “requires you to say now, today, this week, these are the steps I can actually take” to attain that goal.
- Find an expert companion: A supportive person who knows your strengths and weaknesses — and opens your eyes to potential selves you hadn’t considered.
- Share your goal: Doing so makes you more likely to achieve it
- Reach out to your weak ties: Whether you’re job hunting or seeking breakthrough advice, people in your larger network are more likely to help surface fresh ideas than those closest to you are.
So you might know that I’m trained in Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy and have been practising since 2013. One of the first exercises that students learn in the diploma course is a script writing exercise, asking your client or volunteer to envision how things will be like after they have achieved their goal. So say you have a goal to become a hypnotherapist (or working out every day, a dancer, a confident and eloquent public speaker, a calm mother etc), you will then ask about a specific situation once you have achieved that, where are you, what are you doing, what are you thinking, how are you feeling, what are your body sensations like, what are your facial expression and body gestures, what are the social and financial and other impacts etc.
Doing so often motivates people to work towards their goal. It most likely increases the feel good hormones (like dopamine etc) when you see your goal achieved, and then these hormones keep you going. Of course, during the process if there’s any obstacles or any skills needed, we can use imagination or hypnosis to facilitate that too.