My client had an excellent motivation to stop smoking. She wanted to live long enough to see her great-granddaughter be born.
She started out by telling me that she liked to smoke. She resented having to stop smoking. And, she didn’t really want to stop smoking. However, luckily for us both, seeing that new baby was more important to her than smoking.
My client also let it be known that smoking was something that no one could take away from her. When she said that, I knew that I had to address that particular issue or she was likely to continue smoking.
My solution was simply to ask her,” There are people who have beliefs that they would be willing to die for. Would you be willing to die for that one?” She had a powerful response to that question. She said, “No!” And she looked and sounded quite scared.
When she said “no” I touched her on the back of her hand setting up with hypnotherapists call an anchor. Every time when I touched her on that same spot on the back of her hand in the same way she re-experienced her fear that smoking would kill her. So, every time after that when I mentioned smoking, cigarettes, or tobacco I touched that anchor, which created an association in her mind between smoking and fear of death from smoking.
There was another important consideration. My client’s goal was to see her great-granddaughter be born. After the baby’s birth, her motivation to remain a non-smoker might completely vanish.
When a goal is too specific, like the birth of a great grandchild, once it’s accomplished the motivation to continue on can simply expire. For example, someone who is on a diet may have a specific weight goal. Once he or she accomplishes that goal, they stop dieting, and go back to the very behaviors that got them fat in the first place.
To make sure that my client stayed a non-smoker, I asked her some questions. I asked her if she might like to hear the baby’s first words. I asked her if she might like to see little girls outfit when she went off to kindergarten that very first day. I asked her if she might like to see her great-granddaughter in her prom dress and on her high school graduation day. In answer to each of those questions was an enthusiastic “yes”.
Now my client had created for herself compelling reasons to remain a non-smoker past the birth of her great-granddaughter.
The way that we formulate a goal can be crucial for long term success. If the goal is too specific, it can lose its power to motivate once it’s been accomplished. So, part of my job as a hypnotherapist is to make sure that my clients’ goals are both achievable and that they will motivate for a lifetime.
Wesley Anderson, DCH
Atlanta’s Foremost Stop Smoking Hypnosis Expert