Many clients assume that the reason they have not been able to succeed in overcoming a problem previously by themselves is because they ‘lack willpower’. This is such a common notion that few people question the idea, but actually it is a misunderstanding.
What we call ‘willpower’ is really the conscious effort that we make to back up a new conscious decision. In other words, it is an extra effort we don’t normally make, so obviously it is not possible to sustain it for long. Making an effort is work, so after a while we begin to feel the strain and would prefer to stop – to cease trying. This effectively means that willpower is only really suitable for tasks that will not take very long anyway, such as mowing the lawn. Anything that is going to drag on for weeks – like stopping smoking the hard way, or dieting – willpower won’t do it. It might get you started, but it is in the very nature of willpower that you will not be able to sustain that effort for long.
All too often, we are relying on this limited conscious effort to force ourselves to do something we are not in the habit of doing, such as going to the gym. Or we may be using it to stop ourselves from doing something we are in the habit of doing, like eating crisps, or smoking.
All habitual behaviour is controlled by the Subconscious mind, so what we are really doing is making conscious efforts we cannot sustain, and don’t enjoy, to oppose Subconscious-controlled habits that are usually effortless to repeat. The conscious decision to try that is something the Subconscious is blissfully unaware of, so as soon as you run out of steam, or get distracted by something else, the old habits effortlessly assert themselves again, under the innocent direction of the more powerful Subconscious mind.
Now if we also consider that only about 12% of the human mind seems to be involved with consciousness, it becomes obvious that the application of "willpower" is actually just 12% of the mind trying to oppose the usual direction and inertia of the other 88%, which is the Subconscious. This is not a fair fight. And the Subconscious doesn’t realise there is a fight going on anyway – that is only our conscious perception.
The suggestion that this is the ideal route to changing habitual behaviour is just silly: it is more like banging your head against a brick wall. It's nice when you stop. Not only that, it is completely unnecessary, because the irony of all this is that the Subconscious is usually quite happy to change the behaviour anyway, once it has all been explained. This process of explaining useful information to the Subconscious mind is called ‘hypnotherapy’, and most people alive today have never even tried it – which is a bit of a shame, since it has to be just about the most useful procedure to enhance human success and quality of life ever discovered.
If you require any particular info about hypnotherapy, call me (Chris) on:
Office: 0161-474-8120 or call/text 07748 838 644 any day, any time. I'll be glad to help!
Consultant Hypnotherapist Chris Holmes is Director of Central Hypnotherapy Stockport and has been helping people from Stockport, Cheshire, Manchester and Tameside succeed since August 2000