Setting Goals for Your Hypnotherapy Sessions
On New Year’s Eve my friend arrived with a bulk of worksheets for us to fill in as our evening activity. I know what you’re thinking – it was all party party party in the hypno house! She handed us each four worksheets; my current favourites, my 2022 goals, what I think and my yearly mood tracker. I’ve always said I’m not one for new year resolutions, I believe we should make a new resolution when it is relevant, and we feel a need for change. However, the new year is a nice time to reflect, introspect and set some goals for the year ahead. There is a difference between goal setting and resolutions, goal setting is important, in particular short term goals to increase motivation.
Hypnotherapy Sessions and Solution Focused Therapy
There is a general view that if you have a specific thing you want to achieve you use hypnotherapy, if you feel unsettled in general and need to offload or get support you speak with a counsellor who will give you space to talk. Both counselling and hypnotherapy sessions give a space to talk, bounce ideas around, explore yourself and your troubles with the possibility of solution focused therapy at the same time.
A professional goal for me this year is to help my clients focus more on their goals. When we have the initial consultation two questions I ask are
- What do you want to achieve?
- How will you feel when you consider our therapy complete?
Both questions give the space to consider a goal for the therapy sessions. The answers give us something to look at after each session. Sometimes as we work through things, we notice that we realised the initial goal but there are new things that need focus. At this point it is important to formally set the new goals.
The Therapist’s Role
I spoke with someone yesterday who feels completely overwhelmed in life, more overwhelmed than they have for a long time. When they told me their story part of it involved using a train, the train was not the problem it was just a part of the story. However, a year ago this person felt unable to use a train and one of their goals was to feel safe on public transport again. As life goes on you will grow and meet goals but there is rarely an endpoint.
Therapy is sometimes like this. When you have something very specific to achieve such as overcoming a fear of flying for a flight you have booked, there is an endpoint. When the problem is vaguer it is easy for therapy to go off on a tangent, for the sessions to become an offloading of the previous week, an hour to rant. It is important for the therapist to hold the space and maintain direction so there is time to let off steam but also some focus to maintain the opportunity for growth.
Knowing what you want and don’t want
We are very good at knowing what we do not want but less so at knowing what we do want. Often we speak about the things that are wrong in life and struggle to focus on what is right. We compare our limitations to other people’s strengths. We speak about what we do not like but rarely about what we do. When you set goals, you think about what you do want to achieve, how you do want your life, you focus on different aspects of yourself, and your life based on your likes and dislikes so that everything fits together and most importantly fits you.
Goal setting might feel tedious or overwhelming, but you can make it different. I realised on New Year’s Day that – possibly because of the pandemic – my motivation for days out has disappeared. There are aspects of it still there, but my mind creates barriers, too expensive, not enough time, too cold, didn’t think of it early enough etc. So, on the 1 January we sat down as a family, and each wrote three days out we’d like to do. I compiled the list including the cost of each day, the opening times (some places are seasonal) and a suggestion of when we do each one.
This gives a clear annual budget. Instead of waking up one morning with an idea and motivation, clicking to book tickets and realising it is a very expensive day out that we did not budget for I know how much we need to save for the year to have one exciting day out per month. The list is also helpful when we feel stuck for ideas.
A family tradition in our house is to have a day out on each of our birthdays. In 2020 we learned how many places have stopped opening Monday – Friday. It is something we always choose and book at the last minute. In September when I started the exploration for my daughter’s birthday the first three places I found were shut on her birthday day. Having our premade list makes organisation easier.
When you set goals, it is important to make them relevant. I enjoyed my worksheets on NYE because the combination of questions helped me to explore my likes and dislikes, my thoughts, and feelings before setting my goals. As a result, my goals felt personal and relevant. Another important aspect of goal setting is to make them specific. Rather than ‘I want to earn more money’ specify exactly how much money you want to earn. The same for saving money, rather than ‘I want to save more money’ specify exactly how much more money. As a health goal, rather than ‘eat a more balanced diet’ specify exactly what you need to add in or take away from your diet to make it balanced.
Split your goals into sections and make it holistic, for example, personal goals, health goals, relationship goals, financial goals, learning goals and any other goals. You will need to add in how you will achieve the goal and the barriers to you achieving the goal. For example, if a relationship goal is to see a friend more regularly how will you achieve that? Perhaps you will set a regular date such as the first Monday of each month. Maybe you need to commit to booking the next meet up during the current. A barrier to the goal might be other commitments so work out now how to mitigate or navigate the barriers. Is there something you can do now that will remove the barrier?
Give your goal a duration, is it something you want to change for life, or will you achieve it by a set date? This means your goals must be measurable. What does see a friend more regularly mean to you? For some people it is more than once a year, for others it is more than once a week. Will you commit to a monthly meet up or weekly? How much more money will you save each month and for how long?
Once you have your goals
Now you have set your goals commit to referring to them regularly – remember to specify what regularly is for you. You might need to amend your goals as life changes, or you realise a goal. Once you have set your initial goals the cycle never need end. If something comes to mind set a new goal, whether it is 1 January or 30 July. Celebrate your successes and adjust your goals if they feel unmanageable.