Una's Blog


30 Your subconscious mind

graphic-6by Una Hearne.

In my last blog I wrote about having a vision to motivate you. I want to talk about another good reason to have a clear vision for yourself.

(Note I tend to use the word vision – if you don’t like this word or it doesn’t resonate with you please substitute whichever of the following you prefer:  goal, dream, outcome, mission, objective, desire, aim, target, intention, destination.)

Our subconscious or unconscious mind uses metaphors (symbols, pictures, concepts) to make sense of the world and to shape our thoughts and actions. When we think of something we ‘see’ a representation of it in some way.

This is really important to understand when we are trying to make a vision our reality, or achieve goals. I’m going to use examples of probably the two most common goals in the western world – dieting and quitting smoking so most of us can relate directly!

Apart from the addiction factor – which is not my area of expertise – one of the reasons these goals are so insanely difficult to achieve is the way we talk to ourselves in our efforts to eat less or quit smoking. This is an area where we have a lot of untapped power to change our behaviour.

When we say to our self ‘I must not eat that cake’ we create a picture or metaphor of the food in our subconscious. Our subconscious just ‘sees’ cake. Your subconscious doesn’t know you are trying not to do it – it keeps ‘seeing’ cake until you can think of nothing else. This will almost inevitably lead to eating cake as the craving grows and blocks out all other thoughts. It’s exactly the same with cigarettes, pretty shortly after you decide you’ve had your last ever cigarette, everything begins to remind you of cigarettes and the more you say to yourself ‘I must not smoke’ the more conscious you are of the idea of a cigarette. Eventually you can’t think about anything else until you find yourself crouched over the outdoor ashtray of your local pub trying to find the biggest fag end. (No I’ve never done that…) You then feel guilty,and you beat yourself up for being ‘weak’. This leads to comforting yourself with more cake/cigarettes and you have the perfect cycle of pain.

The only way to get rid of unwanted persistent thoughts is to replace them . The most effective way to do this is to replace them with the idea of what you do want. What you want instead. So the minute you think ‘cake’, replace this idea by imagining yourself slim and smiling and focus on that. Sticking an actual picture of this on the fridge is even more helpful. If the problem is cigarettes, imagine yourself taking a deep breath of fresh air and feeling fabulous and say to yourself ‘I want to be that person!’. These are my words and pictures, it is important that you use your words and images or metaphors as they will work far better for you than anyone else’s.

The point is to focus your mind, consciously and subconsciously on what you want. Not on what you don’t want.

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