Changing lives with the power of words

Recommendations For Effective New Year Resolutions


On New Year’s Eve of 2015, I took the time to reflect on the past and write out my goals and resolutions for the year ahead. If you haven’t done this yet, I highly recommend it!

Last year was one of renewal, inspiration, and clarity for me.  The year before was one of tests and trials.  I dealt with some kind of emergency or major challenge in every area of my life, at least once a month in 2014.  There was my diagnostic and treatment process of suspected lyme disease, a major break up, two car accidents (rear ended in April and t-boned in October), moving to a different apartment and office, all while working a full time private hypnotherapy practice – just to name a few.  I’m pretty sure if I had consulted some kind of a legit psychic or astrologer (if such exist) in 2013 about my fortune in the upcoming year, I probably would have gotten a horrified look and a shout of “RUUUUN!!!”- that’s how bad it was.  The planets must not have been aligned in my favor.

In the first half of 2015, I was in recovery mode; the second half, I explored and felt renewed drive and vision for my life.  I took a self development workshop, got a new Naturopath, hired a life and business coach, a personal trainer, as well as reading a lot of highly impactful books to help me make this much needed shift.  

The number one most highly valuable book I read in 2015, the book I credit for getting me back on track and into a good state of flow is – The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines Into Massive Success and Happiness by Jeff Olson. I cannot recommend it highly enough!  It’s a book that I’d recommend for every adult on the planet.  I also wish it was required reading for preteens; that’s how valuable I think it is.  I included an animated book review (4:43 in length) at the top of this post so you could get a sense of it, though I highly recommend reading the whole book thoroughly.  It’s definitely worth the  $15 investment!

What I like about the book is how clearly and thoroughly it drove home a mindset and strategy I am in the business of helping my clients adopt.  That is, to make the decisions and habits that are going to serve you not just now, but later as well!  Being able to bridge the gap of thinking between the instant gratification, least amount of effort, primal parts of the brain, to the higher thinking, logical, discerning part of yourself that can imagine consequences.  Everyday I am persuading others to automatically act on the idea of “Which choice will still be a good idea after I’ve done it?  Thirty minutes from now, tomorrow, next year, will I still feel like it was a good decision?

What the book really helped me with, personally, was to make peace with the fact, and trust in the age old strategy, that every step counts.  Baby steps count- they all add up!  Realizing that in order to achieve big goals and major shifts in your life, having a vision for every area of your life –specific goals that can be broken down into bite sized pieces — and consistent daily actions are key to making them your reality.  Patience has never been my best virtue, so this really inspired me to commit my biggest dreams to action plans, no matter how far off they may seem, instead of having them remain vague hopes or wishes for the future.  It’s seven days into the new year, and I’ve already seen significant steps towards my goals being achieved in each major area of my life.  Heck, yesterday I was contacted by an NPR affiliate radio station out of the blue to be interviewed about my personal story of how hypnotherapy helped me, which I shared in my TEDx talk, and how I help others with it now having become a practitioner.  That might be totally unrelated to the shifts I made, or it could be one of those interesting returns from putting myself into action (dooDOOdooDOOdooDOOdooDOO- insert Twilight Zone theme music here).

If you’re looking to make real changes this year, if you’re someone who has ever suffered from all or nothing, perfectionism, option overwhelm, FOMO (fear of missing out), procrastination, so called “self sabotage”, or a lack of direction or motivation, please read The Slight Edge and think about getting additional help if need be to put the principles Jeff Olson talks about into action

As a hypnotherapist, I often get many people looking to hire me to provide a “magic pill” solution, even if it is an all natural way to go about a quick fix.  Sometimes it certainly does seem to work that way.  I’ve been honored to see clients achieve results they never thought possible. My experience and dramatic results that led me to the profession is a good example of how the process can seemingly work wonders sometimes.  And of course, I can’t blame anyone for assuming such a thing with all the myths and misconceptions about hypnosis…stage entertainment, media portrayals of people going into zombie-like or brain washable states from the simple snap of a hypnotist’s fingers or a look into their eyes.  Then there’s the being easily commanded to do or think anything the hypnotist suggests depictions which are all too common.

So, it’s no wonder the amount of consultations I’ve had with people looking to lose weight or stop smoking, that actually have no desire to change their behavior or put any effort into the process, simply wanting the results of better health…like their body will somehow suddenly lose weight without having to make a single adjustment in their lifestyle.  Using hypnosis or Neuro Linguistic Programming to help someone shift a nearly lifelong love of junk food, alcohol, or cigarettes combined with a hatred of exercise, water, and vegetables to a healthier lifestyle is absolutely possible!  What it’s important to note, however, is that hypnosis and Neuro Linguistic Programming are tools to make adjustments in a person’s attitude, associations, and conditioned responses.  Their effectiveness is based on the participant’s own desire and willingness to adopt the behaviors necessary for their desired results.

A competent change worker should be skilled in the art of persuasion and negotiating healthier strategies between a person’s subconscious, conflicting aspects of personality, or competing needs.  AND, there have been times where I have asked a potential client, “If I could offer you an easy “magic button” to press in order to get to your ideal weight or health, and to keep it for life, while at the same time having your vice (cigarettes, cupcakes, etc.) disappear off the face of the earth forever – would you press it?”  I’ve had clients say no. They wouldn’t even press a magic button?!!!  That’s how bad the attachment or unwillingness to making a change can be!

In general, if a person wants to achieve a goal, to make a big transition, or needs clarity, consulting an external guide to put them on the right track is often a good choice.  This is where coaching comes in.  It’s when a person is looking to overcome or improve some bodily process issue (like pain or a skin condition), or to replace unwanted habits for healthier and more beneficial behaviors, that they look into hypnosis.  If a behavior feels stuck, no matter how much a person may decide, wish, or will it to stop, and yet their struggle persists- that’s when a person finds their way to a hypnotherapist or Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner.  People bring their laptops to technicians or their cars to mechanics, so why shouldn’t you bring your brain in for a tune-up or a metaphorical oil change?

I help people achieve these tune-ups and reach their desired outcomes by effectively assisting them through what I affectionately call,“The 4 Hoops.”  You have to pass through these hoops in order for your mind to take the action of moving towards a goal or a new behavior.  I recommend answering these questions, in addition to using a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) goals system for your new year resolutions:

  1. What do I (not anyone else) really want to happen?  It’s much easier to hit a target you know of and can see.  This is perhaps the number one rule of success according to studies on goal achievement. The clearer and more real a vision the person has of the goal they want to achieve, the greater the chance they have of achieving it.
  2. Does it seem safe?  Desirable?  Worthwhile?  Beneficial?  Pleasurable? Figuring out how to make it seem more pleasurable or rewarding along the way works like a charm.
  3. Do I believe it to be possible?  If it is possible in the realm of physics, then it should be possible for you.  If it doesn’t seem like it’s possible for you, even if it should be possible considering the laws of reality, it’s a sure indicator you either have no idea how to really do it, there are limiting beliefs, or imprinting (modeling of a behavior or attitude that rubbed off on you probably during your most formative years) that needs to be addressed in order for you to get started.
  4. Do I know how to do it? Last but not least, you need the practical know how and skills to take the steps you need, or to learn the mindset and behavior, to adopt that will allow you to get the results you want.  The willingness and persistence to figure it out will certainly make it happen.

If achieving goals, change, and sticking with resolutions is something that you want to pursue beyond this post, I assist a person through these within a session or over a course of sessions.  On January 30th, I will be giving a workshop in Seattle with group exercises to help us cover these bases, as well as, incorporating the SMART goals system.  Attendees will get clear and effective goals for 2016!  If you want to join in on the fun, you can sign up and invite others to the workshop by clicking here or by visiting the Facebook Setting & Achieving Goals Workshop Event page.  I really do hope you can make it, and look forward to seeing you there!
Written by Kristin Rivas.


Kristin Rivas is a Hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner working with clients in the Seattle area. She also offers Skype/FaceTime sessions for those who are not local or are otherwise unable to come to the office in person. If you would like to book an appointment or simply contact her for further information, please don’t hesitate! She looks forward to connecting with you and helping you become the strong, powerful, and grounded person you truly are.

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  1. Clark Rivas says:

    Thank you for putting a clear and concise approach to goalsetting and self-improvement out there for all of us to see. Thank you for your transparency and honesty! You set a terrific example and standard to reach for as I make positive changes this coming year in my own life!