A Simple Technique to Help You Achieve Your Personal Growth Goals

Relaxed older adult with short gray hair sits on porch, leaning back, with eyes closedThis article presents a technique you can use to help achieve personal growth goals. With this method, you can learn to relax, enter an altered state of awareness, and use contemplation and self-suggestion to help achieve your goals.

What kinds of goals are we talking about here? Examples may include cultivating a healthier lifestyle; improving sleep quality, diet, exercise, and hydration; increasing self-confidence; enhancing sports performance; and improving communication and relationships.

There are four simple steps in this process:

  1. Sit or lie down. Allow yourself to feel safe, relaxed, and comfortable.
  2. Count down from 5 to 1. Deepen your relaxation and enter an altered state of awareness.
  3. Use the 3-Screens technique to relax even more. Contemplate and imagine having already achieved your goals.
  4. Return to your normal, alert, everyday waking awareness.

Begin by listing three mental images that represent having achieved your goal. Each image or “mental movie scene” should clearly communicate your achievement. For instance, if your goal is to reach a certain body weight, you would choose images that depict this. Make sure each example is something positive and constructive to you—something you want to happen that makes you feel good. Each should reflect a scene as if it is happening now (not in the future). Using the example of a weight goal, you might select scenes such as:

  • Stand on a scale. Feel your feet in contact with the scale. Hear any sound that standing on the scale might produce. Look down at the numbers. Feel good about the numbers you see.
  • Notice your reflection in a mirror and feel good about what you see.
  • Put on a pair of pants and feel good about how comfortable they feel.

Convince yourself that each scene you select communicates the concept of having achieved whatever your goal may be.

Begin to practice and learn each of the four steps, which are covered in greater depth below. Many people find 10 to 12 practice repetitions of each step is sufficient for memorization. It’s helpful to memorize each step before moving to the next.

Yes, this technique may seem complex at first. Be patient and take your time. It’s worth it. Why? Because you can use this technique for the rest of your life to achieve personal growth goals.

Step 1

Sit or lie down in a place where you can relax and feel safe. Say aloud, “I feel safe, relaxed, and comfortable.” Pause for about 10 seconds and then whisper, “I feel safe, relaxed, and comfortable.” Pause for a few more seconds, and then mentally affirm, “I feel safe, relaxed, and comfortable.” Have the intention that when you close your eyes, you will feel safe, relaxed, and in an altered state of awareness. Now, close your eyes, relax, and enter a peaceful, altered state of awareness.

Intend it. Imagine it. Pretend it. Feel it.

With your eyes closed, lightly touch the tip of your left index finger to the tip of your left thumb (this may help stimulate the right side of your brain) and then mentally repeat, “I feel safe, relaxed, and comfortable” 2-3 more times. Imagine you are saying this to yourself using a low, relaxed tone. Sit quietly for about 60-90 seconds (with an attitude of detached expectancy) and trust that your brain is adjusting its brainwaves to develop a state of awareness that makes it easier for you to learn, grow, and change.

Step 2

Remaining relaxed with eyes closed, gently focus your awareness around your heart area (just think of it, imagine it, sense it). Slowly, mentally count backward from 5-1. Think to yourself, “As I count down from 5 to 1, I deepen my altered state.”

Yes, this technique may seem complex at first. Be patient and take your time. It’s worth it. Why? Because you can use this technique for the rest of your life to achieve personal growth goals.

Notice that with each number you count, you feel more safe, relaxed, and in an altered state of awareness. Complete one normal breath for each number you count. Do not try to manipulate your breathing. Let it be natural and easy. As you inhale, visualize the number 5 in front of you. It might be floating before your eyes, written on a blackboard, or in any other form that works for you. And as you exhale, think the word “calm.” Do this with each number.

Use the 3-Screens technique to deepen your altered state. Keeping your head physically still and pointing straight ahead, gently shift your gaze slightly to your right and imagine seeing the number 3 there. With attention on the right side of your mental visual field, slowly and mentally repeat “3 … 3 … 3.” Pause. With head remaining still, shift eyes back to the middle of your visual field (straight in front of you). See the number 2 there. Slowly and mentally repeat “2 … 2 … 2.” Pause. With head physically still, shift eyes gently to the left side of your visual field and see the number 1 there. Slowly, mentally repeat “1 … 1 … 1.” Now rest in a deeply altered state.

After 30-60 seconds, continue with step 3.

Step 3

Imagine having achieved your personal growth goals. Recall the three specific images/scenes you selected. Ponder and contemplate these images/scenes briefly. Spend just enough time to bring an image/scene to mind and to experience the good feelings associated with it.

Then, using your imagination, visualize a circle of light in front of you. Let this image represent the subconscious mind. Now, one by one, launch each of your three images into the circle of light. Imagine each image/scene disappears into the light. Know this is a special way of communicating with the subconscious mind what you desire to achieve. Trust this has occurred and will bear fruit in safe, appropriate ways.

Step 4

Mentally suggest that when you open your eyes in the next few seconds, you will feel awake, alert, fully conscious, in your normal, everyday state of awareness, and that every time you practice this technique, it becomes easier and easier to relax, go into an altered state, and achieve personal growth. Open your eyes and return to normal, wakeful, alert awareness.

Again, be patient with yourself as you learn this technique. You may prefer to record and listen to the instructions rather than memorize them. Whatever you decide, have faith that every time you practice, you will be that much closer to achieving your personal growth goals.

For guidance in developing other skills and techniques that can help you achieve your goals, contact a licensed therapist.

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The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • 2 comments
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  • Jack

    Jack

    May 31st, 2018 at 11:13 AM

    In theory I do think this exercise could be helpful, but I think it’s hard to actually practice it if you’re having to check the instructions or concentrate on something other than the visualization part. Still a great idea, just more complicated than maybe it sounds.

  • Timothy Storlie

    Timothy Storlie

    June 2nd, 2018 at 9:13 AM

    Jack – thanks for your feedback. Yes, I agree with you. This method can feel complex—at first. Most will need to read instructions 5-10 times, imagine yourself doing each several times, and practice. Good news is, once you learn this, its a skill you have for life. Hope this helps.

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