The Power of the Next Small Step

Clients and supervisees are often talking to me about the need to get things done. Getting started on that goal, big or small. Whether its clearing out the garage or starting a new career. What is it that seems to be holding us back. I’ll not get in to the neuroscience of why we might procrastinate here, but I will tell you about one of the most powerful tools I have learnt to help beat procrastination, at least some of the time.

Several years ago I was lucky enough to attend a CPD (Continual Professional Development) event at CPHT Bristol, where I trained to be a Hypnotherapist in the first place. The CPD was on Mindfulness and Acceptance Based Strategies. The highly respected lecturer, Matthew Dyson, asked the group the following question: “where do you get the motivation to get on the treadmill from?” The group gave several answers including: “by visualising yourself getting fitter”; “reminding yourself how good you feel when you are done”; “thinking about the guilt free glass of wine afterwards!” None of these were the answer he was looking for. As Matthew explained, “The truth is you get the motivation for getting on the treadmill when you get on the treadmill”!

The next small step

And it’s true of course, you get motivation to get up and do, when you get up and do.

Small steps make a difference.

Again I won’t go in to the details of the neuroscience behind that, but it does remind us of the importance of simply focusing on the next small step.

Let me give you an example. I am a regular gym goer. I enjoy being at the gym. Notice I write “I enjoy being at the gym”. I often don’t enjoy getting there. Getting myself changed, ready, in the car and down to the gym with the thought in my head that I am going to put my body through its paces is often very difficult.

More recently I have chosen to simply focus on the next small step to get me there.

First I might simply focus on the task of getting my trainers on. Then I focus on finding the car keys (why does that always take so long?). Then I focus on the job of getting in to the car. Throughout this whole process and on arrival I am telling myself: “just ten minutes and then you can go home, just ten minutes!” I stick out 5 minutes and then 10 and then, usually, the strangest thing has happened. Now I am warmed up, my heart is pumping, I am becoming less stiff and awkward, energy is returning, and the oxygen to my brain increases. I am building up momentum, I have got myself on the treadmill and that is where I find my motivation!

Now that I am there and have done my 10 minutes its rare I do less than 50, but my intention on arrival is always to do only 10.

The same principle can be applied to anything. We know the primitive brain can over-inflate the size of any task and underestimate our ability to achieve it. By focusing on that next small step with the understanding that we can stop and go home at any point we can gently steer ourselves more towards those activities which lead us to our goals and further from those that don’t. Just one small step!

Are you thinking of becoming a Hypnotherapist? Do you live in Northern Ireland and want to train in Belfast? I wonder if your next small step is simply to complete this application form: cphtbelfast.co.uk/application-form/… After all a “journey of a thousand miles starts with just one small step”- Lao Tzu.

A Graduate’s Story of Training with CPHT

This is a lovely story from a CPHT Graduate, Michèle Lazarus:

Having had hypnotherapy for insomnia, I decided to train at the Clifton Practice Hypnotherapy Training school (CPHT) as a hypnotherapist myself. That was three years ago and now I’m working pretty much full time in three different locations and loving it.

I chose CPHT because of its solution focused methodology. Its no nonsense, positive, goal oriented approach works time and again to help clients with an amazing range of issues. There’s nothing more exciting than facilitating clients in their journey towards making their lives happier and more fulfilling.

 

The training was interesting, informative and fun, and of course challenging at times.  We all looked forward to each weekend coming round in the month and missed it hugely once we’d qualified. Fortunately there’s a variety of Continual Professional Development workshops on offer from CPHT, so we continue to develop our knowledge and skills.

 

One of the best aspects of the training was its emphasis on practising with clients from the off. This was an incredibly helpful way of building our confidence, so the transition between being a student and a qualified practitioner felt relatively easy as we already had a substantial number of practice hours under our belt.

 

Three years on, I’m still on a learning curve so it’s never boring and I can honestly say there’s never a day goes past when I don’t  appreciate my luck to have found such a rewarding occupation.

 

Michèle Lazarus

The beginnings of a Hypnotherapy career

When I first signed up to the Clifton Practice Hypnotherapy Training (CPHT) course back in 2007 to start my hypnotherapy career, I had no idea where it would lead.  I can remember that very first day when we had to stand up and introduce ourselves.  The first persoNicola Griffithsn was a 6′ plus giant who advised us he was going through medical school to become a doctor, the second person was a psychiatric nurse, I was the third and by this time I was seriously beginning to wonder if I was on the wrong course? Maybe it was designed purely for the medical profession and I’d slipped through the loop?  So with wobbly knees I stood up and introduced myself and the fact that I was a marketing manager! Imagine my relief when the next person said she was a policewoman, the next a journalist and the following a housewife, and so it went on.

Eight years later, I run my own Hypnotherapy & Health Centre in Cirencester, I’m a part-time hypnotherapist and part-time lecturer and part-time supervisor – add all those together and that’s a very full-time job!

This career has brought me in a very good income, plus I’ve met some amazing people and most importantly of all, I’ve helped a lot of people sort their lives out.  I never know what problem a client will walk through the door with next: self-confidence issues; Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS); anxiety; panic attacks or phobias, etc, the list is very long!  Yet as a properly and highly trained Clinical Hypnotherapist, I’m confident I can help with the vast majority of my clients.

At CPHT Belfast, we train our students to become proficient in their skills right from the off.  Within days of starting the 10-month diploma course, we’re encouraging them to work with family and friends using guided visualisation techniques.  As the months go by, the students widen the parameters they are working within to help with fears and phobias and then anxiety related issues.  By the time they graduate we expect them to be established in their new practice and seeing clients regularly each week.

As the students get up and running through the course, they bring in their queries so the whole group learns from the questions raised, thereby expanding their knowledge rapidly.

In addition to all this, both Alex and myself are experienced marketing professionals.  We know the benefits of marketing a practice successfully in order to obtain clients.  There is a module on the course dedicated to this alone!

Once graduated, we then provide ongoing supervision.  This is a requirement of the Professional Associations’ Code of Ethics.  It also allows the qualified therapist to continue increasing their knowledge; to deal with more complicated issues; to encourage support from other supervisees and to have fun.  After all, learning becomes much easier when you’re having fun and that’s why we encourage laughter during our courses and the supervision thereafter!

Back in 2007 I started out with very tentative steps not having a clue whether or not I was doing the right thing.  I knew nothing about hypnotherapy yet within days I knew I’d come across something very special.  Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith.  When it works out you never look back!