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Language and Health

Wording Your Health Goals – and Your Outcomes

Article published in the Tone Magazine

If you had a magic wand, and knew that anything and everything is possible for you now; and if you waved the wand in the air, and “pouf!” any healing wish is granted to you, what would you have happen for you? Describe to me the change you seek, as if it’s done now!

 This is what most of my clients hear during a first appointment. One lady told me, “I want to be healthier”. Healthier than what? And when you’re healthier, how will you know you’ve reached your health goal? And when you have achieved your goal, then what?

 If you find yourself going around in circles with your health, it is perhaps time to place some road signs on your path. Your inner dialogue is heard by your unconscious mind, who says “Your wish is my command!” All that your unconscious needs you to do is give it clear instructions that it can follow. Let’s get focused – focused thoughts and words bring about focused results – and let’s get clear!

 1 – Express yourself in absolute terms (fully, totally, completely, 100%) when setting a general goal for your health and wellness. If on a scale of 1 to 10, your health is now a 5, “healthier” can be as little as 5.2 and you want a full 10, don’t you?

 2 – Say what you want, not what you don’t want. In other words, make the goal something you move towards, rather than something you move away from. Imagine the captain of the ship starting up the engines, then telling the crew: I’ve got enough of this port; I don’t want to be here anymore. And I don’t want to be headed towards New York either. Nope. And I don’t want to sail to Shanghai, nor to Tokyo. How will the crew know which direction to steer the ship? Good luck!

 Of course, you can start from what upsets you (the pain in the lower back, the stiffness in the joints, the shallow breath, the extraneous body weight, or the difficulty concentrating). Then, build your goal as the positive opposite of the distressful situation. State your goal as a positive, present-tense statement, which will sound like: “My joints are strong and flexible”; “My lower back feels peaceful”; “My back is aligned”; “I concentrate with ease”. Once you are formulating and verbalizing your goal, stick to the positive! At times, I hear a client verbalizing a goal, and in the middle of the sentence, going back to the undesired situation. For example: “My goal is to feel respected and supported in relationships, because every time I speak with my cousin-in-law, he calls me ugly witch and this all started when I was fifteen…” Poor unconscious! Such mixed messages, it ends up all confused!

 3 – Speak in specific, measurable and observable terms. Your unconscious doesn’t understand abstract notions. “I want my health to reflect my divinity” sounds wonderful. It just won’t make a change to your unconscious. Your unconscious understands words such as “strong”, “flexible”, “breathing with ease at full lungs capacity”, “stable blood sugar levels”, “smooth, elastic skin”, “strong, glossy hair”; and numbers: “blood pressure between X and Y”; “blood sugar between X and Y”; “dress size 12”.

 4 – Get clear on the road signs. When you have an abstract goal that makes sense to your conscious mind, please be nice to your unconscious, and give it some road signs. For instance, if your goal is to be joyful, ask yourself, how do you know that you are joyful? What measurable, observable things occur when you are joyful? Perhaps you laugh often, dance with no reason, wake up with a smile on your face, stretching. Personally, I have this image of “joyful”: I am jumping up and down and making pirouettes.  When I am joyful, this is what I actually do! Your goal is to be fit? Good! What is “fit” to you? Fit means, for some, climbing the stairs to the fifth floor with normal breath, and to others, climbing Kilimanjaro. Want to be flexible? How will you know you are flexible? I know I can call myself flexible when I can be in a specific yoga posture easily, without props, face muscles relaxed, and smiling.

 A reason for establishing your road signs is so that you can recognize them when you’re there. How do you know you’ve achieved your goal? You’re breathing deeply, shopping for a brand-new size 12 dress, and jumping up and down in front of an astonished store staff. Then you realize that this is it, you’ve achieved your goal. This leads us to…

 5 – Acknowledge and celebrate your success! Success builds on success; it’s the snow ball effect. Every little step achieved on your personal goal needs to be acknowledged. Say to yourself something of the effect: “Yes! I’ve done it!”, or “I am so powerful, look what I’ve achieved”. Pat yourself on the shoulder. Share your success with others, and focus your wording solely on the success. Too often I hear “yeah, but…” which tells your unconscious “we’re no good, we’re failing”. Think of this: when you were a little boy and started walking, you walked a few steps, then fell; then you walked some more, and fell. Your parents were exhilarated. What do you think they rushed to tell the neighbours? “Our son fell three times today”? No way! They certainly beamed and said: “Our little boy walks!!!”. Speak of what has changed, what works better, where you have succeeded. Last week you woke up three times with a smile on your face and stretching happily? Good! Speak of those three days only! You reduced your dress size from a 20 to 16 on the way down to 12? Great! Have a party now and wear a size 16 stunning outfit. Celebrating your outcomes is the most powerful message you can send your unconscious for doing a great job, and keeping up the good work. Celebrating also tells your unconscious that it pays to change, so it will gladly continue.

 Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have accomplished the goal of completing this article for you, so I’m heading to the living room for some pirouettes and some jumping up and down to Celtic music…Perhaps you’ll join me!

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