Discovering the More Healthy You with Neuro-linguistic Programming

By Romilla Ready, Kate Burton

Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) can help you achieve a more healthy, less stressful lifestyle. If you lead a busy life, constrained by commitments and deadlines, finding time to do the ‘important but less urgent’ things can be difficult. Financial planning, house renovation, and meeting up with old friends can all be put on the back burner.

And when it comes to health, you may have joined the gym, signed up for that online wonder diet regime, and invested in the latest running shoes — but that longed-for change just isn’t happening.

Can Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) help you achieve that desired change? Yes — in three ways: identifying what you want; finding someone who’s done it before and dividing the task into smaller steps:

  • Focusing on what you want: NLP calls your goals ‘well-formed outcomes,’ and you first need to engage all your senses to notice what the desired change will look, feel, sound, taste and smell like. With these details fixed in your unconscious mind, you’ll be working towards something positive that you do want rather than trying to get away from something negative. The healthy unconscious mind thrives on positive thinking.

  • Finding a role model: NLP took shape by modelling experts in their field and hanging out with them. If you want to be healthier in some way, you may need to choose your friends carefully. Or at least duck out of sharing in their less than healthy habits. When everyone else is out for another lengthy and unhealthy lunch, consider just dropping in for a cup of tea.

  • Breaking the change into manageable steps: Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will you be two stone lighter or running a marathon overnight. Setting yourself unrealistic goals is counter-productive. Even if you crash diet, the weight will eventually go back on as you become bored.

    However, taking things day by day and week by week is a much more achievable and motivational approach. NLP calls dividing a goal into smaller and more manageable tasks ‘chunking’. Thus, you can chunk down from your big outcome — ‘I want to be fit and healthy’ — to ‘I’m going to have a fit and healthy day today’ or ‘I’ll lose 2lb a week for as long as it takes’ or ‘I’ll go for a brisk walk every Thursday evening’. Gradually, you will become fitter and healthier!

Above all, in making any change, remember to be kind to yourself.