How to Use Motivational NLP While Exercising

Here are a few notes on using NLP to help with motivation in your daily exercise. I have been employing these concepts to keep my daily routine in place and I'm getting great results. Sorry it's not a very systematic, coherent article but it's meant to get my thoughts documented for further refinement later.

The old saying, "keep your eyes on the prize" holds true. With proper well-formed outcomes, it's hard not to exercise regularly because you'll always be able to see, hear, and feel the benefits of a healthy body. Build up that desired target state where you feel great because you're in such good shape, and then anchor a particular warm-up exercise to that state. Then use that warmup each time you exercise to "get your glow on" and fly through whatever exercise time will allow.

I suspect that a lot of chi kung (qigong) and yoga might work like this. Once you have efficient, well-refined biomechanics going on, your nervous system seems to recognize the physical benefits on an unconscious level and it keeps you going, perhaps even propelling you into mild euphoric states which are then anchored to and reinforced by the postures you're using.

Most people familiar with NLP and hypnosis will already have some simple trigger for the "motivated" state, since myriad techniques abound in virtually every book on the subject, even on TV... check out "I Can Make You Thin" sometime. If you encounter sluggishness or resistance once you've already begun your routine, or you're on a treadmill and don't want to stop and go back to your motivational warmup, just fire off your tried and true anchor from when you first started learning NLP techniques.

Another thought- if you're exercising by yourself, it's a great time to tune in to your self-talk. Either silence or make any desired changes to your internal dialogue while exercising. I remember a few times during Aikido training that the training was so demanding of my attention that the dialogue just shut off and great clarity of mind came about. Those moments were fleeting, but they provide reference resources that I can access in other situations. So use your solo exercise as a time to establish all kinds of internal states which you can access more easily at other times.

Posted by Steve in Motivation, NLP, NLP / Hypnosis | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lent : Religious or Not, It Pays to Check In Every Now and Then

Tomorrow begins the season of Lent for many Christian churches. Traditionally this is a time leading up to Easter in which the observer will take special effort towards self-examination, in particular by "giving something up for Lent".  Growing up in a tradition that did not practice Lent, I did not understand why anybody had to give anything up. It just didn't make sense - giving something up doesn't make you an intrinsically better person, so why bother?

But upon closer examination, Lent is not some kind of magical practice that makes better people, or makes people worthy of heaven, or whatever. It's a 40-day period of focus on our lives placed in wider, cosmic context. And whether you're religious or not, a 40-day period of intense reflection, seeing what you can do without (use it as a time to defeat bad habits, excesses, or even addictions) will probably yield great benefits.

Aggressive Optimism maintains that peak performance comes when you frame your day-to-day life in a wider context, a greater meaning. Human life has a cyclic nature: night and day, rest and activity, accumulation and release - and one way to embrace these principles of context and cycle is to follow a religious calendar. I'm not sure what John Grinder would say about this case specifically, but Turtles All the Way Down talks about coherent culture and my thinking springs from that concept. Lent provides a yearly cycle whereby those who observe the Christian holidays can re-center their lives and let go of anything accumulated that they don't need.

To adopt a 40-day discipline of some sort can help clear your mind... perhaps you'll make a 40-day commitment to meditate every day, or to pray more deeply, or to clean out your diet.  Non-Christians need not call it "Lent", and they can undertake it any time of year they choose, but I would resist the temptation to round the number of days, as that can lead to boxing it off as "that thing I did that one month". Make it an odd number so it gets loose from the regular calendar and you can avoid compartmentalizing it too much.

Another temptation is to extend your practice all year long, which depending on the practice might be a great thing, but good dividends come from the yearly checking-in itself so no matter what you keep for year-long routine, be sure to always check back on a regular basis.

To those who wish to join in Lent this year, it's never too late and there are so many resources online with suggestions for a practice that I'll refrain from making any suggestions. Google and Yahoo are your friends.

Posted by Steve in NLP, Peak Performance, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

NLP Tips by Jamie Smart, back online!

I'm happy to report that Jamie Smart, of Salad ltd. in the UK, has begun posting his NLP tips online again. He had been sending them out only over email recently, without an online archive. I've added some of those email-only newsletters to this site because they had such great content (and he gives permission at the end of the emails).

Now, you can head over to his site and read them online. I encourage you to do so, this is a very valuable resource.


I own a copy of his 6-CD set, NLP for Business and Personal Success, and highly recommend that as well.


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Hypnosis Christmas Wishlist 2005

Since it's three days until Christmas, this is really more of a wishlist for 2006, but here it goes anyway, in no particular order:

  1. Richard Bandler's new time distortion DVD
  2. The Complete Works of Milton Erickson
  • A Pzizz machine
  • Conversations with Milton H. Erickson, Volume II: Changing Couples
  • Taproots: Underlying Principles of Milton Erickson's Therapy and Hypnosis
  • Just a few things off the top of my head. I had considered the Journey to Wild Divine biofeedback game but it has mixed reviews on Amazon. I'd like to get a peek at it sometime, though.

    Have a blessed Christmas!

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    Arguing Couples Heal More Slowly?

    From Good Morning America: Couples that are quarreling have lowered levels of a protein that is vital to wound healing. Local levels of cytokines, which systemically are not so desirable for a long time period but are helpful in kicking off the wound healing process, were found to drop after couples in a study had a tiff.

    The article contains a quote which seems to lend credence to the NLP presupposition that the mind and body are part of one system:

    "The authors said there is already a sizable body of research showing that marital disagreement causes adverse health impacts ranging from high blood pressure and depression to the ability to cope with heart disease and heart failure."

    The study of 42 couples, held  at Ohio State University, revealed an astounding 40% decrease in the rate of healing after the couples had an argument! This does not seem to be the subtle effect we might first imagine but more of a dramatic one.

    Nobody wants to get into arguments in the first place, but I feel even more motivated now than ever to make sure my resourceful/flexible state anchors are firmly in place. I find a little flexibility goes a long way to diffuse or prevent arguments (really just another communication scenario in my book) and some of Richard Bandler's tapes help with this a lot.

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    Hypnotic Language Pattern: Implication

    Steve Andreas' web site is a gold mine of material that he has written over many years. Today we'll take a look at the Verbal Implication language pattern which he discusses as an overlooked pattern employed frequently by Milton Erickson. Verbal implication is a language pattern that is quite distinct from presupposition, in that a presupposition can be spotted by negating a statement and noticing what's still true, while implication cannot be detected definitively through verbal content alone.

    According to Andreas, the usage of the verbal implication language pattern is dependant upon meanings and associations completly within the minds of the listener. As an example: "It's not easy learning language patterns completely by yourself" may carry the implied message that it's easy to learn hypnotic language patterns with other people.

    To generate implications, Andreas proposes this algorithm: Create Outcome, Generate Opposite of Outcome, Divide World into Two Opposing Contexts, and finally Create Sentence by Applying Opposite Outcome to Worldly Context that is Not Present.

    Read the full article at Steve Andreas' web site, and browse around to learn more quality information from one of the early players in NLP history.

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    Doug O'Brien Interviews David Gordon about the early days of NLP

    Doug O'Brien has posted the first part of an interview with David Gordon on the early days of NLP. David Gordon got started with NLP before it was even NLP- he had attended Richard Bandler's Gestalt therapy group. The interview was cut short due to technical difficulties, so we'll look forward to the future additions to the site. One choice quote explains the heart of NLP:

    ...it's really hard for me to say exactly when the notion of modeling, explicit notion of modeling, kind of came to the surface. I don't really know when I would say that happened. But, I can tell you, in those early days, it was certainly, nothing that was ever talked about or recognized explicitly, at least by any of us participating. But, we certainly, were doing that, we were doing it in an informal way, but we were certainly doing it. We were trying to figure out, you know, what's the structure?

    That's what NLP is about, what's the structure of experience here? And, we were trying to figure out what is the structure here and how could we describe it? And, that is the enterprise of modeling.

    Read the complete first part of the interview over at Doug O'Brien's Ericksonian Info site.

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    John Grinder Closing Web Forum

    Sadly, the day has come when NLP co-developer John Grinder has decided to shut down the forums at his web site, www.nlpwhisperinginthewind.com. The site was primarily put up to promote his book, Whispering in the Wind (which I highly recommend) and includes some highly informative articles as well as a web forum to encourage discussion of the book.

    The book itself invites the reader to continue researching NLP modeling and encourages rigorous, critical thinking in this pusuit. NLP seems to need an infusion of critical thinking nowadays - with so much emphasis placed on marketing and re-marketing of the original verbal patterns the core disciplines of NLP in modeling human excellence are fading away. As Dr. Grinder points out, so much of the modeling work we do see today is more analytical modeling than NLP modeling.

    Although the discussion will likely be carried on at Michael Carroll's web site, the Whispering in the Wind forum will be a sorely missed bookmark in my list. Let's hope that the future incarnation will have the same dialog (which had its ups and downs but on a whole was very stimulating) with perhaps a more usable interface.

    UPDATE: I've visited the new forum site and found some activity there already. I'm pleased to see that the board uses PHPbb, which, while not highly available to search engines, is a great forum package. The discussion of NLP is off to a very promising start, so head on over and jump in the discussion. Be sure to check out the John Grinder / Carmen Bostic St. Clair article "A Proposed Distinction for Neuro Linguistic Programming"

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