Is it a coincidence that the most common phrase one hears in the days leading up to January 1st is usually “my New Year’s resolution is…” whereas the most common phrase one hears in the days leading up to February 1st usually goes along the lines of “well, I wanted to, but…” followed by a sigh of regret?

Why do we do this to ourselves? When that calendar date rolls over to a new number, we often decide that it’s a good time to roll our lives over a bit, too. In fact, this can be one of the worst times to try and effect change in your habits. A study by Virgin Mobile Canada from 2011 indicated that while only a little more than half of Canadians make new year resolutions, only about half of those who do wind up keeping them for more than a month. More than a third of us won’t even keep them past the first week!

One reason for these low numbers is the pressure we put on ourselves to adhere to these promises, often made in haste and in the moment, to change patterns of behaviour that are years, even decades in the making. Another is that, like so many other things in life, we have difficulty doing this alone.

A quick search online reveals many articles and lists that offer tips to help keep our resolutions. One common piece of advice is to enlist help or support in your goal. This can mean family or friends, but can just as easily refer to anyone who helps to keep you accountable, grounded, and comfortable with your choices and direction. At Morpheus, we believe that hypnosis can be a deciding factor in the tough battle to keep your promises. Access to a hypnotist’s expertise and the relaxing, safe environment can help retain focus on your goals that prove so easy to break without that additional reinforcement.

Of course, one of the most common resolutions many people make (or break) this time of year is to quit smoking. Our founder, Luke Chao, was able to describe some of the more relevant and interesting points with regards to smoking cessation hypnosis:

Q: So when people try to quit smoking and can’t, or keep backsliding, what can hypnosis offer to help keep them on track?

A: There are several things we can do using hypnosis.

First, we can change mindset. We can help give more motivation to quit and confidence that our clients can do it. Second, we use a technique called ‘parts therapy,’ in which we find the part of the client that wants to quit, and we strengthen it in contrast to any other parts of them that don’t. Finally, we might change associations between smoking and pleasure, so that smoking becomes linked with disgust instead. For many people, this was their instinctual reaction the first time they smoked a cigarette, and we might seek to bring it back.

In addition to these steps, we might teach the client self-hypnosis, so that a five-minute self-hypnosis break to strengthen willpower becomes a substitute for smoking when they feel a craving.

Q: What would you say are the primary ingredients to quitting smoking with the assistance of smoking cessation hypnosis?

A: There’s no substitute for the client’s desire to quit. If they actually enjoy smoking, I wonder why I would want to take away something that they enjoy. But if they hate the control that smoking holds over their lives, we have something to work with.
High hypnotizability affects results, too. Ideally, we want the client to relive their first cigarette (if it was a bad experience, that is) and that only happens with somebody who’s deeply hypnotized, either because they’re naturally hypnotizable or because we spent the time getting them there.

Q: What are the hardest hurdles one typically encounters when quitting smoking, and how can smoking cessation hypnosis assist with these in particular?

A: Dealing with cravings and withdrawal symptoms is the hardest part. In order for the client to get through the cravings and withdrawal period, their desire to be a non-smoker must be stronger than their desire to smoke. We can help to build up their desire to be a non-smoker.

Q: Many smokers will return to their habit some time after quitting, even months or years later. How long-term are the benefits of smoking cessation hypnosis?

A: One innovative way we have to help establish long-term benefits of smoking cessation therapy is through our Smoking Package. It’s the same price as our five-session package ($595.00), but with an important difference.

This package functions as a flat fee- meaning that the client can return for as many or as few sessions as they require over the course of one year as they make the transition from ‘smoker’ to ‘non-smoker.’ As you said, many smokers encounter setbacks during this process, and a program like ours means we can help them become non-smokers without hurting their wallets if they need to return weeks, or even months after their first sessions with us. After all, the most important thing is that we’re here to help.

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