Re-programming yourself for better life performance-using techniques that champion athletes use

0.0 Introduction
0.22 New Behaviour Generation (NBG)
1.15 What you can use NBG for
1.36 The stages in the process
5.40 The Future Pacing aspect of the technique

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Hi, Alan Patching here with another edition of Transforming Minds, and this time we are going to be responding to a question.

I’ve had several questions from people asking about how athletes re-program themselves to do better, and I mentioned about how we can use it in therapy as well.

Well, the technique is generally called New Behaviour Generation, and it works on the principle, as I mentioned in a previous blog, that the mind really can’t tell the difference between reality and vivid imagination. So, provided we imagine something clearly in positive terms and there’s no threat associated with what we are trying to replace; in other words, if the brain says, ‘well, this new programming you are giving me, it seems safe enough compared to what I am currently doing’, it will simply allow you to replace it with this new imagined process which will become part of reality. And the Olympic athletes have known that for ages.

Now it will not allow you to do something that’s dangerous and outside your capability, and if the brain thinks there’s a threat associated, or the threat remains with this new behaviour,it won’t allow you to change behaviour. So there’s a limit on where it can be applied. But for things like cutting down on drinking, changing attitude, responding more slowly in terms of becoming angry … and things like that, it can be a useful therapeutic technique to use in association with other therapies.

And it’s pretty easily done, but normally best done with the help of a therapist.

The steps are as follows:

  1. Relax yourself as much as you possibly can. Listen to a relaxation tape, use progressive muscle relaxation or whatever; self-hypnosis is great if you know how to do it.
  2. Secondly, imagine yourself sitting in a theatre, with the screen up in front and you creating a movie, you are the only person in the theatre
  3. Thirdly, choose your favourite actor or see yourself in the movie if you like, and create a movie of this person up there on the screen, doing what you want to do exactly the way you’d like the be able to do it. So being calm in the face of something that might trigger anger. Rejecting a drink, one or two, or whatever it might be.
  4. The fourth step is then, having made the movie over a period of 35 seconds, to replay the movie several times, but as you replay it, you’re going to get an experience of the movie. Now, what do I mean by that? Replay it the first time, watching the actor do it exactly how you construct it. Next we replay it again but imagine floating into the actor’s head and seeing what he or she sees as he or she does what you want to be able to do instead of what you are currently doing.
  5. Now allow the movie to be able to go back to the start again and be in the seat watching it at the starting frame, play it again but this time, float up into the actor, look through their own eyes and see what they are doing but also get a sense of what the actor’s hearing, the self talk that’s going on in their head as they manage to do what you want to do … like reject too much drink, reject the wrong foods … or whatever it is you want to be able to do as part as the therapeutic process.
  6. Finally, replay the movie again, float up in and as well as seeing what the actor is seeing in this movie scenario, and hearing the self-talk of what the actor is hearing, get a sense of the feeling the actor is having, how good they feel being in control of the situation.
  7. Now this point, roll the movie back to the start and freeze frame it there and allow yourself to go into a state of mind where you remembered clearly a time when you felt very confident and very self assured, or whatever feelings you’d like to have at the time when you do what you want to do in your new behaviour. So for example, if someone is offering you food of the wrong type and you want to feel confident and strong in saying, “no thank you very much”, think back to a time in life where you felt very confident and strong in some actions you took. Now, when you do that, go back into that scene as if you are reliving it, looking through your own eyes, hearing through your own ears and feel those feelings of strength of confidence come back, when they do, form a gentle anchor by squeezing two fingers together or gently squeezing a fist. Do that three or four times and when you’ve done that, go back to the scene, replay the movie again, but this time we do something completely different. As we replay the movie we let the screen disappear, the actors move towards us, we move towards them – there might only be one person – and you change roles, almost like a Steven Spielberg fade in – fade out. You take the role of that lead actor doing what you want to do, rather than what you have been doing in relation to the behaviour you are trying to change, and as you take the role that the actor’s done, play it out exactly as the actor did, squeeze that fist (or those fingers) and bring forward those very powerful feelings of strength and confidence and, as you watch the scene, feel the strength and confidence you feel as you say ‘no’ to the wrong food, or reject a extra glass of wine after one or two, or whatever it is you want. Now having done that, you feel nice and strong and confident in the situation, now imagine yourself in a situation similar to one in the past where you’ve accepted the food and wished you hadn’t, or taken a cigarette and wished you’d hadn’t, or whatever it was. Replay it – a new version of that scene – firing the anchor and feeling the confidence as you say ‘no’, and reject that extra food and notice how, in your mind, the behaviour has changed for that sort of circumstances.

    And then, go out and enjoy life and notice the behaviour you can change for the better.

Now, is this going to work for deep seated mega-emotional issues? No!

But for small behavioural issues, it can really make a difference in your life. It is a powerful technique. Give it a go, all the best.

I’m Alan Patching, see you on a future post. Bye for now…

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