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Episode 205: Do You Need To Make A Change?


And hello to you and welcome to the Richard Nicholls podcast. The personal development podcast series that's here to help inspire, educate and motivate you to be the best you can be. I’m psychotherapist Richard Nicholls and this is episode 205 it’s titled Do You Need To Make A Change? And if you're ready we'll start the show.
Hello! It's me again. I say again but you might be absolutely brand new to listening to me. Even though I've been waffling away for over 10 years doing this now. But listening to podcasts has become a bit more popular lately. Phone companies are giving us massive amounts of data

so we can listen on the go more and every man woman and child with any public presence started up a podcast during the lockdown of 2020 so it's become more and more the thing to do to listen to podcasts. So if you are new to my podcast series, welcome aboard. I make free monthly episodes for the public and I also make weekly episodes for paying subscribers, so if you want more then come on board

through Patreon and you can get loads of personal development and mental health resources for less than you'd pay each month for I dunno a kilo of diced beef. Bit random, forgive me. But yeah if you pay annually you get a discount and it works out at something like 16p per day. You can support the podcast and the various charitable things that I contribute to and hopefully support yourself too and with that does come the ability to message me personally and chat through the community area.

And although I can't provide therapy through these messages and comments I am happy to give you a safe space to vent about something and even ask questions that can be answered on the podcast. Which is what prompted today's episode when a patron asked me about how to get prepared for their new years resolutions that they were planning to make. They said they make them every year and by the end of January they've pretty much forgotten about them and their habits are right back where they were beforehand. Now, knowing this about yourself is great,
if you know where your problems are you can tackle them so I've got to admire that. But in this persons case they were overlooking something. Because although it's great to plan in advance, it's great to know exactly what you're planning to do in a few months time and get ready for it. But, like I've said so many times before, what's wrong with now? Because for a lot of things this person spoke about there was nothing stopping them from doing something literally that day. And private clients have brought the same thing into therapy many times, especially hypnotherapy clients.

And when I mention that there's no reason why they can't start making those changes now. They almost always all say the same thing. That it doesn't feel right to get started now. It just doesn't feel right. And so what we do in therapy is play about with that and sometimes they're able to see they were just being a bit lazy actually, or there was a part of them that was maybe expecting to fail

yet again in the new year and then they'd be able to say "I saw a hypnotist and even they couldn't make me stick to my plan." We do get that quite a bit, people think therapy will do all the hard work for them and that's not strictly true. It can make it easier to make the changes, yes. But you still have to actually make those changes yourself. And if you're in a similar position to these folk you need to recognise that we can't wait until we FEEL ready before making some changes. Well, I mean maybe we can

but usually that's because the feeling isn't readiness, it's pain. The discomfort of being where they are has finally become so painful that they have to make some effort. Well we don't have to wait for that. But that motivational feeling of readiness, if that even really exists, comes from expectation. It comes from our subconscious mind, our unconscious processes. And the only place our subconscious goes to when creating an expectation of our future is the past.

So if our past habits and behaviours are what we're trying to change then we're not going to feel ready until it's painful to stay that way. So we can't wait until we feel ready, we need the new habits and behaviours to come first so that we can create a new past for our unconscious to then use to create expectations of our future from. Then it feels right to go for a run

every day after work, go to bed 30 minutes earlier, make healthier choices or whatever. And maybe that's flippant to say "or whatever" because the "whatever" is anything and everything that you want to see happen in your life. And there's no perfect time to talk about this. It doesn't have to be a new year or even a new month, you might be listening to this half way through the month on a damp October Monday morning and that's just as good a time as any.

A good time to say to yourself "This is my life and I'm not happy with a part of it" and if that's the case, then ask yourself this question "What are you going to do about it?" because like we just said, it's your life and you're not happy with a part of it. But we give up the right to complain about it, even to ourselves, if we are complaining about something that we have complete control over. Because not even a hypnotherapist sitting next to you whispering all the magic words you need into your ears

is going to make that happen. There isn't a genie in a bottle that's going to grant you wishes, no Quantum Leap style time travel that lets you live your life again so that you can take advantage of all the time you had that you might have wasted.
But you do have all the time moving forward, you have today, tomorrow and so on and so on, and there's nothing stopping you from being the best that you can be. So if you're not at your best and you have room for improvement, then what's stopping you?

Expectation? Belief? Self esteem? Fear? Whatever it is look into it, figure it out, work out what makes you tick so that you can see what's holding you back. Because then you can answer that question "What are you going to do about it?" And start making plans. And it MIGHT be that nothing can be done until the new year, because obviously it depends what it is that you want to achieve, but it could be there's nothing stopping you right now. It sounds harsh and of course every situation is different,

but wherever you are in life right now it has a direct relation with the decisions and choices you made in the past. I had a massive chip on my shoulder for a long time because I didn't go to University and it did influence how I felt around people who did when I was young and even when I was a bit older.

I felt like a fraud if I succeeded in something, if I got any recognition. I felt I didn't belong in therapy circles because everyone I looked up to was better qualified than me, even though I met a lot of therapists who had degrees in something totally unrelated to Psychology anyway. But it was ultimately my responsibility. It was my choice not to go to University, because it was my choice to drop out of my A levels, it was my choice to choose the A levels that were actually the wrong ones for me,

hence why I was forced to drop out because I was predicted such bad grades, I didn't even get a maths GCSE yet I was doing A Level Physics. I mean what the hell? It was my choice not to work hard enough, because I didn't want to be there. Now I can look further back and see it was all because of self esteem and anxiety that I even made those choices and blame that, and I was just a child when those issues were developing, so it can't be my fault. No, it's not, because when these sorts of things happen

it's no ones fault, no one individual's to blame, not any ignorant school friends who made us feel like we didn't belong, not anyones under encouraging Dad who doesn't show that he cared or a working class background that suggests you'd never amount to anything. All those things simply are what they are. I say so many times about things that "It is what it is." And until I saw that for myself through my own therapy, whilst training as a therapist,

I was unable to accept that anything different could happen. That I could write essays if I worked hard enough, that I could be academic, that I did belong. That I could be proud. Now those foundations of mine will probably never completely go away they're part of my personality. But NOW so is working WITH those foundations and doing things despite them. If ever I get asked to write for a publication, or get contacted for a radio interview or something I'd hear that inner critic in my mind saying

"Why you? You're a con artist, a fraud, they don't want you, they just want the person you pretend to be." Well, we need to work WITH that inner critic to a degree, and acknowledge that a part of us holds those beliefs. We can't always argue with it but we can understand why it exists and disagree and offer better ideas. Someone once described their inner critic to me as being like a flea with a megaphone.

This tiny thing that needs a megaphone to be heard but shouts "IMPOSTER" at them. And I loved that, because it reminded me that it was just a flea, that it was small, that it needed a megaphone to be heard, I loved that. Most of us have that flea, it's just that it doesn't always have a megaphone so it's normally easy to ignore it and carry on regardless.

Because if it's quiet we can see that what we do next in life has little or nothing to do with what has come before. Often the reason we don't achieve the things in life that we want is because of the story about ourselves that we've been carrying around all of our lives. Because for a lot of folk whenever they revisit that story about themselves in their mind, it becomes more and more plausible, they believe it, they rationalise it and it becomes their reality.

But as we all know if you tell yourself a lie enough times it gets to a point where you truly believe it. So if there's something you want to change, if there's something you'd like to see happen then here's that question again but with an added extra. "What are you going to do about it today?" Because you don't have to know everything about something just to get started. Sometimes just knowing where to go for help is the first step, no matter what it is that you aren't happy with.

If your job is a big part of your goals either because you hate the one you've got or you don't even have one then what are you going to do today to get a new one? What are you going to do today to think differently about the one you already have maybe? Only you know what you need and especially what you need to say to yourself but make sure you follow up on it. If you're feeling lonely what are you going to do today to connect to people? If you're feeling unhealthy what are you going to do today that gets you started on a healthier path.

You can read as many books as you like, listen to as many podcasts as you can and they will ultimately do nothing because the key to all this is you. Not me, not your therapist or your psychiatrist or the genie in a bottle, but you. You have to do this on your terms and taking as long as it needs to take but it starts with you taking some sort of action. And that action can start today. It might be quite a journey, you might have to learn to deal with

anxiety and doubts, fears and phobias and trust yourself that you can learn to, that you can deal with that THEN rather than overthinking it now. Because planning in advance for all the things that could go wrong will stop you from getting started. Know that whatever might come up you can deal with it then, and just look at the very first step that can be done today and get started. And what if, with each step,

it shows you the next step, what if you can take a step towards your goal every single day so that this time next week you're 7 steps closer to your goal, how amazing is that? And if that keeps on going this time next month you're 30 steps further forward. And if you can do something that reminds you every day of your steps, your goals or some sort of cue that keeps you on track then do it. Sometimes I'll tell clients to write something on a post it note and put it somewhere where they'll see it every day,

sometimes it's just "make lunch" to stop them from going to Pret a Manger every day. Sometimes it's "make eye contact" sometimes it's "you are enough." Whatever it is that you need to see to remind you of what you need reminding of, make it happen. That can be the first step for a lot of folk. Visual cues are so useful. There's a podcast called bright ideas presented by a man called Trent Dyrsmid

and I'd heard of him because he went from being a rookie stock broker when he was 23 earning nothing to earning a 6 figure salary in less than 2 years because of his commitment to making phone calls to earn his bank business. The salary is irrelevant to me you don't need 6 figures to be happy and most people on that sort of income are too stressed to enjoy it anyway, but that's not what I'm getting at. It was his method of reminding himself what to do that interested me. Because he had a visual cue.

He had 2 jars on his desk. One that was empty and one that had 120 paperclips in it and every time he made a sales call he'd move one paperclip across to the other jar until by the end of the day all the paperclips had been moved across, because he wanted to make 120 sales calls each day and Trent Dyrsmid’s story is evidence of a simple truth that success is often a result of committing to the fundamentals over and over again.

Those paperclips were a great trigger for him a visual cue that reminded him of what he was achieving and what he had left to do and I think that's so simple but so useful. Let's say you want to do 100 sit ups each day. Then get a couple of see through pots and 10 paperclips and every time you get on your floor and do 10 sit ups you move a paperclip across. You'll see how many you've done, you'll see how many you've got left to do and it'll remind you of your steps and goals.

If you want to remember to practise some diaphragmatic breathing exercise once per hour then those paperclip pots will remind you. If you struggle to remember whether you've taken you medication or not because its 3 times per day then if every time you take it you've moved a paperclip then you'll know, I mean you can come up with something for yourself I guess, but visual cues can be really useful. So let's wrap things up for today,

I try to make episodes that appeal to as many of you as I can so I hope I've helped trigger something positive in you if you needed it today and if not then maybe I've shown you how to help others, who knows. No matter what I hope you enjoy these podcast episodes I really appreciate you listening. You could have done anything with these last 16 and a bit minutes and you chose to listen to this so thank you. Of course if you want more content then do please consider coming on board at So let's go, let's take some steps let's achieve something special and let's grab the day by the short and curlies and make a success of it, alright. Have a great day pod fans see you next time.