All of us suffer from something. It could be as simple as an irritating or unhealthy habit like nail biting, jaw clenching, or smoking, to more complex issues like chronic stress, fears, and phobias of every nature variety. Other issues could be low self-confidence, and/or limiting beliefs like feeling unworthy or “less than” in some way. To that end, I am often asked two questions: What does it take to become Better Than Before? And can I change my life overnight?
I wish I were a (fake) clairvoyant like Simon Baker in “The Mentalist” and be able to predict that all great things will happen in your imminent future. (I once asked my brother, “What if I had true psychic powers?” “What if a piano fell on your head,” he responded.) Alas, I can’t. And there are no instant fixes or magic bullets. You have to do it all by yourself. The whole concept of being Better Than Before implies change of some sort; moving in some way by small increments from where you are to where you want to be. That change can be physical, emotional or spiritual. But in reality, all change involves all three energies.
My expert Dr. John McGrail, a renowned clinical hypnotherapist, personal improvement expert, spiritual teacher, and author of the bestselling The Synthesis Effect, picks it up from here. “One of the most powerful ingredients in harnessing one’s energies to create change is the energy of intention or intent,” he tells me. “If we look at the dictionary definition of intent we see words like purpose, motive, aim, design, and goal; and next to these words we see descriptors like, keen, resolute, sincere, serious, and diligent.”
Dr. McGrail goes on to say that no change, nothing new, in fact, can happen without a purpose, aim or goal. “An artist cannot create art, an athlete cannot compete, a student cannot learn, a business cannot profit, a writer cannot write, a person cannot lose weight, build self-confidence, or change anything about themselves and their life,” he contends. In other words, it is impossible to become Better Than Before without the energy of intent. Intent is the bridge between desire and achievement. “Therefore, it’s not such a stretch to say that intent is indeed the ultimate and universal, motive force behind all creation.”
Yet, for many people defining intent as the creative force of the universe is a bit too abstract a concept to easily integrate and employ. “We desire something more practical and pragmatic,” continues Dr. McGrail. So let’s try this definition: “Intent is laser-sharp focused thought and action dedicated to producing a result. The result in this case, of course, is whatever you wish to change.” Let’s call it your New You, the you that is Better Than Before, that is.
Dr. McGrail emphasizes that it is vital to recognize that two energies must be brought to bear. We need to employ both thought and action. Either one without the other and nothing much happens; or if it does happen, it may take a very long time. “Many of the latest books and films dealing with quantum reality and the Law of Attraction mention the necessity to focus one’s thoughts on what one desires; but they most often minimize and sometimes completely neglect the need to act on those thoughts as well. If you don’t do something to take you through the process—choose, act, etc.—then, well, as they say, ‘you can’t get there from here.’”
He further explained to me that two points become very clear with this concept: First, the desire, aim, and motive to create your Better Than Before ‘New You’ must absolutely be your own. “If you try to change yourself because someone either wants you to for their sake or thinks that by changing something about yourself will make you a better person,” he says, “then bringing the required intent will be difficult, if not impossible, particularly for creating a long-term effect. It may work in the short run, but almost never if you want it to be permanent — and if you want to be happy about it.”
Second, the degree of focus, laser-sharp, becomes very important in producing efficacy. “Think of light energy,” he suggests. “A light bulb does a fine job of illuminating a room with a fuzzy cloud of light. But if you concentrate and focus light energy enough you can create a beam that is brighter and sharper. And if you continue to focus them more, that very same energy—light—becomes a laser, a device obviously far more versatile and incredibly more powerful than any light bulb.”
The same, in fact, holds true for intent and the process of change. According to McGrail, the more we concentrate our thoughts and actions on our desired outcome, the more quickly and efficiently we can and will produce the result. And while this seems simple enough, we in modern Western society tend to have significant challenges with focus; we are distracted by a million different sources of input, technologies, and media; we have come to almost worship the act of multi-tasking (even though I’m convinced that my brain was designed to focus on only one thing at a time); and so we are easily distracted, and thus, the energy of intent can become diffused and eventually powerless. And there goes our result.
Fortunately, there are a variety of tools and techniques that can help us refocus. And “one of the most powerful is a simple, consistent practice of meditation; a natural state of consciousness that creates incredible mental focus and clarity, just what we need to power our intent,” Dr. McGrail concludes.
To that end, here is his easy yet dynamic meditative exercise that will greatly speed the process of becoming Better Than Before:
1) At least once a day, every day, find a place where you can sit quietly and comfortably and be free of all distractions and disturbances.
2) Close your eyes and let them relax completely; let your eyelids feel limp and languid, so heavy that they simply won’t open unless you force them open.
3) Relax your jaw completely; let all the tension that you have stored in your jaw – usually a lot more than we think – melt away. Feel your lower jaw just drop and droop.
4) Take 21 slow, deep, gentle breaths. Breathe all the way in, and all the way out, nice and slowly; and keep count. If you lose track, start over. (You almost surely will at first, but with practice you will get better.)
5) When you reach 21, picture, visualize, or imagine looking at yourself having made the change you are wanting. What does that New You look like, feel like, act like? Stay with the imagining until you can feel the energy of it, the absolute delight of being your “new” you. Hold onto the image and the feeling for as long as it feels comfortable.
The key to this exercise is consistency. When you visualize or imagine your New You and stay with it until you feel it, you are in fact creating that energy within you by reprogramming your subconscious computer. And I guarantee you will become Better Than Before!