It Comes Down to Your Subconscious: How Self-Hypnosis Can Help You Attain Your Goals

Want to beat your fear of public speaking? Become a more assertive manager? Win that big sale? Start with 'theta.'

learn more about Grace Smith

By Grace Smith

PeopleImages | Getty Images

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Both Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have attributed their successes to one simple rule: focus. But, in a technology-driven society where instant gratification and multitasking are king -- and queen -- our ability to focus on any one thing, be it a goal, a task or habit, for a significant amount of time is deteriorating.

Related: 15 Ways to Master the Bad Habits That Are Ruining Your Life

In fact, the average human's attention span is only eight seconds. This may explain why 80 percent of people fail to keep their New Year's resolution by the time February -- this month! -- arrives. The reason: not enough focus. Too often, people just give up, claiming they don't have the willpower to do it.

But the truth is, willpower is only 10 percent of the mix when you're either adding in or giving up a habit. To actually train yourself to focus, you need to go deeper into your mind, where the remaining 90 percent of what's needed to give up or build a new habit lives: inside your subconscious.

And here is where you need to learn the term theta. Theta is the state between your conscious mind and subconscious world. Between daydreaming and sleep, this is our most deeply relaxed state, where creativity and ingenuity reign.

But how do you get to theta while hammering away at your keyboard, running from meeting to meeting and talking to potential clients all day? The answer is hypnosis.

This is not "mind control."

Now, just to get it out of the way, hypnosis is not mind control -- despite what pop culture, including movies like Get Out try to convince us of. Remember that creepy scene with Daniel and the mom? Hard to forget, right?

Well, that's not what hypnosis is. Rather, what I'm talking about is a deeply relaxed, highly focused state of awareness that allows you to create lasting change. According to the Mayo Clinic, "Hypnosis can be used to help you gain control over undesired behaviors or to help you cope better with anxiety or pain. It's important to know that although you're more open to suggestion during hypnosis, you don't lose control over your behavior."

What's shocking is we've known this for decades and are just getting around to noticing the benefits now. A study conducted in 1970 by Alfred Barrios found that 600 sessions of psychotherapy resulted in an average 33 percent improvement, whereas six sessions of hypnotherapy result in an average 93 percent improvement.

Thankfully, the tide is turning. Well-known entertainers and athletes -- from Adele to Tiger Woods -- have credited hypnosis for cultivating peak performance and focus or, in the case of Adele's smoking, kicking a bad habit.

I've seen such benefits many times, at my company, Grace Space Hypnosis, where I have experienced the impact hypnosis has had on my high-profile clients: industry leaders and public figures who have needed to break through self-sabotage that has threatened to stunt their careers.

Related: 5 Science-Backed Ways Hypnotherapy Helps Entrepreneurs Succeed

I've helped clients conquer their fear of public speaking, then go on to speak in front of audiences with thousands of people. I've seen hypnosis increase people's self-confidence so that they could become more assertive managers or get the big sale they wanted. And I've seen it help still others overcome the procrastination (actually a sign not of laziness but of fear of failure) hurting their businesses' success.

Here's how to do it.

So, how can hypnotherapy help you and your focus specifically? With comfortable, efficient, conditioning. In just five minutes,the following short self-hypnosis process can help boost your productivity anyplace, anywhere, anytime.

1. Decide what you want to work on.

What you want to work on can be a goal, something you'd like to release from your life or a habit you'd like to change. Ask yourself how much you want it, on a scale of zero to 10. If you choose a number less than seven on the scale, throw it away for now and come back to it when you want it more.

So, to start: Exhale as you close your eyes and begin the exercise. Imagine a color you love forming at the top of your head; say the name of the color aloud; and imagine it flowing into the top of your head, through your body and out your feet.

Count down very slowly, saying "I'm going deeper and deeper" after each number, from 10 down to 1, adding in, "9: I'm going deeper and deeper," then moving on to the next number.

Imagine the color flowing again, down into the top of your head, through your body and out your feet.

Repeat "Every day, in every way, I ___(what you are cultivating)______ more and more." Do this 21 times. Twenty-one is a significant number because when you repeat something 21 times, you start to replace an old habit.

Imagine the color flowing again, down in through the top of your head, through your body and out your feet.

Spend a minute using all of your senses to feel the way you'll feel when you've achieved your goal, as if you've already done it: See it, feel it, taste it, hear it, touch it. Act as if you have already accomplished the goal, and imagine that you feel how you will feel.

2. Finish strong.

Imagine the color flowing again, down into the top of your head, through your body and out your feet.

Repeat "I can do this, I already am, I am committed" three times.

Finally, open your eyes with a smile on your face and go do the work.

This easy practice will provide the focus you need to build that desired habit. Note: While hypnosis typically takes place with your eyes closed, you can take a peak at this text. Open your eyes open between each of the steps to read what comes next, until you've memorized the process. (You can also follow along to this video I created for the self-hypnosis process.)

Related: 6 Easy Tips for Conquering Your Fear of Public Speaking (Infographic)

I recommend practicing these steps three times per day: once when you first wake up, once at midday and once right before bed.

To sum up: Hypnosis is not magic; it's a process of conditioning. In the short term you can expect to feel a lovely, deep relaxation during the process itself and an increased ability to focus on a goal and to reach it for increasingly longer periods of time. As you continue your conditioning over the course of several days (the average being 21 days to see a drastic change), you will find that an ability to accomplish what you set out to do each day becomes almost natural to you.

Hypnosis does not increase your willpower, so don't be on the lookout for an added boost to force yourself into something you truly don't want to do. Rather, notice how gradually you innately desire to complete your chosen tasks and find you have cultivated the focus required to do so.

The more hypnosis you do, the deeper it will go, and the longer itwill last. For many people, hypnosis has become a lifelong practice for continually upgrading their subconscious minds and reaping the benefits it affords them. It benefit you, as well.

Grace Smith

Hypnotherapist, Author, Founder of Grace Space Hypnotherapy School

Grace Smith is a renowned hypnotherapist and the author of Close Your Eyes, Get Free: Use Self-Hypnosis to Reduce Stress, Quit Bad Habits, and Achieve Greater Relaxation and Focus. She is also founder and CEO of, a  hypnotherapy hub, and of Grace Space Hypnotherapy School,  as well as a regular  guest on CBS's The Doctors, and her work has been featured in The Atlantic, Marie Claire, Forbes, MindBodyGreen, Buzzfeed, Bustle, InStyle and other publications.



Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Have More Responsibilities at Work, But No Pay Bump? Use This Script to Get the Raise You Deserve.
Black and Asian Founders Face Opposition at All Levels — Here's Why That Has to Change
Business News

'This Made Me Physically Recoil From My Phone': Lingerie Brand Apologizes For 'Creepy' Ad Referencing Ryan Reynolds and Bras

Online lingerie retailer Harper Wilde is under fire for a bizarre sponsored post it has since pulled from Instagram.

Thought Leaders

5 Small Daily Habits Self-Made Millionaires Use to Grow Their Wealth

We've all seen what self-made millionaires look like on TV, but it's a lot more subtle than that. Brian Tracy researched what small daily habits these successful entrepreneurs adopted on their journey from rags to riches.


Blake Lively Knows Being a Perfectionist Is 'Weaponized' Against Women, But She's Micromanaged Her Way to Millions, So She's Not Stopping Now

The "Gossip Girl" actress is done apologizing for being a control freak. After all, obsessing over every little detail is what's made her mixer brand Betty Buzz a raging success.