In my previous post I gave you a basic introduction to NLP and the concept of a Pattern Interrupt. Today in this blog I am going to go into more detail and explain how you can employ some very simple imagery to drastically increase your chances of overcoming a bad habit.

Sub modalities
Before I talk procedures, I need to explain a bit about Submodalities and what they are. Submodalities in neuro-linguistic programming are distinctions of form or structure (rather than content) within a sensory representational system.  I know, “Riiiight.”

To put this more plainly, Submodalities are basically just how you are remembering and storing some form of information.  For example, think of your first favorite toy or stuffed animal when you were a kid.  Now, is it monochrome or is it in color?  In the picture are you looking through your own eyes holding your little Pooh Bear or are you watching yourself do this?

These are examples of Visual Submodalities.

Now there are essentially FIVE primary categories of Submodalities within NLP and these are:

  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Kinesthetic
  • Olfactory
  • Gustatory

The Point?

If you have a handle on this Submodalities and recognize how important they are in your current patterns of behavior, you can fairly easily perform what is called a Pattern Interrupt.

The Procedure

First I would like to point out that this procedure works best when you work with a coach.  The reason for this is that the coach can push the pace of the exercise to an area just beyond where your conscious mind is comfortable and this is ideal.  If you don’t have someone you can work with though, you can easily try on your own.

FIRST- Identify a negative pattern or bad habit you would like to change.  You should have your list from my last post….if not, take the time now to find something. The type of Pattern interrupt we are discussing here is called a “Swish Pattern” and these work best with relatively small bad habits.  For example, if you bite your nails this would be a good pattern interrupt for that.  Or if you go to the 7/11 obsessively at night for no reason.  You can use this pattern to work on that.  Bigger more deeply ingrained problems such as smoking and sex addiction take more advanced Pattern Disrupts so we will fix those later.
NEXT- you have the negative pattern you want to change?  Good.  Now think of what you would like to replace it with.  It’s best if the two things are somehow similar.  For example, if you bite your nails, maybe instead of doing that, you’d like to run your hand through your hair. Or if you go to 7/11 for no reason, maybe you’d rather you just went into the kitchen and made some toast.  Whatever.  Figure that out now.

NEXT- Ok. You need to see the negative pattern in your head.  See yourself biting your nails and make sure the image is ASSOCIATED. That means, seeing it through your eyes.  Now check for sounds of you biting your nails.  Just see it and in a second, condense all that imagery into one picture.  Ok now, imagine the POSITIVE PATTERN image, you running your hand through your hair.  This image should be DISASSOCIATED or, you are seeing yourself do this from a few feet away or from up above. This is vital. Check both images in your mind now.

NEXT- recall or illicit the negative image of you biting your nails.  Now let that image fly away from you like it is the rubber band on a sling shot, its pulling further away so far you cant see it, all in a second. When the band comes flying and snapping back into place, it’s the positive image. Your hand running through your hair. Now clear your mind’s screen.

Now, do that again. See the negative image.  It draws away quickly and as it snaps back its the positive image. Clear the screen.

Do that again. Clear the screen.

Do that again. Clear the Screen.

Do it faster this time.





Generally it takes between 3 and 21 rotations of this for it to start to stick.  You can see now why working with a coach might help. Their verbal cues can push you to an area your mind has trouble going to alone.  Thats the point.

This DOES NOT destroy a bad pattern or habit.  What it does is, it interrupts it. So that instead of following your default and biting your nails, you are left with more time or room to choose something else. An alternative behavior.

Again, working with a coach is somewhat necessary and the results so far are good.  I have not had a late night foray to the 7/11 in over a week.

Much more on NLP in the future.