As a hypnotherapist, I have people come to me who want to improve their lives. Many of them succeed with their goals. But some of them aren't ready for the change they think that they want. For instance, I had a client who wanted to stop smoking. He quit with very little problem, but a couple of weeks later he started smoking again. When I asked him, "After what you went through to quit, why did you start again?" He replied that he just thought he'd like to have one. And he continued to smoke.

I could tell you story after story about people who have come to me with a problem, and when they began to overcome it, slide right back into the old pattern. They aren't willing to do what's necessary to make the transition from what they don't want to what they do want. The old habit hasn't gotten to be uncomfortable enough yet. When it finally does make them unhappy enough, they'll do whatever is needed to change.

How can you tell if you're ready to change? Write down what it is you want to change in your life. Then list the positive aspects of it. There are benefits to it, or you'd have moved beyond it. The advantages might have features you've outgrown, or they might be helping you in some way in the present day. For example, staying in a job you hate may give you security. Or having low self- worth may feel safer because you don't have to risk standing up for yourself.

Once you've listed the benefits, define what is negative about that area. You can probably list them easily. Then decide which is stronger, the benefits or the disadvantages. When the undesirable aspects are stronger, so powerful that you'll do anything to release the old pattern, then you know you're ready for change.

How do you then make the change? Affirmations, self- hypnosis, visualization, and taking small actions in the direction of your goal. The last is very important. It convinces you and your subconscious mind that you're truly dedicated to your transformation.

For instance, to improve self-esteem, do something that makes you feel good about yourself. To increase self- acceptance, counter your negative self-statements with something positive. Ground your goal with actions, small ones at first, then build on them. Know that when you're ready for change the Universe will support you completely.

Author's Bio: 

Linda-Ann Stewart is a nationally known hypnotherapist, writer, speaker and leads seminars on empowerment and stress reduction. At her website,, she offers personal development articles, a free newsletter and much more. She can be reached by emailing