The Interview Technique

Do you have a goal?  Something in your life that you’d like to accomplish?  Have you tried to keep yourself motivated and failed?

I’ve got good news for you!

It’s not your fault.

The human brain loves patterns and habits.  Our brains are evolved to be resistant to change.  Change is unfamiliar, it’s unknown; and, because it’s unknown, part of us fears that change.

There is something primal in the mind that wonders: Is this change really good for me?  Are things really going to be better?  I’ve been fine this long, the patterns I’ve been maintaining have kept me alive so far.  Is this worth the energy that it takes to change?

It’s OK.  It’s just the way our brains are wired.

But, when you know consciously, rationally that a change is in your best interests, what can you do to get your “primal self” on board?

Affirmations and visualization are generally great techniques for this; but, they have their limitations.  The biggest issue is that they can often feel dishonest.  “This isn’t true” the brain says.  “This has never been what life is, I don’t believe it.”

I’ve created “The Interview Technique” to make that process a bit faster and easier.  It’s essentially a form of self hypnosis.  In this case you are taking on the role of both the hypnotist and the hypnotic subject.

It will still take discipline and regular (preferably daily) reinforcement.  Your mind will still resist; but, this is a bigger experience to prove to yourself that things are happening than simple affirmations and it doesn’t take as much training as advanced visualization techniques to use.

To get the best results, I recommend doing this by hand, in cursive within half an hour of falling asleep just like with any other affirmations.  Cursive handwriting is deeply personal and has a way of bypassing the critical part of the mind and going straight in to the subconscious.  The last half hour before bed is important, because the mind is starting to move into a sleep state and it provides a natural hypnotic window of opportunity.

That said, the technique is powerful enough that it should still have a strong effect on your level of motivation when used at other times or if typed instead of handwritten.

The first step to using this technique is to pick a single goal to focus on.  What do you want to achieve?  Let’s use the example of learning to play the piano.

We start The Interview Technique by writing out our contract with ourselves and reaffirming our commitment to achieving our goal.  Treat this as if it were a binding legal contract.

I am making a contract with myself.  I am fully committed to making my goal of ___________________ a reality.  I will continue to use the interview technique each and every day until I have achieved my goal of ___________________________________. I am now in the process of achieving this goal.

So, here you would write out (preferably by hand, in cursive): I am making a contract with myself.  I am fully committed to making my goal of learning to play the piano a reality.  I will continue to use the interview technique each and every day until I have achieved my goal of learning to play the piano. I am now in the process of achieving this goal.

Then, sign and date it.  This is a  binding agreement with yourself, after all!

Next, create several affirmations to support and focus your mind on that goal.  I generally recommend that affirmations be positive, in the present tense and process focused.  As much as possible your affirmations should be undeniably true. Examples here would be: I am learning to play the piano.  I am able to practice every day.  I love knowing that I am learning to play the piano.  I don’t know how long it will take to learn to play; but, I’m committed to doing it.  I know that I may at times feel frustrated; but, I know that I can choose to keep going and that if I do, I will in time master the piano.

I personally like to build “recovery strategies” into my affirmations.  Frustration is inevitable in virtually every learning process.  Plan on it and plan to overcome it.

The next step is count all the things that you have done that day to support your goal.  What steps did you take?  Did you sign up for lessons?  Did you buy some new books?  Did you spend some time practicing?  Did you simply just do The Interview Technique to increase motivation so that you’re more likely to practice?

All of these things count.  All of the little things you’ve done in service to your goal matter.  Even if all you’ve done is The Interview Technique that’s still something.  You have taken at least one step in the direction of your goal.  A big part of why The Interview Technique is powerful is because you are celebrating the little steps you’ve taken and reinforcing that your goal is happening.

The next step is to list things that you CAN do tomorrow.  We’re not concerned here with whether you will or not; just take a moment to ponder the possibilities and write them down.  After every one you need to write down how good it will feel when you do it.  Again, it doesn’t matter if you actually do any of those steps tomorrow.  This is simply about creating an association between taking steps towards your goal and pleasure.  This will work regardless of whether you follow through right away or not.  It’s designed to make it more likely that you follow through over time.

So: I CAN practice the piano for 15 minutes tomorrow; and it will feel really good when I practice the piano.

I CAN sign up for music lessons; and it will feel really good when I do.

Before moving on to the actual interview portion of the technique you should take a moment to list some positive assumptions about how things are going to be different when you complete your goal.

When I learn to play the piano, I will be able to entertain friends and family.  I will have a lot of fun playing the piano while my kids sing along.  I will be able to relax and unwind as I play the piano and have a great source of stress relief.  I will be able to write songs for the people I care about.  I will feel really good about having learned a new skill.  Etc.

Now comes the actual interview portion of the technique.  This is based on the reality that our brains do not really differentiate between real and imagined.  An experience is an experience.  If you imagine running, the same parts of your brain light up on an MRI as if you were physically running.

With The Interview Technique we are essentially creating future memories of success so that achieving our goal becomes a “known” to the subconscious instead of an “unknown.”  The Interview Technique is based on a hypnotic technique known as Deep Trance Identification; although, in The Interview Technique it’s more of a light trance identification.  But, that makes it easier to access and easier to repeat as many times as necessary to build the new habits that you want to create.

We are also associating not just the goal itself; but, the process of achieving our goal with pleasure.  While you are doing The Interview Technique it’s important that every part of it is focused on imagining what you have done and how wonderful it is.  Our primal, emotional instincts are attracted to pleasure.  The more you associate your goal with pleasure, the more you’re going to find yourself naturally drawn to it and naturally doing more of the things that lead you to your goal.

The Technique itself is very simple.  Just write a mock interview with a future version of yourself who has already achieved your goal.  Ask them/you how good they feel about it, what changes have happened in their/your life as a result of achieving your goal.

I recommend that for a long term goal you do three interviews and for a short term goal you do two.

For the long term goal of learning to play the piano well I recommend that you do one interview with yourself tomorrow, one with yourself in a month and one with yourself in a year.  Be realistic about how much progress you are likely to see at those times.  You’re not going to go from completely unskilled to master composer in a year, much less a month; but, in a year you could be able to play some more advanced pieces that are currently beyond you.  You should be well past just playing “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

Be sure to ask your future self questions about challenges faced and how they/you overcame them.  You don’t want to create the false expectation of everything being perfect.  If you do that you will inevitably create greater frustration for yourself.

You may be surprised at the answers that you come up with.  This technique tends to bring out a lot of creativity and inner wisdom so that you can find solutions to problems which come up.

Now, you may notice when you look at the blank form I provided that I filled in the “Interviewer” line of dialogue and just left a blank for the other one.  I want you to write in “Me” on that line.  What this will do is start to create an association between you and the dialogue of your “future self.”  Basically, you are incorporating the idea of future success into your sense of identity by doing this.  Once succeeding at your goal is part of your identity, it will be extremely difficult NOT to work on your goal.

I recommend that after you complete your “Tomorrow” interview and before you move onto the “A Month from Now” interview; you repeat the step of thinking of things you CAN do; but, this time, list things that you can do over the next couple of weeks and how good it will feel when you do them. This may not be necessary for a simple goal like learning to play the piano; but, with a bigger goal (like my building a hypnotherapy practice) it can really help to build long term motivation.

You may also want to repeat this step with things you can do over the next couple of months before moving on to your “A Year from Now” interview.

If you’re working on a short-term goal, stick to two interviews: one for “Tomorrow” and one for “After Completion.”  Be sure to keep things realistic! If you’re using this to increase motivation to study for a test you can’t know exactly what score you’re going to get.  Just focus on feeling really good after you’ve done your test.  Focus on feeling optimistic about the grade you’re going to get back.  Focus on how good you felt while you were taking the test and how easily the answers came to you.

Finally, wrap up by answering this question: How does it feel to know that you are making progress on your goal?

This may seem to be a cumbersome process at first; but, with practice, you should be able to breeze through all three interviews in about 15-20 minutes.  And, isn’t that a small price to pay for the increased motivation that will lead you to success.

There is something else you can do to increase your motivation even more and to get the most out of your daily practice with The Interview Technique.  Keep score!  Give yourself 10 points for doing The Interview Technique at all, your commitment to the process deserves a reward.  Then give yourself 1 point for each affirmation you write, 1 point for each thing you can do that you write, 1 point for each assumption that you write. You’re going to get 3 points for each question you ask and answer in the interview portion; as well as 3 points for each thing you did do that day to work towards your goal.

Keep track of your score every day and keep a running total.  See how many points you can get in a week.  It’s a very simple form of positive feedback that will make you more likely to keep doing the technique and keep reconditioning yourself to make your goal into a reality.

If you want to add even more incentive here, you can get a friend to use The Interview Technique to work on some goal they have and compare your scores with each other. For a lot of people, a little bit of competition can really increase the drive to succeed and make it that much easier to maintain the new habit.

One of the big reasons people lose motivation is that they don’t really see how far they’ve gone, they don’t see how each little step they take is taking them towards their goal.  By keeping score and seeing your score increase a bit each and every day, it can and will help to remedy this unfortunate quirk of the mind and help you to do the work needed to make your dream a reality.

Please share so that others can see just how much this techniques can improve their lives!

I’m looking forward to hearing about your success using The Interview Technique!


Here is a blank form you can print out for your own practice with the interview technique.

Interview – Blank

Here are 2 sample forms that you can look over to give you a better idea of how to use it.

Interview – Piano Example

Interview – Apr07 (My personal practice from last night.)

Thank you for reading!
-Adam Coles-
Heart Song Hypnotherapy
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