Author Archives: William Anderson, LMHC

Focus — Why It’s Vital For Success

And Why People Are Losing Their Ability To Achieve it

The Secret to Success

To accomplish anything difficult, we need to be focused. When we are unfocused and distracted, we may be able to do easy things, but we often make mistakes and blunders and create problems rather than solve them. To do difficult and important things well, we need to be focused.

In 1852, the Rev. Charles Marriott gave a sermon where he preached “Singleness of Purpose is The Secret to Success”, drawing upon a lesson he learned in his religion. That lesson was: we will be empowered and possessed by that which we put first in our life. When we focus on that one thing, we will be powered by extraordinary energy to realize it.

Later, in the 1920’s, Napoleon Hill taught this in his classic “Laws of Success” and then in “Think and Grow Rich”. Even later, Bill Willson taught it in his 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. With countless documented cases over the years, we know that these men taught people how to overcome great obstacles and achieve great things, things that many had thought were impossible.

The lesson: what we focus on taps an almost magical power to bring it about, to help us acheive solutions and accomplishments that had been beyond our reach. You have probably also heard it referred to as a metaphysical “Law of Attraction”.

In my early business career, I discovered that in the very early morning, before anyone else arrived, in the dark with only my writing pad illuminated, magical things would happen. I developed ideas and plans that flowed like a fountain. I created plans and imagined things I had never thought of, and experienced a drive and desire to get them done that strained against the bounds of reality. When others arrived, they seemed to be in slow motion and could not catch up.

I had discovered the power of focus and undistracted attention to a singular purpose. Later, I was able to apply it, along with other lessons learned, to solve my 25 year obesity problem, lose 140 pounds permanently, shift from being a 40-year-old college dropout to a holder of undergraduate and graduate degrees, become a licensed health professional, develop a network of therapists using my weight loss methods, and author a book and audiobook that teaches others how to solve their weight problem. The lessons learned not only changed my life, but thousands of others. It could change your life too.

Perhaps the most important lesson: stop being scattered and distracted and get focused.

The mental magic phenomena. It’s real.

In the training I’ve engaged in as a mental health counselor and therapist, I’ve made some very interesting discoveries in the study of clinical hypnotherapy.

When we are relaxed and extremely focused, we can slip into an altered state of consciousness that generates phenomena that does not occur in normal wakefullness. It is not sleep, but it’s not normal wakefullness either. It is a natural experience that usually happens routinely if we are not stressed and distracted. It was what happend to me when I arrived before anyone else, before people started chatting, the phone started ringing and I was being pulled in a hundred different directions.

This altered state is called “trance”, “meditation”, “being in the zone” or “focused”, depending on what frame of reference you are using. Scientists have documented it by measuring brain waves that show us activity in the brain. When we are in this focused and relaxed state, the brain waves are different than when we are asleep, and different than when we are awake. Not only are the brain waves different, but other physiological conditions are different too.

These phenomena that occur in this state are quite remarkable, almost magical. With this altered state, we can improve performance in sports, the arts or business, performing flawlessly and effortlessly, experiencing creativity and execution that is genius. We can turn off the experience of physical sensation, even pain, such as when we are having dental work done. We can improve physical health, acheiving with the mind what we used to think could only be done with drugs. We can set our mind on problem-solving in our sleep, so we wake up with a solution. We can set our mind to move toward goals in ways we are not even aware of, our “luck” improving as we come up with ideas we hadn’t thought of before and opportunities present themselves that are quite serendipitous.

It seems we tap into a source of energy and genius, a consciousness within ourselves, other than the ordinary one when we are not focused. In fact, some, like some who frame this experience as meditation, think that we become connected with a consciouness greater than our own. When we are focused like this, we access power and knowledge not available to us otherwise.

How We Prevent This “Higher Consciousness”

Simple. If you live in a way where you are constantly distracted, scattered and stressed, never giving yourself a chance to be quiet and alone without the chatter, you will never experience this higher consciousness. If you are constantly attentive to your smartphone, email, texts and newsfeeds, you’ll never discover what it is.

Before I discovered the benefit of arriving early and being alone in the quiet, I, like most others, came in to be greeted by the phones ringing and people needing my attention. Often times, before I knew it, it was noon. I had been busy, but it was like running in place. I was getting nowhere.

Today, people walk around with their smartphone going off all the time, calling for their attention every few seconds. They multitask, as if they were a computer, intentionally avoiding focusing on any one thing more than a second or two. I’ve been advised that smartphone users spend less than two seconds on most content, the attention span of a gnat. If that becomes habitual, we have someone unable to focus. It’s a case of learned attention deficit disorder.

In the past few years, we have created a lifestyle of being stressed and distracted rather than relaxed and focused. With this, we never experience that altered state of consciousness I was describing, or the accompanying phenomena that had been a regular part of life prior to being stressed and scattered.


Hans Selye is the doctor who was the first to demonstrate biological stress. He taught the world what it did to us physiologically. He defined stress as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”.

When you have to be ready to respond to a demand, you experience a state of tension, of physiological and psychological stress, a readiness to respond.Unrelieved, it can cause all sorts of problems. I discovered this in 1991 when I was one of the few people to walk around with a cell phone attached at the hip as an on-call crisis intervention counselor. Even when nothing was going on, if I was on-call, I knew the cell phone might sound and demand my attention at any moment. I was not relaxed for the entire time I made myself available to respond, even when I slept. When my shift was over and I was without the cell phone, only then could I relax. When I was at the beach where no one could interrupt me, I was able to experience an even greater relaxation, unavailable to all demands.

If you live a life with a device that calls your attention all the time, your body responds with every chirp or bing, and you live in a constant state of stress and distraction. If you have the phone next to the bed and you know it’s on and might sound, you live in a constant state of stress, even when you sleep. If you are scrolling through newsfeeds and multitasking through your day, you never focus on anything for more than a few seconds.

There is a good possibility that you have never experienced this state of consciousness I described that occurs when you are relaxed and focused, the magical “zone” that artists and athletes describe where they are inspired to create flawlessly, that meditators say you need for 20 minutes-a-day to perfect your health, to really heal in all ways. Not even for a second.

Getting relaxed and focused everyday, for as long as possible, can produce miracles. Being stressed and scattered can make you sick. That’s why getting relaxed and focused is so important. And people today are losing their ability to achieve it, living the way we do, always attentive to our devices, always multitasking, always distracted.

Get relaxed and focused every day, away from the world and its noise for a while. Make a habit of it. It could generate your miracles.

The Anderson Method Now Offered in Ft. Pierce and The Treasure Coast, Florida


I am happy to announce the appointment of my latest authorized provider of The Anderson Method, Debbie Hoeffner, LCSW, in Ft. Pierce, Florida.

Debbie completed her training as an Anderson Method provider in September 2017, and has already begun working successfully with clients in Ft. Pierce.

On her website, , she informs us that she also offers Rapid Resolution Therapy as a Certified RRT Practitioner, and Neurofeedback treatment for trauma with the Bio-Acoustical Utilization Device (BAUD), and describes herself and her practice in this way:

“I have a solid foundation as an experienced therapist in treating those with PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, and relationship issues.I welcome diversity into my practice. I enjoy working with individuals of all ages, couples, and families. With almost 20 years of experience, I am continually looking for new ways to effectively help those with mental health issues that may not have benefited from more traditional approaches. My intention is to aid in eliminating troubling emotions, sensations, and/or behaviors that you may have been having for weeks, months, or years. Our sessions are about uplifting, healing, and thriving!”

Here is Debbie’s contact information:

Debbie Hoeffner, LCSW
776 West Midway Rd.
Ft. Pierce, FL 34982
(772) 323-4134

Great calorie-tracking app!

One of my great readers, Marylou Hagerty,  just emailed me about this great site that offers the best calorie tracking software and apps she has ever seen. I took a quick look (after 30 years, it’s all automatic in my head) and it looks real good. Take a look.

Controlling Nighttime Eating

(Note: This article was submitted to me for publication on my blog, and while it does not precisely mirror my teaching, I think it is a worthwhile contribution. My inclusion of it here should not be taken as an endorsement of all that it suggests. – William Anderson, LMHC )

by Sandra Bankers

Many people often find themselves snacking at night, even if they are not feeling particularly hungry. Although we’ve mentioned in a previous TAM post that it doesn’t matter what time of the day you eat, eating late at night can still be problematic. More often than not, it can lead to you consuming more calories than you actually need.

Furthermore, Healthline specified that eating at night is connected with certain eating disorders. With that in mind, it’s easier to understand why it’s imperative to control your bedtime eating habits.

You need to remember is that there is often an underlying reason why you have an urge to eat even if you’re not hungry. Experience Life identified some common causes which include depriving yourself of food throughout the day; not having a set meal plan; or being used to eating at that time. The latter may also be stress-induced, or brought about by special instances such as family dinners.

In addition, lack of sleep and boredom may also trigger you to eat at odd times of the day, including late in the evening. The good news is that there’s a corresponding solution in line with the cause.

For most people, eating at night is something they’ve gotten used to over the years. Overeating is usually caused by developed habits so you will need to change your routine to get around this. Look for activities that you can do at this specific time instead of munching on food. For instance, you can read a book or watch a movie during the usual period where you eat to keep yourself distracted. Changing your behavior and mindset is at the heart of The Anderson Method and doing so will help you keep yourself from returning to your late-night eating habit, eventually helping you lose and/or maintain weight. Distracting yourself is also a good strategy if you find yourself snacking at night due to boredom or restlessness.

Likewise, if night-time eating is your way of bonding with your loved ones, you can simply look for other ways to have fun. For instance, you can spend the night bowling or playing miniature golf.

On the other hand, eating a lot because you deprived yourself of food during the day can easily be remedied by eating properly planned meals during the day. Fitness Magazine quotes Milton Strokes, the spokesperson of the American Dietetic Association, who clarified that “by shifting calories to the morning hours, you will ensure that your night-time cravings don’t have as much of a pull.” It’s a good idea to make a meal plan on what you will need throughout the day so you can be sure you are getting enough nutrients and sustenance.

Similarly, craving for food late at night because of lack of sleep can easily be remedied by getting at least 6 or 7 hours of sleep per day. According to Psychology Today, depriving yourself of sleep can trigger overeating, especially of fatty and high-calorie foods, so make sure you get sufficient sleep to avoid this from happening. It’s worth mentioning as well that there are also certain types of food and nutrients that can help you doze off. The better sleep guide on Leesa featured a list of elements which includes food rich in magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins. They have various effects on the body such as for relaxing muscles and nerves or inducing the release of the sleep hormone Melatonin. However, make sure to regulate the amount that you eat. Otherwise, you run the risk of gaining more weight.

Finally, if the reason for your eating at night is stress-related, one effective solution is to increase the amount of fiber and protein that you have at dinner. specified their benefits: the former helps you feel full, while the latter helps keep you from feeling hunger pangs even late at night.

Exercising is also a good option for you to combat stress. You can work out before heading home once you leave the office. This strategy can also help you tire yourself out so you can fall asleep more easily.

Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Lose Weight


February 2017 is absolutely the best time in history for you to permanently solve your weight problem. Here’s why:

1) Summer is coming!

If you start now, you can lose 30 to 70 pounds or more by the time your summer vacation starts. Whether you use my method or some other science-based approach, count on a much happier summer, feeling slim with a new outfit or two, a spring in your step and vacation photos you feel good about. Don’t put it off. Read some of my clients’ and readers’ comments about my method and my book and audiobook to see what I’m talking about.

2) There are more low-calorie, great-tasting foods available than ever before. The marketplace is exploding with new products to make weight loss easier.

The food industry has stepped up to the plate (no pun intended) and done a great job answering our demand for food and services to help us lose weight, maximizing enjoyment and convenience and eliminating the sense of deprivation.

Today we have Lean Cuisine, Smart Ones and Healthy Choice frozen dinners, all around 300 calories — easy, tasty and low calorie meals when we are too tired or rushed to fix something. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’s spray makes vegetables taste great with almost no calories. Walden Farms makes dressings without calories so we can have a scrumptious salad and save our calories for meat and potatoes. Egg Beaters makes it so we can have twice the scrambled eggs for the same calories and Hellman’s makes it so we can have sandwiches with mayo without breaking the budget. Splenda helps us have rich coffee in the morning without wasting lots of calories on sugar, and diet soda lets us have something besides water with lunch and during the day without worrying about how many calories we’re getting.

Restaurants are putting the caloric values on their menus, making it much easier to eat out. They are also offering more and more items to fit the caloric requirements to lose weight. I used to avoid eating out because it was such a pain to try to figure out the calories at restaurants –it was so much easier to eat at home. Now I can enjoy eating out without the stress and without gaining weight. There has never been a time like this before. It’s the perfect time to lose weight.

3) No festive holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s to throw you off track.

No explanation necessary.

4) We live in a time of easy access to all the qualified information and assistance you need.

Because of the recent intense focus on the obesity epidemic, we are seeing more legitimate research on weight loss than any time in history. There has never been a better time to lose weight. Good scientific information is as close as your laptop or smartphone, as long as you are careful about the validity of the information.

Technology itself can be a tremendous help. Many of my clients are now using their smartphones to track their calories. They love it. There are hundreds of apps available to download and many are free. This terrific help probably did not even exist the last time you seriously tried to solve your weight problem.

5) You are smarter, more knowledgeable, more mature, stronger, more determined and better equipped than the last time you tried to lose weight.

The “you” that exists today knows a lot more than the old you, not just in facts, which is true, but in wisdom and maturity too. You’ve tried and failed in the past, and learned things that cannot be learned any other way. When I finally solved my weight problem, losing over 100 pounds for good, my success was due largely to what I had learned from all my failed attempts.

When we were childish, we wanted someone else to solve our weight problem for us, but no one else can. We wanted to lose the weight without doing the work and giving up what stands in the way. You know differently now. With what you know today, and what you can learn this spring, this is the perfect time to lose weight. That day has come.

Order my book The Anderson Method, or call one of my therapists for one-on-one training, and get started now.