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What do you Want?






What do you want?

I have lost count of how many times I have heard (and asked) this question in the run up to Xmas. While its been shown to be positive to have something to work towards, wanting “stuff” can be problematic. Arrival fallacy is a concept that explains how setting and achieving goals can actually lead to feeling a void, when you get what you wanted the expectation of feeling good doesn’t match the experience and doesn’t last very long.

The dopamine hit on the brain wears off and you constantly need more and more. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have goals, you have probably reached goals in the past and felt fantastic. You have probably also set goals you didn’t achieve and NLP based coaching is excellent for consistently setting and achieving the goals you really value. Here are just a few things to consider…


1. Notice if you catch yourself delaying happiness. You know, that habit of saying to yourself “Ill be happier when I get the [ENTER “THING” HERE e.g., get the new car, house, job etc]”. Happiness is a state not a goal. You can have unlimited happiness right now, whereas goals involve action and time.


2. Elicit your values. Our values are what is most important to us. They determine how we spend our time and provide motivation to take action, as well as guiding our own evaluation of our actions. When we act out of alignment with our values we experience it as a feeling e.g., boredom, anger, frustration. All clues that we are out of sync with what is most important to us.


3. Recognise what gives you happiness as opposed to pleasure. Pleasure is usually a short-term feeling arising from a dopamine hit. Sometimes the pleasurable “thing” ultimately makes you less happy. You know, that packet of biscuits, the spending spree you can’t afford, the extra Netflix episode when you have an early start. Psychologist Daniel Kahenman calls this “The two selves”, the experiencing (or in the moment) self, and the “remembering” self where we look back on a fulfilling experience. Happiness and fulfilment, as opposed to pleasure, are characterised by time, effort and frequently discomfort when you have to overcome an obstacle. Think about a time you achieved something totally and completely fulfilling. Was it all easy? I’m guessing it wasn’t easy, and it took hard work and persistence which didn’t always feel pleasurable in the moment, but was ultimately way more satisfying?


4. Say it how you want it. In the past I have sometimes found it very hard to answer what I want, often finding it much easier to say what I don't want e.g., I don't want to gain weight, I don’t want to feel bored, I don’t want to feel anxious in certain situations...The trouble is that behaviour happens in the unconscious mind, and the unconscious mind can't process a negative. For example, if I tell you not to think of a red balloon, you have to think of a red balloon to not think of a red balloon. In the same way, saying what you don't want unconsciously leads you to it. So in NLP, we focus on our outcomes, because when we say it how we want it, we are giving clear and specific instructions for our unconscious minds to follow. There are also loads of techniques to define very specifically what you want and the action you will take to achieve your goal, and a quick one to turn what you don’t’ want into what you do want is to ask yourself “what do I want instead?”.


5. Learn your strategy. We have strategies for everything we do e.g., we have a strategy we run for feeling motivated, and for making decisions. A few months ago, I was lucky enough to learn my buying strategy from some NLP friends, and now I know that if I take someone shopping with me, it stops me completing my buying strategy so I can’t buy things impulsively.


Are you getting what you want in your life? If not, NLP based coaching is an excellent way to work out what you want instead, and find the quickest route to achieving it, or even sooner than that! I currently have some limited evening and weekend coaching appointments available for clients who have decided they want to make a change in their life. Get in touch now, to find out how we can work together to get what you really want.

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