Promise over Goals: Ways to Trick your Mind
One question that makes the mind squirm with ideas and fantasies is: ‘What’s my goal in life?’ Of course, having life goals is a lengthy, detailed process. We can also have short term goals, such as, ‘Tomorrow onwards, I’ll wake up early and exercise’ or something more serious like, ‘I’ll apply for my dream job and make sure I land it.’
So, what is a goal?
Goals, as we can see, are much like New Year’s Resolutions. We envision something that we want to achieve and work towards it; goals are something we really want. This desire to accomplish it gives us the strength and the drive to work towards our ambition. But it is not as simple as it appears.
Achieving goals is roughly a three step process
- Envision the target
- Work Hard
- Attain the goal
The tricky part lies with the third step: attaining your goal. We may set a goal for ourselves, we may work hard towards it, but there are two ways it can go after that: success or failure. And often, it is the fear of failure that holds us back from giving our best. It’s not rare that under the pressure of have-to-do-that, we get flustered and mess up a perfect opportunity. Later, this becomes an excuse for the failure because the word ‘goal’ itself conditions us to the existence of two possibilities regarding it: success or failure. The ‘goal’ metaphor if examined, stands as: we may shoot, aiming for the target, but probability condition stand that the target may or may not be hit.
The subconscious of our mind is a mechanism, the priority of which is essentially self-preservation. And it tries to protect our consciousness from experiencing the pain of failure and the disappointment of high hopes being crumbled. So, now does it make sense? Why we chicken out on fulfilling our set goals midway?
But there’s a simple way to bypass this problem- by tricking the subconscious itself into urging the consciousness to work towards the desired result and almost guaranteed success. What is that?
Promises: a simple alternative to goals
When we promise to do something it’s more likely that we’ll succeed because the basic concept of promise appeals to our value system, the moral principles and the codes of honour we follow as a part of the civilized human society.
Why do promises mean more to us?
- We link Promises to Emotions
Once we promise something to someone, or ourselves, it primarily and essentially stems from a profound emotional attachment to the person concerned, and an even deeper sense of responsibility. Due to this, a promise in our subconscious becomes a high priority client.
- Promises have a High Success Rate!
Despite what the cynic in you says, promises do have a higher success rate in relation to that of goals. Be truthful now, haven’t you come across at least one person at some point of time or the other in life who always keeps every promise he/she makes? You have, right? Well, such examples restore our faith in promises being kept, and also warms us up to the simple yet astounding fact that promises can have up to 100% success rate!
In general, we keep the promises we make, and our mind knows that. Unlike in case of goals, where we are preconditioned to be aware and conscious of the possibility of failure, our subconscious takes for granted from our history of keeping promises, that we are going to continue doing that. So, in order to maintain the winning streak, it strives to fulfil the promises we make each time.
- Promises kick the subconscious into working towards Success
We often consider our goals to be lofty ambitions of unachievable dreams that we have to attain. This triggers the subconscious to go into a self-preservation mode and often it prevents us from doing our best for the fear of possible failure and the consequent disappointment.
In case of promises, however, the subconscious goes all out to help us fulfil it, because if we’re unable to keep the promise made to someone, our entire system of honour and values would be disturbed; moreover we would be embarrassed or unhappy about making someone else sad by not keeping our promise. The subconscious wishes to avoid all of this and thereby clears the path to success.
It all boils down to the fact that promises are closer to our passions and don’t have the ring of formality that goals carry. Isn’t it easier to work towards achieving something that’s closer to our heart than towards something that only has a dry success as the end result? Think about it… try it out.