We suspect the majority of us have unfulfilled goals? Now, whether that’s simply getting around to clearing out the spare room, sorting out our paperwork or taking the plunge to change careers to something more fulfilling, most of us have things that we will “do one day”.
But did you know that research has shown that unfulfilled goals persist in the mind, you could define it as occasionally nagging! But the brain reminds us of our goal and focuses on finding ways to achieve it.
So, even if you think that you’ve forgotten that goal, your mind has kept it active in the subconscious and will look for opportunities to fulfil it!
A couple of clever chaps called Masicamp and Baumeister set up a series of studies to investigate this. They discovered that having an unfinished goal caused intrusive thoughts, that in turn caused problems with tasks associated with logical thinking. Basically, it mucked things up a bit in the brain!
But, if we take time to make plans to achieve the goal, this helps us. Those who acted on their plans and made attempts to fulfil their goals found that they had a clearer head and were no longer bothered by intrusive thoughts.
Interestingly, the very act of planning appeared not only to suspend the mind’s drive to achieve the goal, it reduced intrusive thoughts and freed up the mind for other uses.
Our lives are usually filled with plenty of choices and, sometimes, the more choices we have the more complicated life can become. This is especially the case if we’re dithering on something as simple as clearing out the spare room or sitting down to have a cup of tea! Is the world going to stop spinning if we don’t choose one over the other? The simple answer to that is “No”. However, we can benefit greatly from making a straight forward choice and ‘getting on with it’.
In order to help the brain release a bit of pressure and become more relaxed, it’s good to make a decision and ‘get on with it’ whenever possible. As we know, the actual doing something is frequently far easier than the thinking about it.
So, as we hopefully move forward into calmer times, look at what you can cross off your to-do list that either isn’t worthy of worrying about or has become out of date. Then look at what is left, and what can you move forward with that will make a nice difference to you once it’s been achieved and look at how you can ‘get on with it’.
By the way, there’s rather a good course that we’re running starting in Edinburgh this September. Plenty of our graduates may have dithered about signing up to it in the past, but we hear they were exceptionally pleased they did ‘get on with it’ and make that positive choice once they arrived at that very first course weekend!