Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Non-Conscious Goals Can Put You In A Bad Mood

When is the last time you’ve been in a bad mood and you don’t know why… or how you got there?

If you’ve heard me speak or visited me for a session, I have talked a lot about how our brains are usually on a preset program that is buried deep inside. We have no idea what program is running. It doesn't think. You can't talk to it. It can't talk to you, but in a later article I'll show you how to modify it.

Non Verbal Programming

The program that is causing this bad mood doesn’t let you consciously know in words what it is or why it’s running.

Somewhat might ask, "Why are you in such a bad mood?"

You answer, "Um, I don't know...I just am."


Someone might ask, "Why are you so happy?"

You answer, "I don't know...I just feel good."

Have these questions and answers ever occurred in your life?

Other people see you blue or full of joy and wonder how you got that way. They develop an opinion about you (good or bad) and YOU (the conscious you that is reading this) had ZERO control over that mood. You had ZERO control over the feeling.


This part of our brain is the same part that spawns reactions in the higher brain which in turn causes us to say something really stupid or unkind (or kind and brilliant – which we seem to forget quite easily.)

"You're a pain in the neck."

And then the other person looks at you, says something equally rude and then storms away or continues a fight.

And you say....

"I didn't really mean that."

And consciously (the part that is reading this) is telling the truth.

You certainly didn't anticipate that, but your non-conscious mind interacted with feelings which caused the verbal part of your brain to activate and shoot out words in a language that your conscious understands.

So Who or What is In Charge?

A lot of relationships, including marriages and business deals would be saved if we all recognized that we aren't in charge of all our thoughts (nor the words we use to others) all of the time. (Never thought you’d see this coming from me, did you?)

In general, about two seconds after you’ve stuck your foot in your mouth or you’ve said something really rude, the brain starts to catch up with the words that are coming out of your mouth and the other person is now hearing, your conscious mind generally becomes aware of what has just happened.

You’re stunned by your own words. How could you have said THAT? You think I’m full of it? It’s now being scientifically proven that we’re not always in charge. Keep reading.

And why didn’t you stop yourself before you said what you said? Because your non-conscious, is, non-conscious. It doesn't think, talk or rationalize. Yet, we go through most of our days in a non-conscious mode (the backseat driver).

Is This Preventable?

That's the daunting question. For most people it can be preventable. But you also need to remember that the non-conscious mind doesn't accept verbal instruction, can't make promises and doesn't have an interest in the other person's welfare. It's totally reactionary.

So what about your moods? A researcher at Ohio State University found that such negative "mystery moods" can occur when people fail at a goal that they didn't even know they had.

Tanya Chartrand, assistant professor of psychology, said such non-conscious goals can have significant effects on how we feel and act, and even on how well we achieve other goals.

"If you succeed at a goal you didn't know you had, you're in a good mood and don't know why," Chartrand said. "But if you fail at a non-conscious goal, you're put into this negative, mystery mood."

Chartrand discussed her recent research in Toronto at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Society.

What is a Non-conscious Goal?

"Non-conscious goals are goals that people have frequently and consistently chosen in particular situations in the past - so much so that they eventually become triggered automatically in those same environments without their conscious thought or even intent," Chartrand explained.


For example, young people who begin attending parties may start by very consciously thinking about how to best present themselves to others, and carefully monitor how they act and what they say. Over time, the features of the party environment become linked in memory with the goals of presenting themselves well. In time, the goals become non-conscious and are triggered automatically every time they go to a party.

Eventually, Chartrand said, they may not even realize they have a goal when they attend a party - but they do.

Chartrand has conducted a several studies examining what happens to people when they succeed or fail at these non-conscious goals.

In one study Chartrand conducted, 109 college students were given a scrambled sentence task in which they had to rearrange a series of words to make a sentence. In some cases, the students were "primed" to have a success goal by using words like "strive," "achieve," and "succeed."

Other students were given neutral words that would not inspire an achievement goal.

Next, the same students were given a timed anagram task in which they had to rearrange the letters of words to create new words. The students were given either an easy anagram task in which success was assured, or a hard task that was impossible to successfully complete.

All the students then completed a questionnaire that measured their moods.


Results showed that, for participants primed with an achievement goal, those who were given the easy test reported being in a better mood than those who were given the hard test.

But, for participants who were not primed to have an achievement goal, there were no mood differences between those who had the easy test and those who had the hard test.

"We set up the experiment so some participants would have a goal of succeeding at the anagram task - even though they didn't consciously know they had such a goal," Chartrand said. "For these participants, their mood was affected by whether they succeeded or failed. For the other participants, success or failure didn't have an impact on their mood."

In a second study, Chartrand found that failing at non-conscious goals not only had negative affects on mood - it also hurt performance.

In this study, participants who were primed to have an achievement goal and then failed at an anagram task did worse on a standardized verbal test than did participants who succeeded at the task.

Other studies by Chartrand suggest, though, that participants who fail at non-conscious goals may sometimes be inspired to do better on subsequent performance tests.

"The key is that non-conscious goals can affect both mood and performance," she said.

What are the Effects?

Chartrand said other research she has conducted shows that ‘people who fail at non-conscious goals try to bolster their self-esteem by stereotyping or disparaging others.’

"If you fail at a conscious goal, you know why you're in a bad mood. But if you fail at a non-conscious goal you don't know why you're in this mystery mood and you're more likely to stereotype others to help enhance your self-esteem."

Chartrand said non-conscious goals play an important role in everyday life. For example, many students may have non-conscious achievement goals that affect how they act in school. Employees may have similar goals at work.

The Pervasiveness of Non-conscious Goals

"Non-conscious goal pursuit is incredibly pervasive because it saves us cognitive resources," she said. "If we constantly had to think about what we want to accomplish in every particular situation, we wouldn't be able to do anything else.

"We are succeeding and failing at these non-conscious goals all the time," she said. "Research is beginning to show how this affects our moods, the way we perform, and the judgments we make about others. It's incredibly important."

Monday, November 12, 2007

Three Principles of Goal Setting

Here is a certainty: What you think about, your more likely to achieve. If you focus on what you don't want, you might get it anyway. There is nothing metaphysical about this. Again, it's simple science. Whatever images and feelings you put in your brain are the only servings of information your mind can employ to direct you toward or away from a goal. For example, if you have a fear of public speaking, you’re mind will manifest memories and situations in which you have felt fearful in public or see others as confident so that your own fear can build on itself.

Have you ever noticed that when you are thinking of choices that are neither fear enhancing nor which you are deeply passionate about, you have a very different outcome. Your mind catches these images and you find that you move toward them.

There are some basic principles to help you achieve your goals without scattering yourself in too many direction.

Principle 1: You need to be attached emotionally to what it is you desire.

When you think of a particular goal, do you feel excited, calm, or passionate about it? Is it a goal that you want for yourself or is it something someone is pushing to explore? Does any fear come up when you think about what life will be like when you achieve your goal? (e.g. more responsibility).

Principle 2: Where you put your attention determines what your outcome will be.
Do you plan on exercising today, Monday, or next week? Are you excited about that or are you feeling that it will take up too much time and you resent it. You’re not going to accomplish a goal by resenting a part of it.

Principle 3: Place your attention on goals that you can accomplish in a short amount of time. We are instant gratification junkies. Work with it.

Long term goals are good, however, break them down into tasks that are more manageable.
Short term goals are useful for jumpstarting a project and evaluating how you are doing. Short term goals can help you understand whether or not you still want your original goal or do you need to improve upon it?

Long-term goals are not all that persuasive or motivational for most people. Everyone knows they want to make a lot of money or they should save $25,000 or more per year from now until retirement so they can retire. Less than 1% will actually do what they need. They will instead do what they want.

Instead, focus on getting your short term goals accomplished. Things you can do today, this week, this month. You’ll see quicker results and access the motivation to keep going.
Also, remember that deadlines can be good. However, they can also cause strain. If you do make a deadline for yourself, make a backup plan if something occurs and you can’t make it. We naturally want to accomplish tasks in a minimum amount of time. We don’t think about kids getting sick, us getting sick or having to take an unexpected trip.

Allow yourself to be able to adjust your timelines to things that happen in life. That way you won’t be tempted to give up.

Goal setting is a good way to start and complete projects. By mapping your success in short term processes, you can become a master to your destiny.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Michigan Woman Conquers Fear of Flying in One Hour

Fears and phobias can stifle a person’s enjoyment of their life. These fears and phobias make people miss out on the highlights of life such as job opportunities, social events, and vacations. Amy Hale, Certified Hypnotherapist and owner of Changing Lanes in Plymouth, Michigan, has helped scores of people get through their fears and phobias and start enjoying their life to the fullest. One recent client, Staci Dobson conquered her fear of flying in just one session and is now traveling for business and pleasure without the paralyzing anxiety that used to accompany her during airplane travel.

The fear of flying had not always engulfed Staci Dobson, it came upon her gradually. Ms. Dobson enjoyed many trips by airplane earlier in her life, but anxiety slowly started to grip her as she thought about upcoming trips; it became unbearable for her to board a plane. When an important business trip was scheduled for July, Ms. Dobson sought out the services of Amy Hale. Hearing success stories about the power of hypnotherapy and Ms. Hale in particular, Ms. Dobson was confident she had found a solution to her fears.

“After our first and only session, I was immediately more confident and more at peace within regarding thoughts of flying,” exclaims Ms. Dodson. She continues, “On my trip in July, I started feeling a bit anxious approaching the airport, then I started employing the techniques Amy taught me and immediately felt more relaxed. Going through the doors of the airport, walking up toward the gate, and boarding the airplane, I just kept feeling a calmness overcome me. This was the most enjoyable flight I’ve ever taken. Now I can travel with my husband to new and exciting destinations and enjoy my life without being paralyzed by fear.”

“Like many people, Staci lived with a fear that held her back,” Ms. Hale comments. “More and more people are finding that hypnotherapy is a powerful and transformative tool, helping them make the changes that they want in their lives. People can often get their life back in as little as one or two sessions.”

About Changing Lanes and Amy Hale
Amy Hale has been helping people conquer their fears and works with other medical concerns since 2002 and is located at 340 N. Main St., Suite 212 in Plymouth, Michigan. Services provided include help for medical concerns, smoking cessation, pain management, anxiety disorders, and much more. Amy Hale can be reached through her website at http://www.changinglanes.com