Live by “Themes” Rather than “Goals”?

Is Goal Setting a Recipe for Failure?

Every time I set myself a goal I usually set myself up for failure.  I started out doing a PhD with the idea that it would take me three years and in the end it took me six years and a lot more time, money, sweat and tears.  I wrote a book about my experiences.  That seems quite typical in my life.  Another goal I had was to reach 86 Kgs weight by a certain date.  I started at about 110Kgs or more.  In the end I reached 86.7kgs (late) but never reached the 86Kgs.  I felt like I had failed at that goal when I really had won… If my theme was to live and eat healthily then I had clearly won.  Because I had set such a specific number and not reached it I had felt I had failed. My theme was health and fitness.

If I look at my first quarter 2017 goals I am way off track.  I am still working on the goals (which were supposed to be finished in 2016!) but they are just taking much longer and are much harder than planned.  I feel like I am getting nowhere!  How is your progress on your 2017 goals or your new year’s resolutions?  Are you off track or are things taking much longer than you expected?  I think many of the problems in goal setting go back to the planning fallacy which I discussed in an article on this website.  As human beings we just tend to be over-optimistic about how long things take and also over-optimistic on the benefits of achieving a goal.

On this website I have promoted a programme by the Goals Guy, Gary Ryan Blair, called the 100 Day Challenge.  I learned a lot from this programme and I enjoyed it and I still recommend it. However just be aware that there is also a downside to the programme as well.  If you fail to achieve your goals in 100 days (highly likely and happened to me) you are left feeling a bit like a looser…..that is not what anyone wants. You can be left a little stressed and unhappy – I missed my goals what is wrong with me?  The danger when you consistently fail to reach goals is that you will become despondent and give up trying every day.

Another big problem with goals is tunnel vision.  You get so focused on your goals that you don’t see opportunities staring you in the face.  You are not able to see or respond to new opportunities as they arise.  You are too focused on your goal.

I recently came across an idea from a guy called James Altucher.  I have probably mentioned him before on this website (by the way he produces a great monthly report, which I subscribe to, on new innovations/technology and how we can benefit).  I realise that so much of what I have written on this website is about goal setting and encouraging people to set goals.  But what if goal setting is a bit of a trap?  When I reflect on my own life I have never really achieved any goals I have set.  I mentioned that my PhD took double the time.  Also the benefits of attaining that goal have not materialised as expected.  Another goal I had set was to publish a self-help book.  I eventually achieved that goal too – much tougher and longer than anticipated.  I struggled on that book,  ‘Experiments in Personal Change’, for perhaps one and a half years.  However in the end very few people have read the book probably because I am not that good at marketing.  I am very happy with the book though and I am actually reading it again myself at the moment to find renewed inspiration for my own life.  That’s neat – read your own self-help book for advice!

Anyway to get back to the topic, the idea of setting themes instead of goals is interesting.  If I say that I am going to reach x weight by May 1st it kinda sets me up for failure.  Therefore decide what you want to do everyday and then do it.  I write every day – I am working on another book project.  But this time I don’t have a goal of when to finish the book – I just write everyday for at least one hour.  The book will be ready when its ready.  I also try to be creative every day – Altucher has an exercise to write 10 creative ideas every day on any topic you wish.  You are exercising and developing your own creative muscle.  I also meditate everyday – I want to train my mind to be present.  What is most important is that I act every day and then I let go of the results.  The results can take care of themselves.  My job is just to be present, show up to my own life and then to do/be present each and every day.

On reflection I agree with Altucher to a large extent.  I will opt from now on for themes with one or two very specific goals where it makes sense and is attainable.  There is no point putting myself  under pressure for nothing and ending up feeling like a failure when I am actually winning.

Are you Afraid of Self-Hypnosis?

Build your understanding of the human mind


I completed a course in clinical hypnotherapy in 2012 and it was probably the most interesting and the most useful course I have ever done in my life.   I have undertaken quite a few courses in my time including 2 masters degrees and a PhD.  It is amazing that you can go through the education system and not be taught anything about how your own mind works.  That is certainly the case in the Irish educational system that I went through.   What I learned about my own mind and the minds of others from the hypnosis course is the type of knowledge that is applicable in everyday life.  You see, we think that we are logical human beings, but research in neuroscience by people such as Antonio Damasio shows that decisions are made with emotions and not with logic (look at Brexit and the election of Donald Trump – did voters decide with logic or emotion?).  Emotion is the language of the subconscious mind and hypnosis is an effective tool to communicate with your own subconscious mind. I have experienced the powerful benefits of hypnosis myself when I effectively used hypnosis to lose weight.  I was at a point of despair with my weight and felt that I had no control over myself and what I ate.  I just could not stop myself eating cakes, crisps and other treats.  I ballooned to 113kgs (nearly 18 stone).  However I learned to break free of eating junk food using self-hypnosis.  The wonderful thing about hypnosis is that you can eat anything you want and still lose weight!  That sentence is not a joke and is absolutely true.  With hypnosis you will no more desire to eat cakes or sweets, chocolate or ice cream than you now have a desire to eat cardboard.  It is hard to believe that this could be true. Believe me it is true!  You can read more about my experience of losing weight using hypnosis in a free report I created.  The report also contains a link to a free self -hypnosis weight loss audio.  Click Here!

Stage Hypnosis 

I don’t like stage hypnosis at all because it gives hypnosis in general a bad name.  You may see people barking like a dog etc. and you might have images in your heard of a swinging watch.  There are movies where subjects are programmed to become assassins etc.  This is all a load of baloney and is entertainment.  In hypnosis you are in complete control.  In self-hypnosis you listen to a recording in a relaxed state.  In a state of relaxation the ideas in the recording will enter your sub-conscious mind.  It is easy and completely safe.   At the end of the day all hypnosis is self-hypnosis – you relax and allow the suggestions to wash over you.  If you have never experienced Self- Hypnosis before then why not try out my weight loss audio now for free.

Hypnosis is Natural

Almost all of us, if not all, have at one time or another experienced light hypnosis. In fact, in some respects we experience a version of this everyday.  Have you every driven somewhere but cannot recall the journey.  Your mind had wandered off and you were daydreaming as you drove.  Have you been to the movies and just got totally absorbed.  Its almost as if you are in the movie and the world around you (the cinema) fades into the background.

By some definitions we are all under hypnosis all the time.  In other words we don’t see what is real but we see our own version of reality that we create in our own heads.  Are we aware what drives our thinking? We assume we are rational human beings but this is not the case.

Free Hypnosis Course

There is a company in the UK who produce self hypnosis audios.  I really like their material which is high quality.  They have a free 5 day course on hypnosis which I highly recommend and which I have taken myself.  If this subject interests you then there is no excuse.  You will learn a lot about yourself and others from this course.  Please click here to watch a video about the free course.

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” – Henry Ford

PS.  Politics! I have been enjoying Scott Adam’s take on the US elections and understanding Donald Trump.  Scott Adams created the Dilbert cartoon strip and he is also well versed in hypnosis.  Scott predicted Trump’s win when most people thought he was crazy including myself.  He calls Trump the master persuader and he certainly is.  Trump uses mass persuasion techniques.  Will any of us forget the mental image he created of the ‘wall’? This big, beautiful wall that Mexico would supposedly pay for.  Trump was inviting us on a mental journey  – to engage our imaginations to create a mental picture of the wall and that to me looks a lot like hypnosis.  Also who can forget how he finished off his rivals for the Republican nomination.  Take for example Jeb Bush who was finished off by Trump with the label ‘low-energy’.  This is what is know as a  “linguistic kill shot,” in which Trump used an engineered set of words that changes or ends an argument decisively.   If you would like to read more on this have a look at a Forbes Magazine article from November 2015 ‘Donald Trump, Political Mass Hypnotist?’  If you want to understand the new US president and the new world we find ourselves in maybe its time you learn more about hypnosis by taking the free course from Uncommon Knowledge as a first step.