The “Almost There” Syndrome
I had a roommate that cleaned the kitchen to near perfection but left a couple of plates hanging. I didn’t get it.
My buddy had a genius (albeit quirky) approach. By leaving a tiny something undone, he was ensuring a constant stream of good feelings. It felt better to not finish than to finish. He didn’t want to leave the project undone. He did want to feel good about it.
The Satisfaction of Half-Hanging Shirts
I had a eureka moment staring at a shirt halfway out of my laundry hamper. Weirdly satisfying. I felt good about it. I felt better about it than if I completed the task. I pondered, and it hit me – it’s not just about completing the task, but about how completing it makes us feel.
Am I going to bet on a good feeling from finishing the laundry task, or will I feel bad or the same? Most likely, it will be in the hamper. I won’t see it again, or think of it again. I’ll get no trophy.
Fear of not feeling the triumph we crave actually holds us back from finishing. Think about it. We stall because we’re worried that the joy of accomplishment might not hit the mark.
“What if I flop the shirt all the way in the basket and it doesn’t feel any better?” This is an instantaneous micro-thought in my subconscious that tells me, “Danger! Don’t finish it. Things might suck!”
And… you know what? If I put the shirt all the way in the hamper, my reward is that everyone (including me) will expect me to do that every time.
The Brilliant Pivot
Now, brace yourselves for the game-changer – emotional goals. Rather than fighting against our innate desire for emotional gratification, why not channel that energy into something productive?
Step one: Identify the emotional goals that hinder progress. Those sneaky fears of “what if I finish and don’t feel good enough?” Yeah, those.
Step two: Flip the script. We’re talking “I want to feel awesome about acing this task” instead of “I want to finish this task”.
The Fabulous Four-to-One Ratio
Here’s the golden rule: For every unhelpful emotional goal, plant four helpful ones. So, if we’re tackling the living room clutter, our emotional goals might be:
- Feel accomplished for taking on the mess.
- Experience satisfaction knowing you can now relax in a tidy space.
- Empower ourself to move on to your next creative endeavor.
- Revel in pride for setting an example for friends and family.
Channeling Fear into Triumph
In the end, it’s all about translating those nagging fears into productive motivation. Instead of letting them hold us hostage, we’re flipping the script and turning them into catalysts for success.
Harness that energy, set emotional goals, and make every project a thrilling journey.
Together, we’ll conquer tasks with a newfound gusto, armed with emotional goals that bring us joy, satisfaction, and the exhilarating sensation of a job well done!