You hear people say, “Dreams can inspire you, but goals can change your life.” I would suggest that it would be more beneficial to combine them, because each use opposite sides of the brain, which can enhance the results.
When you set a goal, it has been shown that by writing it down you are more likely to succeed because you are clarifying it, plus logically making the decision that you are going to achieve it and when (left side of the brain).
Daydreaming, or visualising, about your goal and what it feels like to have achieved it, allows you to really embed it in your mind, like creating a ‘future memory’. (using the right side of the brain) Studies have shown that doing this actually helps create new, neural pathways. Allowing yourself to daydream creatively and emotively can also result in spontaneous insights, which can then help you as you pursue the goal. This can also then create the on-going drive for you to believe in your goal and therefore to persist until you succeed.
Andy Murray’s success yesterday, when he won the men’s Wimbledon championship, came from setting his goal many years ago. In fact Tom Daley, the UK high board diver, actually drew a picture of himself winning a medal in the 2013 Olympics when he was just 9 years old. However, just as with all elite athletes, they will have dreamed of those goals over and over, providing them with the determination to keep persevering until they finally did succeed.
Using goals and daydreaming to resolve your pain
Whether you like the idea of setting goals or not, if you want to become pain free, that is a goal! So why not accept that, write it down and then daydream about being pain free? Really visualise it, FEEL how wonderful it is, really imagining that it’s happening right now. If you are in so much pain that it’s difficult to do this, imagine a time when you were happy/content/compassionate/excited and then, when you can really ‘feel’ how that felt, change the image to doing something in the future and imprint that emotion with this future ‘memory’. The more you do this and the more emotive the daydream, the more likely you will in time overcome the conditioned response of pain related to the future and the more you build new, more healthy, nerve pathways.
In an interview Andy mentioned how much he had learned from his loss in the finals last year. This is the same for any journey to achieve a goal, so when you face challenges along the way, deal with them and then look at what you have learned from them because this can progress.
Sometimes it does feel like a wall and people get sucked down into believing that they will never recover, but that in itself creates the inner turmoil that fuels the pain cycle. Acknowledge how you feel, but then put things into perspective, look at what you have learned and then focus on your goal again and visualise yourself having just broken through another barrier to your success and BELIEVE you will achieve it.
These blogs can only touch on some of the understanding and strategies that are included in the on-line SIRPA Recovery Programme, so do take a look and see whether you feel this might help you as you work to achieve your own goals.