If we were being secretly observed by alien beings from afar, what would they be likely to notice about us first? Close to the top of the list is likely to be the fact that our evolutionary development has been lopsided. Our highly developed forebrains have enabled us to form complex and distant goals. But, with 99% of the same genetic makeup as our closest monkey cousins, the chimpanzees, our ability to regulate our emotions and behavior well enough to achieve those goals frequently falls short of our aspirations. As we work toward the goal we have chosen, without yet having the rewards of success to keep us going, we experience a considerable amount of craving, frustration, and annoyance -- especially if we have to work directly against other sources of pleasure in order to get to our goal. If we smoke, for example, we know that smoking could take years away from our lives but we want that cigarette! If we are trying to lose weight, we know how much healthier and more attractive we would feel if we could stick to the diet we have chosen -- but we want that extra dessert!
How to Create Winning Goals
Phyllis Dilller with Claude Bristol's The Magic of Believing
So we try to use “will power” in an attempt to spur ourselves onward. We tell ourselves how important the goal really is, congratulating ourselves when we are able to stay on track, and mentally “beating ourselves up” when we don’t work as hard we think we ought to. We attempt to bridge this time gap between present efforts and future sources of satisfaction when we daydream about a goal which we desire very much. But for most of us, daydreams still do not capture the full richness of the rewards which will one day be ours -- if only we can persist long enough to get there! Autosuggestion, "Positive thinking," affirmations, visualization, and fantasy techniques often don't help very much either, because they also don't do enough to involve the whole person in the satisfactions of goal attainment. Eventually, even though our long-term goal remains as attractive as ever, if our efforts yield little short-term satisfaction and encouragement from other sources along the way, our motivation begins to falter, and sooner or later we give up. But hyperempiria, or suggestion-enhanced experience, is the journey that makes the destination worthwhile!
By projecting clients mentally to a point in the future when their goal has already been attained, they will have access to the rewards of these future goals now, in the present, when they are most needed for motivation; and they will be able to act, think, and feel as if it were impossible to fail!
The Best Me Technique (Gibbons, 2010) is a method of suggestion-enhanced experience (hyperempiria) for involving the whole person in the content of a suggested event, which enables those who are properly trained in this procedure to experience now, in the present and in concentrated form, the rewards and satisfactions which would not normally be theirs until a goal has been achieved. This in turn can provide the motivational fuel to pursue whatever goal we may have chosen, no matter how distant or difficult that goal might otherwise appear.
Each element of the Best Me Technique corresponds with a dimension of experience (Beliefs, Emotions, Sensations and physical perceptions, Thoughts and images, Motives, and Expectations); and these elements can be combined in a variety of ways. In the hyperempiric episode which follows, the Best Me Technique is used to pre-experience the rewards of a graduation ceremony in order to enhance the motivation to purseue a course of study leading to an academic degree. However, the Best Me Technique can also be used to as part of a comprehensive program to enhance performance in other areas, such as athletics, music, dance, and theater or, as previously mentioned, as part of a program to lose weight or become a non-smoker, or to rid oneself of other forms of addiction.
The suggestions are presented in B-E-S-T-M-E order for the sake of illustration; but in actual use, Best Me suggestions may be repeated in any order and varied and repeated as often as necessary in order to maximize involvement with their content, much as one might repeat the verses and choruses of a song. Rather than memorizing a specific set of suggestions or reading them to the client as a script, I usually count out the steps of the Best Me Technique on my fingers as I am improvising an induction or a therapeutic suggestion, going back and forth to make sure that I have adequately covered them all. This gives me more freedom to individualize my suggestions to better meet the needs of each individual, and to use their body language to gauge the speed and content of my delivery.
The incentive value of the Best Me Technique can be further enhanced by pre-experiencing the rewarding results of the goal, such as celebrating at a graduation party with friends and family, or relaxing on the deck of a cruise ship on a much-deserved vacation after the degree is actually in hand. It is also helpful to pre-experience the rewards of sub-goals along the way, such as doing well on an upcoming major examination, or enjoying semester the break in the certain knowledge that one is on the way to a pre-determined and inevitable success.
Belief systems. Now you can feel your awareness of the present beginning to fade, as you become ever more clearly aware of yourself seated at your graduation ceremony, waiting to go up and receive your diploma. Just picture the scene, and imagine yourself excitedly waiting there, until it becomes just as real and just as clear to you as if it is happening right now.
Emotions. Let yourself feel an ever increasing sense of pride and achievement as you savor this moment to the fullest. As you look around at your fellow graduates and at the crowd of family, friends, and well wishers who have come to share in your success, you can truly rejoice in the thrill of all you have worked so hard to accomplish.
Sensations and physical perceptions. The graduates are getting up one row at a time to form a line beside the stage until their name is called. When it is your turn, you join the line and await your turn to go up and shake hands with the Dean and receive your diploma.
Thoughts and images. And all the time, you are realizing how much this means to you, and how much it has all been worthwhile.
Motives. Now, as you walk across the stage and shake hands with the Dean, he smiles and hands you your diploma, and you return to your seat, let yourself take a few moments now to bask in the satisfaction of a job well done, and savor your achievement to the fullest. [Pause.]
Expectations. And each time that you return to this treasured memory of the future, it will become easier for you to act, think, and feel as if it were impossible to fail. Believe it will happen, expect it to happen, feel it happening, and savor in advance the fruits of your success!
After allowing time to fully enjoy the experience for a few moments longer, the induction may be concluded in an appropriate manner (Gibbons & Lynn, 2001). Methods of auto-induction should also be taught, so that the client can continue to practice at home while learning. Once the technique has been mastered, it should be repeated daily as a form of experiential meditation until the goal is actually attained.
When there is no clearly-identified goal upon which to focus, or when existing goals are not desired strongly enough to fully motivate a person to achieve them, suggestions such as the following can be given to increase the enjoyment of goal attainment in general.
Belief systems. Now we are going to help you to experience in concentrated form, both your desire to achieve and your ability to feel the satisfactions you are going to feel in the future from the fulfillment of a job well done.
Emotions. We are reaching down into the depths of your vast, untapped potential for feeling happiness and joy. Great waves of happiness and joy are flooding out from the depths of your potential, growing stronger and more beautiful and more intense with every passing second.
Sensations and physical perceptions. The waves of joy are becoming stronger and more intense, filling and flooding every muscle, and fiber, and nerve of your entire body with a beauty and which is greater than anything you could possibly imagine.
Thoughts and images. Your mind is filled with such beauty and such joy that it is impossible to think of anything else, and all you can do is feel these waves of joy washing over you., growing in beauty and intensity with every passing second.
Motives. This is the kind of fulfillment you will be able to feel when you put your whole self into doing a job – any job – well. And you will have plenty of energy left over to enjoy every other aspect of life to the fullest.
Expectations. And I don’t know whether this experience will leave you with new goals, or with a re-dedication to the ones you already have. But in either case it will be a transforming moment, for it will have the power to change your life.
By using the Best Me Technique along with the necessary changes you need to make in your environment in order to accomplish the goals you have chosen, you will be able to provide yourself with the inspiration and incentive for a lifetime of accomplishment and personal growth.
Clients have been saying things like, "I can't thank you enough!" and, "I'm at a point in my life now where I think I can accomplish anything!" The changes which they are reporting in their lives seem to bear this out. It's too early for any hard data, as we have just begun to use these techniques. But we would like to invite you to join us in exploring these fascinating new realms of experience, and sharing with us in the thrill of discovery.
How to Create Winning Goals
Phyllis Dilller with Claude Bristol's The Magic of Believing