Your brain can't remember negative goals: how to set motivating goals

There is a long running argument in the Wagstaff family. Who was to blame for spilling the glass of wine that I knocked over on the beige carpet?

Now it seems at first glance that the guilty culprit was me. However as a young and argumentative teenager, I was quick to disagree.

You see, before the wine went over, my mum said,  “Jen, don't spill the wine... you're going to spill it” and left the glass there. 

She knew the wine was going over and she didn't move the glass. 

I said “No, I won't spill it” 

I didn't know the wine was going over, and so I didn’t move the glass.

And then I knocked it over and spilt it.

Who is to blame?

Well the rest of the family blame me, but in light of new information, I may be able to wriggle out of it after all.


Your brain cant remember negative goals

So I went to a seminar recently by Mancroft International which was all about mindset. It was fantastic. I had many take aways which I will be blogging about over the next few weeks, but one that really stood out was:

“Your brain can’t remember negative goals” 

If I tell you not to think about pizza, what are you thinking about? Most likely your stomach is rumbling. Hey you may even buy one today…

Negative goals are pointless as the brain only remembers your “dominant thought”. In this case, pizza.

For example:

  • “Don’t forget your keys”. Dominant thought: “forget your keys”
  • “Don’t miss your targets” Dominant thought: “miss your targets”
  • “Don’t eat pizza” Dominant thought: “eat pizza”
  • “Don’t spill the drink”. Dominant thought: “spill the drink”

So effectively she told me to spill it. Hehe.

OK so I am twisting it a bit, but there is an important message to be taken from this. 


Flip your goals on their head

How often do we talk to ourselves in the negative? “Don’t do this, I mustn’t do that…”

Have a look at your goals and flip them so they are achievement focused. What are you going to gain by doing that action?

  • “Remember your keys”
  • “Hit your targets”
  • “Look great on the beach”
  • And… “Keep the carpet beige”

Have a great week,


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