Your goals: are you moving towards or away from them?

Posted on November 15, 2022 by Categories: News

We’ve all set goals, targets or aims at one time or another. Some people achieve their goals, other goals get delayed, others left by the way-side. How is it that successful equestrians find it easier to stay on a positive trajectory, when others would give up sooner?

One major unconscious reason is something called metaprogrammes. These are deeply-held, unconscious preferences in our mind. One specific type of metaprogramme is called the Direction Filter. You could call it the carrot and the stick filter. Are you a carrot person or a stick person? Do you need a ‘threat’ of the stick to get you motivated and to stay motivated? Do you prefer a more positive-reinforcement approach?

The carrot people are called ‘towards’ in NLP and the stick people, ‘away from’. You can be anywhere in between these two categories too. For example, you could be mainly a towards person, with a little away.

To find out which style of filter is most natural for you, think about 5 things to look for when buying a new horse.

Now, did you say mostly things you want or mostly things you don’t want? Mostly the things you want is a towards thinking, whereas mostly listing what you don’t want is away from thinking.

Let’s take the example of two equestrians wanting to achieve success in competition.

They both have the same goal, they compete in same competitions, have the same level of skill, experience and physical ability. I’m going to call them after my mares, Lottie and Darci.

Lottie looks forward to her competition day, she’s trained hard and wants to do well. She’s ready! She learns from past errors and works hard to go beyond them. She wants to improve on her results from last time and she’s often thinking and visualising exactly how she wants the competition to go.

  • Area of main Focus: doing well. Moving towards her goals by focussing on positive outcomes.
  • Mindset attitude: positive reinforcement and reward.
  • Direction filter: towards.

Darci wants to do well too, just as well as Lottie, she’s trained hard too and she wants to continue to improve. She’s also worked hard on correcting errors. But she’s concentrating on her mistakes from the last few competitions, she focussing on what went wrong, what could go wrong and how awful she’ll feel if she makes those same mistakes again. Or, more mistakes.

  • Area of main Focus: not messing up. Moving towards her goals by running away from negative outcomes.
  • Mindset attitude: fear-based punishment and anguish.
  • Direction filter: away from

Most elite riders have mostly towards thinking and a little away from (the away from is good for recognising errors and risks and adjusting to overcome them).

Having too little towards means that the rider is fear-driven and the ride isn’t very enjoyable. Too little away from and the rider may not learn from mistakes or may not account for the usual potential risks associated with riding.

Away from people may yo-yo from relative success to relatively unsuccessful times, this is because once an away from person reaches their goals, they no longer have the stick in place to motivate them. They begin to self-sabotage to unconsciously bring back a stick!

Away from preferences are fear-based; with fear being such a potent emotion, it requires lots of energy to maintain an away from set of values, beliefs and goals.

In being coached, if an away from person is finding it too challenging to achieve goals and sustain them, NLP can help to easily move them towards being a towards person! To do this, fear is usually removed, together with the inner conflicts that can be present in an away from mentality.

Notice where you may be more towards and away from. Notice whether you feel you might want to change your perspective or whether your preferences work perfectly for you.



If you’d like to chat about goals, goal setting with the unconscious mind, moving yourself into a towards frame of mind, what not schedule a session or complimentary Zoom call? Click here.

You might like to read more about goals  here