The questions is: What do I need right now?
Why do you need to answer this question?
Because when our New Year’s Resolution is aligned with our emotional needs, goal achievement becomes easier and faster!
This vital alignment is often missing when we set our goals, with the result that our goals are never fully realised.
What Do You Need Right Now?
Whatever our cultural background, we are all born with, and share certain essential physical and emotional needs and our instincts drive us to get these needs met. All behaviours can be seen as an unconscious instinctive drive to meet one or more of these physical and emotional needs. Being able to fulfil our needs has a direct impact on our quality of life, happiness, success, feeling of fulfilment and our mental and physical health.
The UK’s Human Givens Institute has identified eleven essential emotional needs are:
|1||Brain- Mind-Body connection||The way we look after ourselves physically directly impacts on our psychological wellbeing. We need to have enough rest, sleep, exercise and the right kind of food and drink. A sure way to induce mental and physical breakdown is to deprive someone of company, food, drink or sleep. (A fact well understood by oppressors everywhere).|
|2||Security||Safe territory and an environment which allows us to develop fully Without a sense of security and safety in life we can be exposed to anxiety conditions which hamper normal functioning. Our survival as children depends on others providing this sense of safety till we can meet this need for ourselves.|
|3||Attention (to give and receive it)||A form of nutrition. Inter-connection with other human beings is vital to human survival. Without regular quality contact with other people, mental health, emotional state and behaviour can suffer quite drastically. If attention needs are met outside of work, then the person has more capacity to work effectively, as their emotional needs are less likely to get in the way.|
|4||Sense of autonomy and control||Having volition to make responsible choices. Feeling that one has ‘no control’ – either in a given situation or in life generally – can lead to feelings of hopelessness. There are many examples of people being placed in care homes and ‘giving up’ on life because they feel that all choice about their environment and how they act within it have been eroded.|
|5||Being emotionally connected to others||It is important to feel that at least one person really knows us for who we are and will allow us to totally relax and be ‘ourselves’. This could be a partner, a friend or a family member. For some people this need for close connection can be met by a beloved pet: ‘My cat really understands me!’ Close connection is important for the development of a healthy emotional life.|
|6||Feeling part of a wider community||Connection to something greater than ourselves. We feel happier when we have a sense of connection to like-minded people or others who share our perceptions and who work for a common goal.|
|7||Friendship, intimacy||To know that at least one other person accepts us totally for who we are, “warts ‘n’ all”.|
|8||Privacy||Access to privacy so we can reflect on, and consolidate, experience.|
|9||Sense of status||Within social groupings that we have something worthwhile to contribute, that other people appreciate our talents, contributes to a sense of strength and well-being.|
|10||Sense of competence and achievement||Which comes from successful learning and effectively applying skills (the antidote to ‘low self-esteem’). We tend to feel healthier and happier when our lives stimulate us to be creative and inventive. Boredom and lack of achievement leaves us unsatisfied and depressed. Human beings have always ‘pushed forward’. Creative stimulation in one area encourages the development of new interconnections in our brain. These new neurological routes can be used for other brain functions, thus improving other parts of our lives. For example, if someone learns to dance, this can also enhance their mathematical ability.|
|11||Meaning and purpose||Which come from being stretched in what we do and think. Meaning helps us feel engaged, because we feel we have a purpose and we are prepared to expand effort to work toward it.|
Outside of our awareness (i.e. at a subconscious level) we are continuously seeking to fulfil these needs, and when we perceive that they are being met well, we flourish. And when we perceive that one or more of our essential needs is not being met, this arouses anxiety and we experience stress.
If we have unmet needs then our subconscious, innate drive to fulfil these needs will take precedence over any other goals we may be pursuing and will influence all of our decisions and behaviours.
It’s estimated that approximately 90% of our behaviour is automatic. That is, it's controlled by our subconscious mind, and our subconscious ensures as best as possible that our behaviour is consistent with meeting our needs. So while we consciously think our goal is something we want to achieve, if it doesn’t align with our needs, our behaviour is unlikely to support goal achievement. Our goal will continue to be out of our reach, and we may have no idea why we are making next-to-no progress.