Ask Alex : Setting Goals

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Hey Alex!

I am in a huge rut! I keep making plans and setting goals but it seems that I never get anywhere. I have great follow through on most things in life but when it comes to accomplishing my long term goals it seems like I never get there. I feel like I’m failing and everyone can see. What can I do to keep with my plans and achieve my goals?

Sincerely,

Spinning Wheels

 

Hey Spinning Wheels!

Haven’t we all fallen short of our goals at some point? There are several tactics that experts recommend to help people achieve their individual goals and I’m not sure that any one way is the right way.

Every person will need to find what works for them and based on what you have told me, I would say that the route you have been taking isn’t working for you and it is time to change direction.

The most common recommendation is visualization. This works for many people. Create a vision board, plan out your course of action in a journal and then take time out of each day to reflect on your board and your plans. This method is often noted as the top method for keeping someone on track.

A less conventional method is to keep all of your plans and goals to yourself. Don’t talk about, don’t write about it and don’t share it on social media! It has been proven that when a person achieves a goal, dopamine (or the feel good chemical) is released in the brain. This is your brain’s way of training itself and keeping your success pattern logged so that it may be used in the future.

On the flip side, studies have shown that your brain also releases dopamine when you talk about your goals or see them written out. So by telling a friend about your plans, your brain releases the same dopamine as though you have already accomplished your goal. This makes  it less likely for you to want to continue on your path since your brain and body have already received the reward.

In this hush hush method, it is recommended that you set a goal in your mind and a couple of stepping stones to help reach your goal. Then you just do. You don’t plan out every detail, you just begin taking action.

These methods are pretty polar opposite of each other but I would recommend trying each one out and seeing if either works for you. It might be that you need to modify to find a middle ground between the two methods.

Sincerely,

Alex

 

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