Goal setting for success
According to experts, goal setting has a lot to do with the brain. Specifically neurotransmitters.
The brain cannot determine the difference between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, when you fail to meet a goal, your brain reacts in the same way as it would if you had lost something in your possession, even though technically you haven’t.1 To recap: not meeting a goal causes the same chemical response in the brain as losing something tangible that you once had. IE. a bike, a piece of jewelry etc.
Given the brain is so involved when it comes to goals, we did the research to find out how to set goals for sure-fire success, scientifically speaking of course. Follow our findings below to reach your goals this year!
Dopamine and motivation
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter related to motivation. When you think something good is going to happen, your dopamine levels increase dramatically.2 The brain also releases dopamine when you achieve something.1
How does this fit in with goal setting? Low stores of dopamine have been linked to poor mental health and wellbeing.3 This could lead you to be less motivated to work towards your goals. On the flip side, if achievement creates a spike in dopamine, then staying on track and achieving your goals will help your body regulate dopamine. They go hand in hand!
Tip: When it comes to your goals, tracking small incremental achievements can actually give your body more natural bursts of dopamine.
Wired for routine
This might not come as a surprise, but the human brain LOVES routine.4 This is likely due to the familiarity routine brings. There is safety in knowing when your body can expect food, exercise and social interaction. If no routine existed, your body would be on edge, wondering when it can expect food or movement.
One funny example of how strongly routines affect us can be seen in this popcorn experiment. The experiment set out to see how programmed people are to eat popcorn when watching a movie The experts gave half the participants stale popcorn, and the other half fresh popcorn. However, both groups ate the same amount even though the group that received the stale snack complained about the taste.5 Talk about commitment!
It’s really no surprise, humans are habitual creatures, and this can be used to its advantage when goal setting. Turning a goal into a ritual or habit will introduce your body to the idea of regularity and routine.
Example: If your goal is to increase your core strength, schedule in 2 fitness classes/sessions per week that focus on core strength, and stick to those same days every single week. This way, you’ll know Monday’s and Wednesday’s are core workout days.
You’ll be in the right mindset for the workout which means you’ll be more likely to go and keep your commitment.
3 key tips for success
The 3 most important tips when setting a goal:
- Make it measurable
- Set a direct deadline
- Don’t rely on external forces
Having a measurable goal ensures you can evaluate benchmarks and successes. Part of having a measurable goal is setting a deadline. And lastly, ensuring your goal is not dependant on external involvement is key. You can’t control what others do, only what you will do. So, make sure your goal is free from depending on the actions of others.
For example: “I want to get my homemade soap’s in a magazine this year” is not as good of a goal as “I will reach out to 10 PR agencies by February 10th, 2019 about getting my soap’s in a magazine”. The first version relied on a magazine agreeing to feature your soap’s. Additionally, there was no real measurable number or deadline in place. The second goal is measurable by clearly listing the number of PR agencies you will reach out to (10) and there’s a very clear deadline (February 10th, 2019). Lastly, you are not relying on the PR agencies to act in a certain way, your goal is completely based on your actions.
PS – Stay flexible and regularly reassess
Deadlines and benchmarks are important, but so is life!
One study found only 19% of a group of 200 people were able to keep their New Year’s resolutions for over 1 year.6
Life is unexpected. Maybe your priorities change, you get set back or, plot twist, you actually accomplish your goal ahead of schedule! Whatever the reason is, checking in periodically to assess your game plan is a good idea. Expect things to change because they likely will.
Tip: Set yourself reminders to check in and adjust your goals if needed.
Whatever your goals this year might be, proper nutrition can help you stay energized and supported through the journey.
New Year’s resolutions aside, most people want to eat more fruits and veggies daily. Our PureFood A to Z can help. Every serving contains 20+ organic fruits, veggies and superfoods that are nutrient dense and ready to help you stay immune and energized.
Wipe away brain fog and rejuvenate your mind and body with real nutrition from nature. Our powders are all food, and they work!
Pssst… If you liked this article, you’ll love learning about the science behind meditation.
3 – https://www.healthline.com/health/dopamine-vs-serotonin#depression
4 – https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-truisms-wellness/201610/the-science-accomplishing-your-goals