Many programs on coaching and self-perfection make it their rule that setting a goal is a key factor in achieving success. But is it true? Can choosing a direction vector lead us to a positive result? Are you surprised by the question? Believe me, you’ll be surprised by the answer even more. The thing is how the human brain works.
Setting goals is quite a difficult process which carries a powerful effect on the human brain. If you know the details of this process, you can make it work for you by using the knowledge you’ll acquire and get even more benefit.
What’s going on with our brains when we set goals?
Changes in self-perception
Setting goals affects our self-perception greatly. Why? Because the knowledge of what we want to get changes our self-consciousness as the brain can’t distinguish dreams from reality. What we want and what we have already achieved intermingle for it in the process of building our personality. In other words, our dreams become a part of us. all our unfulfilled goals are a part of our inner “self”.
Sounds frightening, right? But it helps us to make dreams come true, as our imaginary image of ourselves doesn’t correspond to what we have in reality. It creates tension and the brain tries to come to a balance by working on achieving goals set which have lead to this disbalance. That’s why you should be careful about your dreams, they may come true. Be serious about them, plan and think them over. They will change not only your life, but also yourself – in a second.
We all are addicted to dopamine – a happiness hormone which is produced when we experience pleasant feelings. Each small achievement on the way to a huge shining goal gives us satisfaction and our brains – a possibility to get a sweet treat, i.e. a portion of dopamine. The brain praises us for the work, each step we make towards achieving the lost balance between desires and reality.
This simple chemistry helps us not to lose motivation and stay focused during all the way to success. Moreover, it favours good physical and emotional condition. So, remember to divide your long-term goals into several small tasks. Don’t be afraid to overdo it – the simpler the tasks, the more dopamine and desire to move you’ll get. Full your brain!
Carrots and sticks
If dopamine is a carrot for the brain which it gets after achieving a goal, what will happen in a case of failure? It’s simple. If we fail, the brain doesn’t get sweet dopamine it loves so much. And it’s not easy. The brain is used to the fact that your goal is its property, a part of inner “self” and if we fail, it feels robbed of something. It experiences a feeling of loss accompanied by fear, anxiety and grief.
Don’t forget about it when you set goals. In order not to become a victim of a negative psychological effect which failures make, plan your path to a dream carefully, evaluate your possibilities and deadlines wisely. And if you fail, try to think of it in a philosophical way, see useful experience in it and use it further on.
Should you tell others about them? It’s a rather interesting question. In order to find an answer to it I had to look through tons of material and read many investigation reports. The verdict is: the scientific community divided. Despite this fact, there’s a logical conclusion: the question isn’t about telling others about your plans and goals or not, it’s about how and who to tell in order to help the realization of your goals. But still I think it would be right to discuss both the opinions and then you’re free to choose what you believe more.
According to one investigation, telling about your goals may result in your failure of reaching them. What’s the reason? It’s the chemistry and dopamine. When we tell people about our goals, we may probably hear enthusiastic exclamations and comments. We hear approval. And it gives us pleasure, the brain gets a carrot only for talking about the goals. So, why you should do something if you can only talk and get a reward for it?
But still the investigation states that when we start telling other people about our plans, the goals that we haven’t reached root in consciousness interlacing with our inner “selves”. And it’s not bad. It’s what we need. Now we need to outwit ourselves. I’ll tell you about it later.
The answer is simple: talk about your goals to people who can motivate you.
It will not only unite you with your dream but also help you to reach it faster. A disbalance between reality and fantasy will be sharper, if you will make your tasks measurable. When somebody watches that a planned progress corresponds a real one, you feel great responsibility.
Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor of University of California, has carried out an investigation which states that people are 2 times more successful on their way to success,
if they write down their goals and think over their actions on each stage. Then they share their plans with other people and systematically send reports on the progress done (it’s the essence of our service). By the way, you will never get help and support, if you don’t tell others about your goals. Setting common goals may be a good strategy. You’re not obliged to reach them alone. You can find friends and like-minded people who are ready to share this path with you. You’ll motivate each other. Various trainings and coaches that help people to achieve their goals by motivation are very popular nowadays. It’s important to find people who can be “a good and a bad cop” for you.
To my mind, other people’s success is the best motivation. You can find people who have already done something you plan to do in our SmartProgress. Communication with them and their experience, prospects to find new friends and advisors and to share the results of your own work gives you energy and desire to reach your dreams.