Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. – Tony Robbins
Do you love setting goals more than the hard work of achieving them?
Hah. Me too.
There is nothing like a fresh New Year, a fresh new planner, some fresh new Midliner highlighters and a fresh new steaming cup of hot tea to make me feel blissful. ☕️
And it turns out, there is science behind this uplifting feeling.
Setting goals actually releases the good feeling neurotransmitter called dopamine. And when we get near the end, close to achieving, dopamine spikes again. You know, you see that finish line and away you go.
Unfortunately, and I bet you could have guessed this, dopamine is nowhere to be found during the grinding hours of taking action to get to that finish line.
And so if you feel like you don’t have that motivation, well, you don’t actually have the motivation, at least in terms of dopamine brain support.
Many of us have learned that willpower is not the answer. We all have a certain amount of it each day, and frankly, it can get used up just getting up in the morning.
Follow These 3 Hacks To Help You Achieve Your Goals
1 – Create a detailed and deliberate plan of action in the very first phase of the dopamine honeymoon.
Don’t just set goals. Take time to think them through.
What are the milestones to goal achievement? What are the steps, the actions, the accountability, the support… all the things you will need to make it to the finish line.
Get that all out on paper or computer at the very beginning when you are still pumped with dopamine.
2 – It’s okay to take it slowly.
Mega change at mega warp speed is not usually a good thing. It often means something traumatic has happened.
So keep your progress slow and steady. That’s what wins the race.
One way to help with that is by putting habit trackers into your original goal plan.
For example, if your goal is to buy a home or condo and saving up for a down payment is part of your plan, then creating a habit tracker for “putting 10% of my gross income into a savings account every two weeks,” would be really helpful.
Boring yes, but incredibly helpful. And part of the path towards the finish line.
When you check off that action in your tracker every two weeks, you will actually be spiking some dopamine in your brain.
That is so helpful for keeping your motivation going during the grind of building a habit.
3 – Make sure your goal plan is full of actions.
Actions move us forward. Moving forward releases that dopamine.
Check off the actions you take every day, one, two, three or ten. It doesn’t matter.
Just keep the good feelings going by taking actions and checking them off. It’s a form of positive reinforcement.
In summary, human brains are wired to be goal seeking.
- Use the excitement of setting goals to create detailed action-oriented plans including new habits you’ll need for success.
- Take your time. Make sure you stop to look at the view and to enjoy yourself along the way. And use checklists, and check marks, any way you can log your accomplishments so you can feel good about yourself and your progress.
- Track all actions and habits to be inspired and stay motivated.