A few weeks ago I wrote a post on how to set goals in four steps. Now, after you’ve set your goals you are ready to achieve them, right? The hard part usually isn’t setting our goals—it usually starts several months later when we start to feel demotivated or unsure of how we will actually be able to complete our goals. Trust me, I’ve been there!
We all have something we want to work towards—something that comes deep from within our hearts. I truly believe that all of us can reach our dreams, as long as we are willing to work towards them bit by bit. To do this, we must be willing to work towards and reach our goals so eventually we can reach our dreams.
So, today I’m going to start off what is eventually going to be a huge part of this blog: how to achieve your goals. For this post we are going to stick with the role of perseverance and how our brain plays it to that—I promise no boring research here! Only things to help you.
Just as an aside, I’ll be covering more about reaching our goals in the future, but if there is anything you need me to write about, please do ask me. You can find me here to get in touch.
How to achieve your goals with perseverance
About seven years ago, I was doing neuroscience research—which has everything to do with how to achieve goals. I’m not going to bore you with talks about electrodes and MRI brain scans, but I am going to tell you something SUPER important for achieving your goals—your dopamine receptor.
Our brain has tons of crazy cool stuff going on—including all our beautiful neurotransmitters—one of them being dopamine. Neurotransmitters act as little chemical messengers that carry signals that make us be human. They control our actions, sleep, moods, and many other things. Take a look at my beautiful picture of two chemical structures of neurotransmitters you might have heard of before: dopamine and serotonin.
So why is dopamine so important in regards to achieving our goals? Well, simply because dopamine is the reward center of our brain, and ultimately essential for the perseverance of our goals. Remember the last time you finished a goal you were working on for a long time? How did you feel after you finished it? Great, right? You can thank dopamine for that.
Some mind hacks to help you achieve your goals
Lucky for you, there are several hacks on how to release dopamine when trying to achieve our goals that you can read about here.
From that article, I found two of the hacks very useful, and they are things I use quite often when trying to achieve my goals. I’ll paraphrase them for you here:
1. Reinforce positive behavior to form habits
Research on our reward system in our brain has been studied in mice for many years. Picture a little lab mouse running through a maze trying to complete a task or something on problem solving. Guess what happened when they completed this task and had a hit of dopamine released in their brain? They showed reinforced positive behavior. So what does that mean for you? That you can do the same.
reinforced positive behavior = forming healthy habits = reaching your goal
Now obviously, you can’t manually release dopamine in your brain. So here is what you have to do. Every time you take a positive step towards reaching your goal you need to stop and literally picture yourself getting a hit of dopamine in your brain. Try to feel that reward factor within yourself at that moment. This is going to help you start associating good behavior and reaching your goal. When you develop this kind of thinking, you start to form healthy habits towards reaching your goals. Bottom line? Give yourself a HUGE pat on the back whenever you make a step towards achieving your goal. Your brain will love you for it which will help you achieving your goal in the long run.
2. Visualize pleasure when trying to achieve your goal
Why do we do the things we do? Most of the time it comes down to pleasure. This is something that is crucial to remember on the days we are feeling demotivated—which happens to the best of us. So how we can we apply the pleasure principle to achieving our goals? By visualization.
The next time you feel demotivated, try to visualize yourself after you’ve finished that task working towards your goal. For example, let’s say your goal is to go to the gym five days a week. But, you had a super long day at work and you really don’t feel like going. What you have to do then is try to picture yourself after you’ve finished exercising and how awesome you will feel when you leave the gym.
Visualizing pleasure can really help us to achieve our goals in the long run. Just try it the next time you really don’t want to do something, but know that you probably should. 🙂
Keep up the good work!
Our brains are wired to receive reward and feel motivation when we are trying to reach our goals. As humans, we have the great advantage of being able to really control our thoughts and our minds. You do have the power to achieve any goal you set! I didn’t make this post super long for the sake of giving you little nuggets of my wisdom I can pass onto you guys. But, of course, if you want more information please do get in touch with me. If you found this post on how to achieve your goals useful, I’d love to hear about it so write to me in the comments and let me know!