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THREE REASONS TO BECOME A REAL LIFE HERO

In 2009, the UN designated International Humanitarian Day as a way to embody the idea that anyone can be a hero. Celebrated every year on August 19, the day is both a way to honor those who have lost their lives working on humanitarian causes and encourages everyone to recognize ways they can give back in their daily life.

It’s easy to look at a police officer, firefighter, doctor, or nurse and recognize their heroic deeds. But what about the person who helps a stranger in a store? Or shares their umbrella at a bus stop? Being a hero is more than volunteering time or engaging in a specific career, it’s helping others everyday in situations big and small.

You’ve heard us say, reasons reap rewards. And there’s a reason helping others feels so good. It’s hard-wired into our neurology. So let’s dive into three reasons why you should become a real life hero.

Embrace Kindness

When you are kind to others, your brain releases three neurochemicals in response. The first chemical is oxytocin, the brain’s love chemical. This is the hormone that bonds you to others through love. Oxytocin elevates your trust levels, encourages you to be generous, and helps you become friendlier. When you engage in random acts of kindness, your brain releases oxytocin, which then triggers the rest of your reward centers.

The second chemical released is dopamine, the feel-good neurochemical. This hormone induces a pleasant state of short-term euphoria, which helps your brain reinforce the activity you just engaged in. Dopamine is strongly tied to your reward center. That’s what helps you develop habits. The more you engage in kind acts, the better you feel, which encourages those actions to become things you do frequently.

Your brain then releases a third hormone, serotonin. This hormone stabilizes mood and is generally attributed to your sense of happiness. Normal levels of serotonin helps you stay calm and focused in stressful situations, which leads to better outcomes.

This powerful combination helps sustain overall levels of happiness and life satisfaction. Both are incredibly motivating. When you live a life filled with acts of kindness and purposeful service, your brain chemistry works to encourage you to continue. You feel happier, fulfilled, and satisfied, triggering you to want to engage in kindness more. It’s a wonderful cycle. And one that’s easily introduced into your daily life.

One of the easiest ways to embrace kindness is simply working on how you see the world. We all get frustrated with our spouses, kids, co-workers, and even strangers. The next time you find yourself cursing the slow driver in front of you, or the co-worker who dropped the ball on a project, take a moment and reframe their behavior in a positive light. Instead of driving slow to irritate you, maybe they have a sick baby in the car or at home. When you change your frustration and outlook, you’ll be kinder to the person in response. And those small acts will not only make you feel better, they’ll make a world of difference to those around you.

Practice Gratitude

Gratitude also releases dopamine and serotonin. However, unlike with kindness, you only need to focus on your internal gratitude or express external gratitude to trigger these releases. That makes gratitude a powerful source of happiness and mental well-being that you can do anytime.

Every time you practice gratitude, you reinforce the neural pathways that release these neurotransmitters. And the more they’re released, the more entrenched these pathways become. And because these neurochemicals also work to reduce stress, improve memory, and stabilize your emotions, gratitude can be an effective tool to help redirect your mind and recenter your focus.

The beauty of gratitude is the multitude of ways in which you can express it. Every time you say thank you when someone opens a door or smile at a stranger, you release these feel-good neurochemicals. You can use gratitude when you’re stressed or frustrated by simply pausing and finding something to be grateful for. It disrupts the negative thought patterns and can help shift your mindset and outlook in that moment.

Gratitude not only reduces stress and anxiety, it also activates the part of your brain associated with altruism. The more you express gratitude, the more you want to give to those around you, which then gives you more to be grateful for. It’s a cycle that sustains itself and leads to a happier, more fulfilled life.

Other ways you can express gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal. Every night end the day with three things you’re grateful for, and on tough days, review your previous entries. You can keep a gratitude jar, where you add to the jar daily and pull a piece of paper when you need a reminder. Write thank you notes to friends and families, or send random gratitude letters to those who mean the most to you.

When you take the time to reflect what you’re grateful for, you start to notice more of the abundance around you. It helps change your perspective and your mindset. Expressing gratitude not only increases your happiness and satisfaction, it also helps you find focus and clarity. And that helps you discover your purpose.

Unlock Purpose

It’s common to mistake passion for purpose. And while passion is vital in finding your purpose, it isn’t the sole ingredient. On one of our podcast episodes, Jim interviewed Jay Shetty, author of Think Like A Monk. Shetty also hosts his own podcast, On Purpose, and often discusses the purpose recipe. Passion + Service = Purpose.

Before you can plug in the formula, you have to start by embracing the sparks of curiosity. Curiosity can lead to finding things we’re passionate about. But as we all know, passion does not always lead to purpose. You can find your interest waning for a variety of reasons, but stomping out creativity by adhering too stringently to rules or waiting for the perfect moment will likely end in your passion fizzling out.

Researchers believe that the primary function of curiosity is to stimulate learning. And learning stimulates growth. When you allow the sparks of creativity to lead you down a path of learning, you can discover not just your passion, but also your purpose. And when you include kindness, generosity, and gratitude in your daily life, they can become the fuel that drives your passion and purpose forward.

When you find your purpose, you become an inspiration for others. Even if you aren’t saving lives, you never know who is watching and how you’re motivating or encouraging them to follow their curiosity and passion to discover their purpose. Your overall well-being improves, which improves everything from your productivity at work to forming deeper, more intimate relationships at home. In short, unlocking your purpose helps you become an everyday real life hero to everyone in your life.

Conclusion

Becoming a real life hero doesn’t require traveling the globe or engaging in monumental feats. By embracing kindness, practicing gratitude, and discovering your purpose, you improve the lives of everyone around you. This ranges from immediate family and friends, but also to those you work with, people you live around, and anyone else whose lives you unknowingly touch.

If you want to hear more about Jim’s real-life hero story, watch this video:

Using Your Brain Animal to Learn Faster 

Now that you’ve taken the quiz and unlocked the C.O.D.E. to your unique brain type, you’ve taken the first step towards understanding how to leverage your strengths and develop strategies to overcome your biggest challenges.

Once you understand your unique brain type, you can utilize this knowledge to learn any skill faster. Read on for more tips and tricks too unlock your limitless learning.

Owl (Logical Thinker):

The Owl learns best by breaking skills down into its individual components. Use your strong analytical skills to understand exactly what learning something new is going to require and then chunk it down into more manageable parts. 

You can also use your analytical abilities to understand the underlying and concepts of a skill. This enables you to see the whole through its underlying parts. As each piece becomes clear, your overall ability to grasp the skill you’re trying to learn solidifies faster. In the end, you’ll grasp the skill more effectively.

One of your strengths is piecing puzzles together. Look at learning a new skill as putting together a puzzle, but you have to create the puzzle pieces first. Once you master each component, you can easily reconstruct the elements to build a solid foundation until you master the entire skill.

Be aware that it can be easy for you to get lost in the process. Set clear learning objectives and stick with your timeline. You want to establish specific and measurable goals for your learning, and make sure you check in with these goals frequently throughout the learning process.

Cheetah (Instinctive Doer):

Cheetahs are known for being quick thinkers and fast on their feet. You learn best by the hands-on doing. If it’s possible to experiment or dive right into the project, you’ll want to start doing that as soon as possible. The more you can practice, the faster you’ll pick up the skill.

You’ll want to facilitate this by actively seeking out learning experiences that allow you to gain hands-on, practical experience as part of the process. If interactive activities aren’t necessarily part of the learning curriculum, get creative in how you can bring this element into your studies. The more you do this, the faster you’ll reinforce your learning and master the skill.

Because you like to dive right in, be aware that you might make more mistakes in the beginning. That’s okay. Failure and mistakes are part of the learning process, particularly if you want to get started on the new skill right away. Look at each error as a learning opportunity and keep track of the adjustments you need to make so that every new attempt takes you further.

It can be easy for the Cheetah to go too fast. You’ll want to establish achievable short-term goals to maintain momentum and stay motivated. This might mean daily goals, or even hourly, depending on what skill you’re trying to learn. Set clear objectives and use them to help propel your momentum forward.

Dolphin (Creative Visionary):

For the creative visionary, Dolphins need to explore and experiment with different approaches. You like to try various techniques before settling on one that works. Embrace this need to try new things and use it to enhance whatever new skill you’re trying to learn.

You are open-minded and adaptable. This can sometimes make learning feel like it’s progressing at a slow rate. But you’re learning with every new approach you take, and once you land on the method that works best for that particular skill, you’ll find that all the previous attempts have taught you pieces of the skill and enable you to master it faster.

This unique approach also gives you the chance to practice your creativity. As you think about new approaches to your new learning problem, you’re also thinking about the skill itself. This helps you understand not just what you want to learn, but how, and that enables you to create exercises and practices to best develop your new learning.

All of this means you have a lot of tools and resources when it comes to learning, but you want to be aware that you can get caught up in the creative process more than the learning. Ask others for help and use their expertise to make your experimental learning faster. Their expertise and insights can unlock new ideas to help cement your new learnings.

Elephant (Collaborative Connector):

Elephants learn new skills the most effectively when you work with others. Sharing knowledge and receiving feedback is what helps solidify new learning and skills the fastest. That means you’ll want to join in group activities whenever possible. Study groups, study buddies, and after-class meetings will be key elements in your learning process.

Another way you can engage in collaboration is through a mentor or internship. You’ll want to focus more on programs that allow one-on-one time so you can have time to ask questions and get individual guidance on your learning progress.

Even if you can’t get one-on-one focused attention, your communication skills mean that you know how to ask for help. You’ll focus on knowing what questions to ask to hone in on the key areas needed to clarify any confusion you may have. In group interactions, your collaborative skills will help lead quality discussions with others, leading to overall deeper learning for everyone involved.

As an elephant, you’re deeply empathetic. You can tap into this innate skill to better understand the challenges and nuances that goes into new learning. Your ability to ask for feedback, learn from others, and tap into deeper insights all enable you to approach new learning with profound insight.

Take The Quiz Today

If you haven’t taken our quiz yet, be sure to head over to mybrainanimal.com to discover your unique brain type. This quiz is designed to give you another set of tools to unlock your full potential for learning and personal growth.

Even the morning hosts at Today Show Australia took the quiz! Check out their results below:

And if you want to dive deeper into the brain animals, be sure to watch this episode:

5 BRAIN-FRIENDLY SUMMER SUPERFOOD RECIPES

Are you looking for quick, easy, summer superfood recipes? We’ve got you covered.

Gardens may be brimming, but we know healthy eating can be a bit tricky during the summer. Vacations can disrupt meal planning and it’s easier to indulge when you’re away from home. Long days and hot nights can suppress the heartiest of appetites. But warm weather also means you’re likely more active. Swimming, hiking, kayaking, camping, mountain biking, and more activities require nutrient-packed foods to help keep you fueled all summer long.

You can find some of our favorite brain foods, here. You can incorporate these ten foods into every meal. And to make your life easier, we found five brain-healthy recipes to make your summer meal planning effortless.

Photo by blueberry.org

Salmon with Blueberry Basil Sauce

Salmon is packed with brain-friendly omega-3’s. Up to 60% of your brain matter is made up of these fatty acids, which is why eating foods rich in omega-3’s is so important. It helps your brain absorb more oxygen, retain new information, improves memory, boosts serotonin levels, and improves mood. Combine that with antioxidant rich blueberries, and this meal is a supermeal for your brain.

Brain-friendly ingredients include:

  • blueberries
  • salmon
  • lemon
  • basil
  • olive oil
  • honey

You can make this even more powerful by serving on a bed of dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens, steam some broccoli for a delicious and filling side, or make this 5 ingredient lemon turmeric quinoa. It makes a delicious lunch or a lighter dinner. You can even serve it with eggs and toast for a fancy breakfast or brunch.

Photo by Conscious Cleanse

Brain-boosting Smoothie Bowl

This fast and easy smoothie bowl is a filling alternative for an easy breakfast on a warm morning. Kale is packed full of vitamin A, C, and K, along with antioxidants like beta-carotene, polyphenols, and flavonoids. Vitamin B heavy avocados have been linked to lower stress and anxiety. And thanks to high levels of tryptophans, they can boost serotonin and balance hormones.

Brain-friendly ingredients include:

  • avocado
  • spinach or kale
  • walnuts
  • chia seeds
  • flaxseed
  • lemons

Add delicious hemp-seeds, blueberries, coconut flakes, a dollop of honey, or any other brain-healthy topping of your choice to make this even more nutrient-dense and delicious. Try swapping out ingredients to make this uniquely your own.

Photo by Heaven Lynn Healthy

Turmeric, Bean, & Spinach Veggie Tacos

These tacos are superfood dense. The curcumin in turmeric has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits that have been linked with preventing age-related brain disease like dementia due to reducing amyloid plaques. Thiamine-rich white beans boost mood, and help with production and function of healthy brain cells.

Brain-friendly ingredients include:

  • tumeric
  • white beans
  • spinach
  • olive oil
  • avocado

If you’re looking for a fun, interactive family recipe, these delicious tacos are perfect. They’re versatile, filling, and can be made ahead of time. You can customize the filling, tortillas, and vegetable ingredients to make this a winning dinner for every eater at your table.

Photo by Feel Good Foods

Lazy Yogi Smoothie

Is there a better summer treat than a smoothie? They’re cool, packed with nutrients, and can be made to fit any craving. The metabolism-boosting MCT’s in coconut oil breaks down into ketones which turns into energy to fuel the brain. And dates add a sweet twist with the added benefits of multiple antioxidants. This smoothie will lower inflammation, sharpen your brain function, boost your mood, and give your metabolism an extra kick.

Brain-friendly ingredients include:

  • tumeric
  • blueberries
  • dates
  • coconut oil

You can add an avocado to make this a heartier meal, use seasonal berries fresh from your garden or local farmer’s market, or add chia or hemp seeds to keep you fuller longer. Pour this smoothie into a silicone popsicle mold for a delicious frozen afternoon treat or blend for additional time and then freeze for a healthy ice cream dessert alternative.

Photo by branappetit.com

Egg, Avocado, & Olive Oil Toast

Breakfast or brunch doesn’t have to be a complicated affair. With four ingredients, this delicious meal is easy and flexible. Rich in choline, eggs reduce inflammation and promote healthy brain cell functionality. Olive oil has high levels of Vitamin C and E, promoting healthy brain function, and it protects the brain from damage.

Brain-friendly ingredients include:

  • eggs
  • avocado
  • olive oil

You can leave this open or use a second piece of bread for an on-the-go breakfast sandwich. Add crispy kale for some added crunch, spread some creamy hummus with the avocado, or dd your favorite protein for an added nutrient boost.

Conclusion

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a chore. You can have fun finding new recipes, make weekly farmer market trips a family activity, experiment with new foods, and put your own healthy spins on whatever you find. With these delicious summer superfood recipes, you can fuel your body and feed your brain all summer long.

For even more on easy, healthy, brain-friendly summer superfood recipes, watch this video:

OVERCOME LIMITING BELIEFS WITH STEVEN BARTLETT

Steven Bartlett believes that “self-awareness is realizing that there is no opponent – you’re fighting against yourself.” Yet, even with that belief, Steven admits that after talking to Jim on a recent episode of The Diary of a CEO podcast, he realized he still had limiting beliefs he was holding onto.

If you’re familiar with Steven or his podcast, that might be a surprise. After all, The Diary of a CEO is Europe’s most downloaded podcast. Success is not something that Steven appears to struggle with. He’s the co-founder of multiple companies, runs a successful podcast, and is the author of several books. And yet, even with all his success, all his accomplishments, Steven still experiences limiting beliefs.

It’s a powerful reminder that no one is immune to self-doubt. But it’s also a demonstration on how life-changing realization and self-empowerment can be. During their nearly two hour conversation, Jim and Steven covered so many amazing topics, including:

  • Jim talks about his mission, where he started, and why he’s so driven to fulfill it. [3:01]
  • When we have the two biggest cognitive dips in our lives, and how it relates to death. [11:24]
  • Why exercise is so important and the different types that are best for your brain. [14:25]
  • The four different cognitive brain types, how they influence your thinking, and where to find which type you are. [17:52]
  • Various tools to help you organize your thinking and make better decisions. [21:58]
  • How to find your dominant question and why it’s so important to help with your passion, purpose, and focus in life. [30:39]
  • Steven talks how his career has changed focus by utilizing these five buckets, but how they’ve also highlighted his own limiting beliefs. [39:43]
  • This is how Jim uses the the Feynman Technique to make learning accessible—and how you can to remember more information easier. [44:24]
  • The ten keys to upgrading your brain and unlocking your limitless memory. [51:50]
  • Why reading is so powerful and how you can learn to read faster with a few simple exercises. [1:04:26]
  • The first principles for finding flow and staying there. [1:14:00]
  • Is there an area of your life where you feel like you’re in a box? Here’s how to get out of it—and what Steven struggles with. [1:21:27]
  • In Steven’s last question tradition, Jim shares his most recent regret. [1:33:33]

As you can see, their conversation was incredibly in-depth with so many actionable tips that you can use to improve your learning and unlock your limitless potential. We can’t wait for you to listen and start applying the valuable information to your life today.

SUMMER BRAIN ANIMAL READING

Summer is here! That means long days, warm nights, and hopefully, plenty of time spent by pools and on beaches. The heat can sometimes make it hard to stay focused and mentally engaged, but that’s when your brain needs to stay active the most. We have the perfect solution for you: summer reading. There’s nothing better for your brain than picking up a good book.

But in a world filled with incredible reads, how do you pick? We’re here for you. We put together a list with a fiction and non-fiction book specifically chosen to feed your inner brain animal.

If you haven’t taken our quiz yet, be sure to head over to mybrainanimal.com to discover your unique brain type. This quiz is designed to give you another set of tools to unlock your full potential for learning and personal growth. Even the morning hosts at Today Show Australia took the quiz! Check out their results below:

Curious what to read based on your brain animal strengths? What about what other brain animals are reading? All brain types will find value in exploring this entire list. Lean into your empathy, find your curiosity, embrace your instincts, and live a life filled with creativity.

The Agile Cheetah

Fiction:

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

An epic adventure on Mars set far in the future. Society has changed. Humanity has conquered the solar system. But that society was built on lies. Darrow is a Red, a miner beneath the surface of Mars working to find the valuable resource to one day terraform the planet. But the Golds lie. Mars has already been terraformed. And Reds toil and the other Colors benefit. To free his people, Darrow has to become what he hates—a Gold.

This fast-paced, plot-driven series will keep your Cheetah mind engaged from the very first page. The story propels with a momentum of its own, helped along with sharp sentences, there’s nothing to distract or take our attention away. And with seven books, you can stay on Mars all summer long.

Non-fiction:

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

The mind has two systems. One is fast, intuitive, and emotional, and the other is slow, deliberate, logical. Most people rely on one system over the other, but to really harness the way you think, you have to embrace both. Told through a variety of examples capturing everything from the board room to your living room, Kahneman explains how these systems work, when they don’t, and why both are important to make better decisions.

As a Cheetah, you already know which one you rely on more. But learning how to balance your instincts with careful logical deduction will only make your decisions better. And because Kahneman includes how blending these two thinking systems benefits your life both professionally and personally, it’s the perfect book to digest while you learn to appreciate a lazy summer afternoon.

The Wise Owl

Fiction:

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Evelyn Hardcastle will die at 11 p.m. every night until you find the killer. Every morning, you wake up in a different body to obtain clues as you try and solve the crime. You can’t leave until you find the killer. You have eight days in eight bodies. And if you don’t figure out who murdered Evelyn in time, the process starts all over. To make everything worse, there are two others trying to do the exact same thing. And only one of you will be allowed to leave. Let’s begin.

This Agatha Christie meets Clue meets Groundhog’s Day novel will keep you logical brain engaged while you try and figure out what’s really happening. The twists are inventive, the turns are surprising, and the plot delightful. It’s a clever murder mystery your Owl brain won’t be able to stop thinking about.

Non-fiction:

A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life by Brian Grazer & Charles Fishman

Academy Award-winning producer Brian Grazer and acclaimed journalist Charles Fishman want you to embrace your curiosity and see what you discover. Every week, for decades, Brian Grazer has a “curiosity conversation” with an accomplished stranger. These conversations with everyone from executives to spies, scientists to spiritual leaders have helped spark ideas for multiple award-winning shows and movies like A Beautiful Mind, 24, Arrested Development, and more. A funny, insightful, and thoroughly entertaining look at how embracing your curiosity can open doors, generate ideas, and improve your life.

As an Owl, you’re naturally curious. But you tend to go inward with your research. Grazer and Fishman encourage you to reach out and connect with others in order to really see how living a life of curiosity can take you. Read while you’re lounging on the beach and spark up a curiosity conversation with a stranger. You never know where that conversation will take you.

The Creative Dolphin

Fiction:

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

It takes talent to be a con woman. That’s how Nahri survives the streets of Cairo. Palm readings, healings, fortunes. It’s all sleight of hand and careful truths. But when she accidentally summons a djinn warrior, her life turns upside down. He takes her to Daevabad, the mythical City of Brass, a city that Nahri is somehow bound to. It’s going to take all her street smarts and then some if she wants to survive the deadly courts and complicated politics. Nahri never believed in magic before. But if she wants to survive, she has to embrace her lost heritage with no one except a wayward prince and fickle djinn to help her.

The City of Brass is a sweeping epic fantasy that will delight all of your Dolphin creativity. The sights, the sounds, and the world is lush and immersive, captivating all five of your senses in nearly every scene. It’s magical, romantic, and completely addictive. Perfect for long summer nights.

Non-fiction:

The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin

Legendary music producer Rick Rubin stood out from the producer crowd for one reason: he knew how to get the most out of every artist that walked into his studio. His goal wasn’t about creating one sound or one album. It was to help the artist transcend their self-imposed limitations and create music from their soul. And the results speak for themselves. Over the years, he’s spent a lot of time thinking about creativity. What it is. Where it comes from. To him, creativity isn’t an output. It’s the artists relationship with the world around them. Everyone has creativity inside them. This is how he believes anyone can find theirs.

You’re already creative. But sometimes that creativity means you live in a different world, and that can make it hard to connect. Rick Rubin wants to show you how to take your creativity to new levels. When you see how he draws creative performance out of others, you can see how to use your creative strengths to not just connect with others, but make creativity a path everyone in your life.

The Empathetic Elephant

Fiction:

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Linus Baker likes his quiet life. He lives with his devious cat in a tiny house. As a Case Worker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth he feels like he is doing some good over-seeing the well-being of magical children in government sanctioned homes. But when he’s called into Extremely Upper Management and assigned a highly classified case, all his beliefs will be put to the test. Marsyas Island has six of the most dangerous and classified children in existence. As Linus gets to know the children and their caretaker, the handsome and mysterious Arthur Parnassus, he realizes the island isn’t the only secret Extremely Upper Management is keeping. To do his job, Linus has to destroy a home. To protect this children, he may possibly destroy the world.

If a perfect book exists for your empathic nature, it’s this one. Told with stunning care, Klune draws you into the heart of these characters. Through layers of emotion and an imaginative story, this book reveals the profound truth of what it means to be human and how connection, love, and acceptance are the greatest strengths we have.

Non-fiction:

The Promise of a Pencil by Adam Braun

Adam Braun never dreamed he’d be building schools. He was working at a hedge fund and was well on his way to a lucrative Wall Street career. But a chance encounter with a little boy in India changed his entire trajectory. With only $25, Braun launched an organization that built over 200 schools at the time of publication, a number that has now grown to over 500. With insights from village chiefs and business leaders and behind-the-scenes insight, this is the journey of how one man made his life a story worth telling—and how you can too.

Your Empathetic nature already is in tune with how powerful purpose can be. But finding your own can be tough, and helping others to the same is even tougher. Told with personal anecdotes and sprinkled with thoughtful and helpful tools, this book will feel like you’ve spent the day with an old friend. It will leave you feeling inspired and energized to make this a summer of kindness.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Are you ready to uncover your brain type? Find out if you embody the agility of the Cheetah, the wisdom of the Owl, the creativity of the Dolphin, and the empathy of the Elephant. Take the quiz at mybrainanimal.com and unlock the power of your remarkable mind.

RESET Your Brain

We’ve officially reached the halfway point of 2023 and our monthly theme on the Kwik Brain Universe app is reset. If you haven’t joined yet, you can sign up, here. This is your one-stop-shop for all your courses. It’s also the best place to connect with other lifelong learners, along with being the first to find out about new events, groups, and programs.

When it comes to reaching your goals, it’s important to do a check-in, reset your brain, and make small changes to continue your forward momentum. Maybe the first six months of the year have been a struggle for you. If so, that’s okay. You can find your greatest strengths in your biggest struggles. All it takes is one step in a different direction to change your entire trajectory.

STEPS TO R.E.S.E.T

When you envision your goal, it might seem like a good idea to paint the perfect picture of that positive future. And while that’s sometimes a good place to start, it’s not always the case. If that vision feels too far away, it can actually trigger a stress response in your brain. Instead of feeling motivated, you’ll more likely end up in fight, flight, or freeze mode. And that can be extremely demotivating.

One of the best things you can do when faced with overwhelm is break things down into small, simple steps. They help your goal feel manageable and allow you to focus on smaller, more easily achievable goals. This helps you not only feel safe—which alleviates stress—it builds momentum and energy because you’re able to make progress.

To help you remember how to reset your brain, all you have to do is remember R.E.S.E.T.

Routine:

I believe the treasure you seek is hidden in your daily routines. I’m a firm believer that how you start and end your day matters, which is why I have both a morning and an evening routine. I go over the four basic elements of both, here. And here’s a more detailed look at my ideal morning.

It’s important to remember that these episodes and lists aren’t meant to be absolutes every day. They’re meant to be your ideal goal. No one has a perfect morning—not even me. But I try to do as many of them as I can without adding stress to my already busy day. Some important areas to create routines around are sleep, meditation, healthy eating, exercise, and journaling. These all have tremendous benefits for your mental and physical health.

A routine doesn’t help if it’s overwhelming or stressful, so customize yours to fit your schedule and lifestyle. If you’re creating a new routine, start small. Remember, little by little, a little becomes a lot. Take one habit and build from there.

Emotions:

Your emotions are a barometer. They are meant to help you assess your mental state and warn you when you’re nearing overwhelm and burnout. It’s important to honor your emotions instead of resisting them.

That might be easier said than done. It can be tempting to try and bulldoze your way through a difficult day. But when you do that, you’re more likely to make mistakes, find yourself in conflict with others, or overlook important details. It might feel like you’re moving forward, but when you ignore your natural warning signs, you might actually be moving backwards.

What you resist persists. Whatever you’re avoiding is likely what you have to face in order to move forward. The obstacle is always the way. Take time to pause and really listen to what your emotions are trying to tell you. Maybe you need a break. Or help. Talking to someone might unlock a new approach you never considered before. You might need to take a step back and look at your previous steps. Did you miss an important lesson? Or take a shortcut that is now creating the obstacle?

Before your emotions take over, be sure to spend time acknowledging them. Journaling every day is a wonderful way to organize your thoughts and spend time with your emotions. It reduces anxiety and gives your brain the space it needs to process problems and analyze situations. Remember, your emotions are sign posts. Don’t forget to use them.

Sever:

It can be hard in our modern world to actually disconnect, but it’s incredibly important for your mental health. You want to sever your connections to the digital world from time to time.

When was the last time you went out to dinner without your phone? Or turned off the internet and read a book or played a game with your family? Social media and streaming companies spend billions of dollars to find ways to keep you online. Their ultimate goal is to get you addicted to their products and services.

Technology is a wonderful tool. It connects you to people you love, can be used to learn and grow, and can even be a source of inspiration. But like any tool, it’s all about how you use it. Fire can cook your food or burn down your house. You want to be sure that you are using it—not it using you.

In my book, Limitless, I use the following quote from the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre: “Life is the C between B and D. B is birth; D is death; C is choice.” Ultimately, you have the choice to decide what to focus on and how to spend your time. Difficult times can define you, they can diminish you, or they can develop you. Make sure you spend your time focused on the things that matter and not endlessly scrolling or binging media.

Explore:

Curiosity is one of the most important emotions to cultivate along with gratitude. When you’re curious, you’re less fearful—just like when you’re grateful. But curiosity extends past learning about new things. It can also help you overcome obstacles.

Think about a time someone was upset at you. Imagine how the situation could have changed if you had been curious instead of angry. Curiosity leads you to ask questions, prompts you to look at things from a different perspective, and go outside of your comfort zone. It’s been suggested that curiosity is one of the reasons positive emotions exist. It can enhance your connections, lead to higher levels of motivation, and give you a sense of purpose.

Don’t be afraid to try new things. Even something as simple as listening to a new playlist, trying a new exercise routine, or going to a new restaurant can spark new ideas and energize you in surprising and unexpected ways. You might feel stuck not because you’re doing too much. But because you’re not doing enough of the things that inspire and motivate you. Ask questions, say yes, and embrace curiosity in everything you do.

Think:

Part of pursuing a goal is stepping back and evaluating them. It can be too easy to lose sight of your goal in the drudgery of life. You want to remember why you had the dream in the first place. If you’re stuck, it might be because your goal isn’t aligned in your heart and mind.

One of the most important things to remember is that there’s a difference between goal-setting and goal-getting. You can listen to our numerous episodes on goals, here.

You want to make your goals S.M.A.R.T.:

  • Specific — Make your goal as specific as possible with well-defined steps and verifiable results. Instead of saying I want a raise, define what a good raise looks like and how you can go about getting it.
  • Measurable — You have to measure your progress so you can see how far you’ve come. If you can’t measure your goal, you can’t manage or track it.
  • Action-oriented — These are the steps that push you forward and give you direction. What actions can you take every day to make progress?
  • Realistic — Be realistic about your time frames, your outcomes, and dreams. If your company never goes above a 5% raise, a 15% goal isn’t realistic. Make sure you can actually achieve your goal.
  • Time-Bound — While you can stretch your goals out as long as you want, the longer it takes to reach it, the more likely you’ll lose motivation. Challenge keeps you engaged, so set a time frame and stick to it.

But you also want to make sure they have H.E.A.R.T.:

  • Healthy — If you get a promotion at the cost of your health or relationships, you haven’t gained—you’ve lost. Always make sure you’re balancing your goals with your mental, physical, and relationship health.
  • Enduring — Every goal will be hard at some point. Make sure your goal will get you through the hard times and difficult situations by attaching a strong emotional element that motivates and drives you.
  • Alluring — Imagine everything achieving that goal will bring. Maybe a promotion means more money for a bigger house, a dream vacation, or a new car. Don’t be afraid to dream.
  • Relevant — No matter what your goal is, tie it to your life. How will learning to play the ukulele make your life better? Will it bring you closer to someone? Create a link to an ancestral history? Personal goals drive you forward and give you purpose.
  • Truth — If you pursue a degree because your parents want you to, the odds of you sticking with it when things get hard are low. Find your truth. Know your truth. And stick with your truth.

KEEP SHOWING UP

When it comes to your goals, imagine what you want most. See it, feel it, believe in it, and then work daily for it. If you need to, break your goal down into smaller goals, and then break those down into small, simple steps.

Pursuing your goals isn’t about forcing an outcome. It’s about finding flow. You want to push and challenge yourself with stretch goals, but you also need to give yourself time and space to recover from setbacks so you can learn and grow along the way.

There is no goal too big if you are realistic about how to reach it. Never shrink what’s possible to fit your mind. Expand your mind to fit what’s possible by upgrading your mindset, motivation, and methods to give yourself the tools and resources to meet your biggest dreams.

If you’re struggling to stay on track, don’t beat yourself up. Often, a simple reset fixes the problem. Try rebooting your brain and realigning yourself with the HEART of your goal. Make sure to acknowledge your hard work and celebrate each success along the way—no matter how small. Remember, there’s a version of you that you haven’t met yet. Keep showing up and doing the work until you’re introduced.

As an added bonus, watch this video for four things you can change to maximize your results?