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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?