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How to Make Your Goals Work Better


How are your New Years' Resolutions working out? Mid-January is the perfect time to reflect on your progress towards where you want to be.

If you want to maximize growth, you need a strategy. This article covers several techniques that I've learned from books and personal experience that have worked for me.

This girl is obviously thinking too much! :D

Think Less

Thinking requires a lot of energy. Even realizing that you're thinking is using up energy.

The best strategy for any endurance activity, is really to define your goal (while minimizing thinking), and then, figure out the least amount of thinking needed to achieve the goal.

This technique seems to be really effective for me, but it's possible it might not work for you. I tend to over-analyze everything.

When your muscles feel tight, your body automatically responds by stretching.

Cue-Response Technique

The best way to learn a new habit is to take advantage of the cue-response mechanism in the brain.

The cue-response mechanism is when you teach yourself to automatically perform an action when you receive a cue. For instance, when you feel your leg muscles getting tight, a healthy response would be to walk around and stretch for a few minutes.

The reason why it works so well, is that it's unconscious, so it involves zero mental energy.

You can break the "cue-response" mechanism by becoming aware of what's happening, and "accepting" your current cue/feeling. This is a good way to break a bad habit, like gaming or bingeing. It always feels worst the first time you attempt to "accept" the feeling. Works for me at least!

Personally I have two planners: a small to-do planner and a larger planner for a short daily journal entry.

Journaling

The reason that journaling is so effective, is that the truth is, thinking actually is really important - you just have to get it done at the right time of day, and you have to be really organized about it - which is what journaling is all about: a daily log of your thoughts about your direction in life.

The best things to journal about:

  1. What am I doing well?
  2. How can I improve?
  3. Steps to reach a future goal.
  4. Write your own "words of wisdom".

Once you become an effective at journaling, it becomes so much easier to take swift action during the day without hesitating.

Remember what I said earlier: "Thinking costs energy". So get it out of the way, by making plans at night, and the next day, you can take off like a rocket.

Everything you do is awesome. But some things are much more awesome than other things!

Give yourself positive feedback, especially whenever you make a mental effort

So far, I've been talking about how important it is to think less, because it saves energy.

The other thing you can do, is increase your overall energy, by giving yourself positive feedback.

Sometimes it's easy to "judge" everything too much, and this makes every task feel much more difficult.

It's important to have a "bias towards action" - because waiting and thinking costs more than taking action, even if you risk making a mistake. (Unless you are defusing a bomb or something).

I wish the weather was this nice. *Sigh... Iowa in the wintertime.

Read read read read read

Reading is just plain awesome for your attention span, your imagination, and your well-being.

Sitting down and reading a book for an hour is something that some people are simply unable to do.

I recently read Three Body Problem, it's a Chinese sci-fi novel about aliens, scientists going crazy, and a video game that everyone keeps playing. Super good book if you want to stretch your imagination!

Eat more vegetables!

I've always made fun of vegetarians, but I've noticed a lot of benefits to eating more vegetables. I'm still eating ~3 oz of meat at night, sometimes chicken, sometimes eggs.

But the rest of the time, I mostly eat salads, fruit, and nuts. "Omega-3 Trail Mix" Great Value brand from Walmart is a really good trail mix - I think it's healthy and doesn't have too much sugar.

I just feel a lot more focused, happier, smarter, and more calm after eating more vegetables.

Stay active in your social groups!

Spending time with friends just makes life feel a lot better. And they can actually help you be a better person, if they challenge you in good ways.

The goal of quitLoL is to help each other make our lives better - not just by quitting LoL, but also by challenging each other to be better.

What are your New Years' Resolutions?

How are they coming along?

Comment below, send me an email (ben.quitlol@gmail.com), try out the new chat feature (on the homepage), or start a new topic in the forums!