Self-discipline with fun: making good intentions and decisions sexy?


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Often we take goals and intentions and then we feel like failures, because we do not reach them, but give in to our impulses. Maybe the goals are simply not attractive enough? That's better.

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherGerman Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.

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Good intentions and goals are a fairytale

Short question: What is left of the plans and intentions that you have set for this year? Or have you long suppressed and forgotten them?

It may sound like a truism, but the fact is: Most people, for example, plan something at the beginning of the year, set goals such as “more sport” or “more money”. At the end of the year, you ask yourself: Which of the resolutions we have already implemented? Or, one size down: which goals have you already tackled?

Goals and intentions: Dust-dry or sexy?

If the balance is rather sobering, that could be due to the wrong strategy. And because we associate intentions with dust-dry duty fulfillment rather than fun and joy. In other words, resolutions for the New Year are simply unsexy. That's why we usually do not pull it out. Even if it seems so reasonable for our work or our lives. At least at first sight.

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Because in the end, people do what gives them the most fun and enjoyment. Or, scientifically speaking, you go to where the dopamine is released. Therefore, the best tip for achieving goals is to make the goal itself more attractive: for example, by tackling the goal in small steps. Because an over-ambitious, abstract goal is daunting and therefore unsexy. And another important point: for example, by visualizing goals with music or photos and visualizing them with them.

Make decisions: facts instead of emotions

In addition, the way we are taught to make decisions differs significantly from how we actually decide. As a rule, when we make decisions, they should be accompanied by numbers and facts.

For our wishful thinking is such that we separate facts and opinions from each other and rate them differently. In reality, however, that looks different: our emotions on specific topics are important and should not be ignored. And facts can not always be found, especially when it comes to something completely new.

Information processing: The reptile brain wants it new and exciting

The main reason, however, is that all our perceptions, everything we see and hear, first have to penetrate our so-called reptilian brain before they reach the neocortex, where our logic and higher intelligence sit and data and facts can be perceived.

Unfortunately, the problem with the reptilian brain is that it is the oldest part of our brain and is particularly bad at dealing with complicated issues. Our reptilian brain does not want data and facts, because it generalizes immediately omitting all the details. For information to penetrate through the reptilian brain, it must be new, exciting and simple, and thus emotionally appealing to us.

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Impulse control vs. Overload of the brain

This may even make sense because otherwise our brain would simply collapse due to overloading. But the problem is that facts and figures are boring and complicated in most cases. In this case, she simply does not let the reptilian brain through. Thus, the facts do not arrive in the neocortex and are therefore not processed.

We simply bury a purpose or purpose and turn our attention to other things, as our reptilian brain simply does not forward the information. Unfortunately, people are more likely to be driven by short-term impulses. But what can you really do about it?

Goals that really inspire: Think Big!

Perhaps one way is to get more inspiration. And inspiration can look very different, like Brian Tracy's book “No excuses! The power of self-discipline ”explains:“ Name three people, living or deceased, whom you admire the most and describe one of their characteristics before you Respect to have."

This could provide important clues to your own wishes, which might otherwise remain hidden. And another question that, according to Tracy, should be asked: “What one, really big goal would you set yourself if you knew you couldn't fail?”

Think positive and achieve your goals

Even if I do not unconditionally believe in “positive thinking, makes successful” - rhetoric and this does not usually work, I have often noticed that this is how you come across the really big wishes in life. Things that we find really attractive and sexy and for which it is worthwhile to overcome oneself instead of narrow-gauge goals such as “losing 10 kilos”. And maybe the 10 kg weight loss is just a good intermediate step on the way there?

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After all, one should also examine his good intentions: some things that one has set out to do may seem reasonable, but perhaps they do not suit us at all - or? And with such false targets, it is clear - despite all intentional programs - that you will fail in their implementation.


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  1. Jens Bornkamp

    Without a clear idea of ​​where we are going, there is no need to leave. Yes and of course the goal should be sexy too ...

    • Simone Janson

      Thank you for your exciting and goal-oriented comment.

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