You know that setting goals can help you succeed, but did you know that just thinking about goals triggers the release of a beneficial brain chemical that can increase your focus and motivation?
This tidbit comes courtesy of science and psychology blogger Eric Barker, who taps into the knowledge of neuroscientist Alex Korb, author of “The Upward Spiral.”
The blogger quotes Korb:
“The goals and intentions that you set in your prefrontal cortex change the way that your brain perceives the world. Sometimes when we feel like everything is going wrong and we’re not making any progress and everything is awful, you don’t need to change the world — you can just change the way you are perceiving the world, and that is going to be enough to make a positive difference. By thinking, ‘Okay, what is my long-term goal? What am I trying to accomplish?’ Calling that to mind can actually make it feel rewarding to be doing homework instead of going to the party because then your brain is like, ‘Oh yeah. I’m working toward that goal. I’m accomplishing something that’s meaningful to me.’ Then that can start to release dopamine … and that can start to make you feel better about what you’re doing.”
Barker boils down the scientist’s message:
“When you’re feeling stressed or challenged, think about your long-term goals. It gives your brain a sense of control and can release dopamine, which will make you feel better and more motivated.”