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Find Difficulty In Achieving Your Goals? You Should Adopt This New Way Of Thinking

Find Difficulty In Achieving Your Goals? You Should Adopt This New Way Of Thinking

Do you have a major goal in your life that you are trying to achieve, but you are stuck in a rut as to how to get there? Have you broken down the steps needed to reach this goal? Sure, you probably have. Yet, you may be unsure about how to get started. The problem may lie in the way you look at your goals. You may be looking at the steps as problems to overcome instead of solutions to reaching your goal.

If you can change your mindset and start looking at goals as solutions, science has shown that you can develop more creative ideas. In the 1980s, business professors at Stanford University started teaching a relatively new business concept called Design Thinking. Design Thinking in business is intended to help businesses research and develop new products for customers based on their needs.

Design Thinking is based on five steps. They are:

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1. Empathize: This requires the researchers to fully understand the experiences of the person for whom they are designing the solution. It’s done through observation, interaction, and working side-by-side to learn their problems.

2. Define: This step is where the researchers process the results of their findings in the first step in order to find a point of view to address with the design of the product or solution.

3. Ideate: Now, the researchers will brainstorm and work to develop numerous different possible solutions. They should be as diverse as possible to allow the researchers to step outside the box and explore many original ideas.

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4. Prototype: Here is where researchers take their best ideas and develop them into physical solutions. Perhaps it’s a new product or service. This will be delivered to users in the last step.

5. Test: Of course, after developing the prototype solutions, the researchers must test them with the users they empathized with. Testing includes feedback on results to refine and improve the prototypes. It even includes learning more about the user and possibly adjusting your definitions even more to perfect your solution.

So, now that we know how businesses use Design Thinking, how can you use this mindset to accomplish your personal goals? One writer recently used Design Thinking to help her lose 25 pounds. It can also be used to find a life partner, a new job, go on that dream vacation, start a new hobby, or whatever goal you truly have.

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Let’s take one of those goals from above and talk about how Design Thinking can help you achieve it. Imagine with me that your goal is to find a new job. We’ll go through the steps to see how we can accomplish that goal.

Empathize: Why do you want a new job? If you’re not working currently, that’s an easy question to answer—you need to make money. If you are currently working, what is it about your current job that makes you want to find another? Is it better compensation and benefits you’re looking for? Is it a better environment, or do you want a more rewarding work experience? Understanding the reason why you truly want a new job will help you in finding it. The key is to start asking yourself why you want this and what it would accomplish for you.

Define: After asking yourself these questions, here comes the hardest part—defining which answer is the real reason. Maybe you are disappointed with the money you’re getting paid, but the real root of the problem is that you are bored with your job and you need a new challenge in a new field. The point is, this where you find the true answer to those why and what questions.

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Ideate: If you decide that you need a new challenge, and you’re not getting that through your current employer, you need to start formulating ideas of what potential employers can provide you with those opportunities. Start making a list of those companies and the positions you want. Be as radical as you can here to make sure you think of the best ideas. Changing jobs is not a minor decision to make.

Prototype: In our case here, this may seem hard to do. In reality, it’s not. Imagine the job you want. Create it in your mind and then develop a model of it at home or at another location outside of your current place of work.

Test: Now, try doing that job and record the results. Does it increase your happiness? If yes, then start pursuing that new job in the field you want until you find it. You may even need to use Design Thinking to land that interview with the specific company you want to work for. If your answer to the happiness question is no, then you will need to return to step two and make sure you have defined the true issue and continue from there until you get a yes.

By using the Design Thinking method, you are able to better understand your goals, why they mean so much to you, and you instantly become more creative in figuring out ways to achieve them.

Featured photo credit: Paxson Woelber via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

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Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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