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6 Powerful Ways to Transform Your Life in 2013

6 Powerful Ways to Transform Your Life in 2013

Do you sometimes feel like you are in a rut and you can’t get out? We all do from time to time. When I was younger, I remember lying in my bed most evenings before I fell asleep, and all I could think about was everything that was going wrong in my life, and played a video of all the things I wasn’t happy with over and over in my mind. I would think about all the things that I wasn’t achieving and wished that something would happen one day to make everything better, a miracle. Unfortunately, that miraculous day never came and the video kept playing over and over each night before I slept.

Did you know that only 10 percent of your happiness comes from external circumstances? At that time, I didn’t know that. When things aren’t going as well as you want them to, perhaps you aren’t getting the results you want or you feel like you are in a dip, it’s difficult to see how things are really going to turn out the way you want them to.

Sometimes when we are so caught up in our “problems”, we are unable to see any solution ahead or we keep trying to fix everything on the outside, when in fact, it is the inside that needs a little tweaking as well. Sometimes the smallest changes have the most influential impact and can change your life forever.

Over the years, I learnt some really powerful principles that transformed my life and it took a complete 360 degree turn, the results have been unbelievable. If you practice just a few of these principles below, I know you won’t deny how powerful they are

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1.  Change your focus

Why? Because what you focus on, you create more of. The worst thing to do when something bad happens is to keep thinking about how unfair, how crazy, or how unbelievable it was. The fact is that we can’t change what happens, but we have a choice in how we respond and deal with what happened. If you only focus on what isn’t going right, how will you be able to see what can go right?

Start to focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want; start to focus on what you can do and not what you can’t do. Focus on what is going well and not on what isn’t going well. Do you get my point? We do it subconsciously, but we are only sabotaging ourselves in the end because what we focus on is what we bring about.

2.  Question every thought

Your thinking is shaped by your beliefs about the world, your paradigms, and beliefs, and how you see the world is different to everybody else. Your experiences as a child, your parents, friends and family influenced your views and the way you perceive the world—basically, how you think. Unfortunately,  the beliefs you formed might not all have been good for you, but may hold you back instead.

If you want to change your results, start by looking at the related supporting belief. Your beliefs give you thoughts, which give you feelings. Then you act on your feelings, and this gives you your behavior, which in turn leads to your results. Question your thoughts and identify the limiting ones. If you don’t think something is possible, it isn’t. If you don’t think it will work out, it won’t. Take control of your thoughts or they will control you.

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3.  Aim to change or re-develop a bad habit

We all have some bad habits that are obviously not helping us very much. Habits can be the most challenging to overcome. but it is definitely worth the time and effort put in to try. Habits are formed from repetition, and the best way to undo a habit is to replace it with a better habit, also through repetition.

Which habits are undermining your results? What new habit could you develop to transform your results? Choose one habit to change and start with that, even if it’s just checking your email every 2 hours instead of 10 minutes—your results will change!

4.  Take Responsibility

If you want to change your results, you need to accept responsibility for them. It’s not empowering to feel like a victim and to blame others for the results you have. You can either be on the “cause” or the “effect” side of the equation; which side do you choose to be on? You have control over the results in your life, and you have influence, if you want. It is up to you to decide to take hold of the reins again and take responsibility for the things that you are not happy with. If you take responsibility for your results, your results will change.

5.  That one skill!

What is one skill that, if you excelled at it, would change your life forever? Sometimes, the thng that keeps holding us back is a constant; something we feel that we are generally lacking in. Is it public speaking, communication, time management or positive thinking? Imagine how different your results would be if you could master the one skill that keeps holding you back? Here are some great ideas 

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6.  Make a 30-day plan

Another great way to change your results quickly is by using the 30-day plan. The idea is to think about what you want to achieve/change in the next 30 days only, so it is not so overwhelming and easier to start.

You can do this in 3 easy steps.

1. Think about what you want to accomplish in 30 days. How many new clients do you want? How much weight do you want to lose? Etc; Write down your 30 day goals. Make sure they are specific, measurable, and attainable, but still challenging and exciting!

2. Think about what you need to do to accomplish each goal. Write down all the action steps you are going to need to do, break them into weekly and daily tasks and put them in your calendar.

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3. Think about your obstacles—what could happen that would prevent you from achieving this goal. Be prepared for the moments you normally hesitate and make a plan to overcome your obstacle.

These ideas have worked for me and millions of others. Some of the ideas may seem simple, but if you are not seeing the results you want, your solution might not be so complicated!

I challenge you to take up one of the suggestions in this article. Share your comments; I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and stories!

 

 

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Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

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