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This Is Why Motivation Only Is Not Enough For New Year’s Resolutions

This Is Why Motivation Only Is Not Enough For New Year’s Resolutions

As 2013 winds down, a lot of people are getting ready for the new year by setting their New Year’s Resolutions. Finally, they are going to make the decision to lose weight, stop smoking, go back to school, save money, travel, spend more time with family, and be happier.

Yes, on January 1, 2014, millions and millions of people will suddenly find the motivation that has been eluding them the other 364 days of the year.

And…this year is going to be different! Or will it?

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Motivation won’t be the difference maker.

Every now and then I get asked if I do “motivational speaking.” I always cringe a little when this happens. Motivation is not what I want to inspire within people.

Motivation is a temporary emotion that comes and goes. We have an experience that provokes something within us that fires us up. It’s an awesome explosion that will quickly fade unless one major decision is made.

That decision is commitment and commitment will be the difference maker.

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I don’t know about you, but I can get excited about a lot of things. I’ve set a lot of goals in my days and every single one of them started because I felt motivated. However, the only goals I’ve followed through on and achieved are the ones I committed to.

Motivation might be the spark that ignites the explosion, but only commitment will keep the fire burning!

Commitment is a choice.

It’s true; commitment is a choice to be made. It doesn’t just happen.

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I always shake my head when I hear people say, “I have no motivation,” or, “I need to find some motivation,” like it’s some wonder drug that is going to dramatically change their lives. The problem is they haven’t made the choice to commit to whatever it is they can’t find “motivation” to do. When you make a commitment, it’s amazing how motivation is much more accessible.

Don’t half ass it! If you are going to set goals, don’t rely on motivation. Commit to your results!

The process of commitment.

I can only speak for myself, but it tends to be easier to make a commitment when things are meaningful to me and really align well with who I am and who I want to be, versus trying to commit to every explosion of excitement ignited by external influences. The challenge is knowing—I mean really knowing—what is meaningful to you. Not what society says should be important, not what your family or friends say should be important, but what you determine to be truly meaningful. Now, I’m not telling you to disregard what your family and friends say, but you have to make the final call and when you do it has to be true to you.

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Whether you have a hard time articulating what’s meaningful to you, or you just need to do some reassessing, there are some great exercises out there that can help you figure this out. For me it was reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People 13 years ago. I can honestly say it changed my life. No exaggeration.

What is meaningful to you?

I’ve put together a set of worksheets I use with my clients. In them I challenge their thinking by asking them some important questions:

  • On a scale of 1–10, how would you rate your happiness in seven key areas of your life?
  • What don’t you want in your life?
  • What do you want in your life?
  • How do you want to be remembered?
  • What is your Personal Success Statement?

At the end of the day, you have to decide what type of person you need to commit to being to reach your goals in 2014. Do you want to be like the masses and talk a big game only to fizzle? Or do you want to be one of the few that sets a goal, makes the commitment, and achieves success?

It’s your choice!

How committed will you in 2014?

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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