3 Simple Brain Hacks for Goal Setting and Goal Achieving

Sometimes, reaching your goals is all about using your head. Follow these three simple brain hacks to end 2018 and start 2019 on a high note.

It is that time of year that we reflect on our progress toward our goals for the year and start thinking about what we want to accomplish in 2019. So, how did you do? If you are like most of us, you didn’t accomplish everything that you envisioned for the year. But we get a fresh year to start over again. If you want to do better, I have a few tips for you and it is all about using your brain!

Why do we fail at achieving goals?

The answer is in your brain—and your blood pressure. And high blood pressure can help you keep goals on track. Emily Balcetis, a social psychologist from NYU, explained how properly set goals boosts our systolic blood pressure, which is the measurement of our body being geared up and ready to act. The more stretched they are, as long as we don’t feel they are impossible, the more excited we get. 

So, to succeed in goal setting, and especially in stretch goal setting, Balcetis’s research states we’ll want to follow these three simple hacks:

Brain hack No. 1: Plan for Obstacles

Have a plan, a backup plan, and a backup plan to the backup plan. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, everyone was betting on Michael Phelps. He had already won seven gold medals, and his next event was his strongest—his eighth gold medal was nearly in the bag. But then tragedy struck: he dove into the pool and his goggles filled with water. Virtually blind he activated his backup plan—he started counting his strokes. He knew how many strokes he needed to get to the other end of the pool. So, he focused, stayed calm, and yes, won a staggering eight gold medals. Planning for obstacles while at the same time envisioning success boosts our systolic blood pressure—it increases our readiness to act.

Brain Hack No. 2: Create the Right Habits

Setting and sharing intentions make goals happen. When we make commitments to ourselves and others, and we discuss, sign off on them, and ask “what can I do today” to get closer to achieving our goal we boost systolic blood pressure too. Being intentional and having others help hold you accountable increases the likelihood that we will achieve our goals.   

Brain hack No. 3: Move the Goal Closer

Moving the goal closer requires us to envision it, to see ourselves achieving it (such as Michael Phelps seeing himself win the race). Remember the goal must be specific and tangible (win this race) versus more abstract (get the gold medal). With this focus we activate the left side of our prefrontal cortex and the planning/envisioning gets stronger. We also light up the ventral striatum where we experience reward and get a nice dose of dopamine to cause good feelings around the goal being achieved. When we focus on the goal in our mind’s eye, Balcetis found that goals look 30% closer.

How you end is how you begin

When I work with my coaching clients, they find these simple tips valuable and knowing that they are going to be held accountable at the next session gives them the motivation to move closer to their goals.

How you end 2018 is how you will start 2019—join me and start strong!  Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in life are the day you were born and the day you discover the reason why.”

Imagine yourself 12 months from now, living the life you’ve always wanted. How would it feel to have the clarity to make that possible? How would it feel to have a group of people that support, challenge and hold you accountable to your dreams?

Join me and your peers—finish strong and start strong!  

Learn more  https://talentspecialists.net/unlock-your-potential/

Jill Windelspecht has spent 20 years coaching executives, leading global and regional talent strategies, managing change and developing people. She works with mid- to senior-level executives and business owners to reach their potential and help create organizational climates that lead to lifelong prosperity. Helping executives develop their leadership and communication skills so that they can build a strong, cohesive team and break through any barriers holding themselves and their team back ... and not have to burn themselves out by doing so!  View her website by clicking here or contact Jill via email at Jillwindel@talentspecialists.net.  

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  • Next up: 3 Ways to Increase Your Influence

    3 Ways to Increase Your Influence

    A lot of people get caught up in waiting for the other person to stop talking so they can start. But if you take time to really listen to what the other person has to say, you can sharpen your influencing power. Here’s how.

    A person of influence listens to people. They understand the incredible value of becoming a good listener. Listening shows respect and builds relationships—at work and at home!

    When you don’t pay attention to what others have to say, you are sending the message that you don’t value them. When you do listen to others, you are communicating that you respect them and show them that you really care about them.

    Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Every man I meet is in some way my superior, and I can learn from them.” 

    How can you learn if you aren’t really listening?  Unfortunately, few people are good at listening.  If you are one of them—fantastic. If you are like most of us, keep reading!

    What gets in the way of listening?  Here are 3 common barriers that get in the way of effective listening.

    Barrier No. 1: Overvaluing talking

    Effective communication is not persuasion, it is listening. If you are waiting for the other person to stop talking so you can talk, you’re not listening.

    TIP: A good rule of thumb—listen twice and much as you speak. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason!

    Barrier No. 2: Lacking focus

    Most people tend to speak about 180 words a minute, but they can listen at 300 to 500 words a minute, which can cause you to lose focus. You have all that extra space to fill and you can start daydreaming and thinking about what you want to say next or what you are going to have for lunch. 

    TIP: Learn to direct that attention by concentrating on the person you are with. Focus on their body language, watch for facial expression, look into their eyes.

    Barrier No. 3: Carrying personal emotional baggage

    Your past experiences, both positive and negative, color the way you look at life and shape your expectations—especially strong experiences. As Mark Twain said, “A cat who sits on a hot stove will never sit on a hot stove again. He’ll never site on a cold stove either. From there on, that cat just won’t like stoves”. Being preoccupied can make you defensive and impact your ability to really listen.

    TIP: Check your emotions and focus on the purpose of the conversation. Keep yourself on an even keel so that you don’t lose the purpose.

    Measure your listening skills.  

    Ask someone who knows you well to use these questions to evaluate your listening skills:

    • Do I usually look at the speaker while he or she is talking?
    • Do I wait for the speaker to finishing talking before I respond?
    • Do I make understanding my goal?
    • Am I usually sensitive to the speaker’s immediate need?
    • Do I make it a practice to check my emotions?
    • Do I regularly suspend my judgment until I get the whole story?
    • Am I in the practice of summing up what the speaker says at major intervals?
    • Do I ask questions for clarity when needed?
    • Do I communicate to others that listening is a priority?

    3      Tips to becoming a better listenter

    No. 1: Don’t interrupt. Give people time to express their ideas. Hold that tongue!

    No. 2: Focus on understanding. Listen with the intent on real understanding, not just hearing the words - apply meaning to what you are hearing.

    No. 3: Ask questions for clarity. Look at the speaker, suspend your judgements and ask questions to ensure understanding. If you show people how much you care and ask questions in a nonthreatening way, you’ll be amazed by how much they’ll tell you.

    There is no greater gift than being listened to and you should really be present with the person you are talking to. As an executive coach, my job is to listen and help leaders come to their own insight. Often, it is one of the few conversations they have where they feel like they are being listened to as well. It is very infrequent that we allow people to talk and be listened to. It seems like such a simple thing but the highly distracted world we live in is often the excuse we give to withholding this gift to the people we care about the most.

    "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply." --Stephen R. Covey

    About Jill Windelspecht

    How you end 2018 is how you will start 2019 - join me and start STRONG!  Mark Twain said “The two most important days in life are the day you were born and the day you discover the reason why.”

    Imagine yourself 12 months from now, living the life you’ve always wanted. How would it FEEL to have the clarity to make that possible? How would it FEEL to have a group of people that support, challenge and hold you accountable to your dreams?

    Join me and your peers - finish strong and start strong!  

    Learn more  https://talentspecialists.net/unlock-your-potential/

    Jill Windelspecht has spent 20 years coaching executives, leading global and regional talent strategies, managing change and developing people. She works with mid- to senior-level executives and business owners to reach their potential and help create organizational climates that lead to lifelong prosperity. Helping executives develop their leadership and communication skills so that they can build a strong, cohesive team and break through any barriers holding themselves and their team back ... and not have to burn themselves out by doing so!  View her website by clicking here or contact Jill via email at Jillwindel@talentspecialists.net.  

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  • Next up: 3 Guiding Principles Hyland Followed to Become a Globally Recognized Powerhouse

    3 Guiding Principles Hyland Followed to Become a Globally Recognized Powerhouse

    Read on to learn from Hyland on how maintaining a clear vision, measuring success and giving back to the community all contributed to making the company a global leader in the technology industry.

    Hyland began as a small, tech startup in Rocky River and has grown into a globally recognized technology force headquartered right here in Northeast Ohio. But getting to where the company is today was not easy. During a recent Greater Cleveland Partnership event, the company's leadership explained to attendees the three core, guiding principles her company followed to become a globally recognized brand.

    Core principle No. 1: Have a clear vision

    Before you go out to take over the world, you need to take a second to ask yourself a couple of questions:

    • What’s one thing your company is going to do that will help the world?
    • What do we need to do to become a great company?

    These questions will help you set the vision for your company. Make sure to write down the answers to these questions because they will serve as the guiding values by which you operate your business. (At Hyland, those values are integrity, solutions, partnership, family and passion.)

    Decide how you will go about bringing these values to life and revisit them frequently to ensure you’re staying on track.

    Core principle No. 2: Chart your success

    In addition to putting in place values and a mission that will inspire you, it’s also critical to be able to measure success. At Hyland, one of these measuring sticks is earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA. It’s not just about growth. Kirk said. It’s about profitable growth.

    Growth via acquisition is another important part of Hyland’s growth strategy, so company executives measure that, too. The company buys technologies that augment the company’s vision and commitment to innovation. And in doing so, Hyland brings people on board who are a good cultural fit. People are 90% of the investment Hyland makes.

    Core principle No. 3: Invest in community

    The presentation ended with an emphasis that giving back to the community is a critical part of being successful.

    A commitment to community giving can yield a lot of positives for a company, particularly as it relates to employee retention. Giving your people an opportunity to go out and help others is a powerful way of giving your employees a sense of pride in what they do and the organization of which they are a part. Giving back is not just a responsibility. It’s a privilege. It’s an honor.

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  • Next up: 3 Things to Know: Hiring the Perfect Team Members for Your Business

    3 Things to Know: Hiring the Perfect Team Members for Your Business

    Hiring is one of the most important jobs you have as a business owner, and you want to make sure you get it right. Here are three things you need to know when it comes to finding the perfect team members for your business.

    As long as you have one employee or intern, the topic of hiring is an important one for your business. Here we are highlighting some of the expert advice we’ve run on Mind Your Business regarding hiring.

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    The key to building a great team is to not only find those top-notch employees but to also retain them. That can be challenging for employers who don’t know where to start looking, who aren’t being intentional with their hiring, or who neglect to do their part in maintaining a positive work environment for their employees. From clearly thinking through what type of candidate would be a good fit to creating an effective work/life balance, here are 19 things to consider when it comes to finding and keeping top talent.

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    Wouldn’t it be ideal to hire an amazing intern who then turns into an amazing regular team member? Internship programs should be way more than just hiring your neighbor’s kid to make copies and coffee runs. An effective internship program should start with finding someone who is the perfect fit for your company and offering them an impactful experience. Here are three key strengths to consider when building your internship program that were discussed at the 2019 Cleveland Internship Summit.

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    And, whether you are looking for an intern or looking to becomes one, GCP has a one-stop-shop for all your internship needs. Visit GCP’s Internship Central to learn more.

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    We know we have Gen Z about to enter the workforce and of course there’s Millennials—but did you know that when effectively hiring and retaining different generations you might need to follow a different set of guidelines? The traditional approaches hiring managers are used to just might not cut it here.

    Millennials tend to stay in jobs for a shorter period than generations before them. Part of your strategy in retaining millennials at your company should include a lot of face time (and we’re not talking about on your iPhone) and recognition for their hard work. Here is your go-to guide for engaging millennials in the workplace.

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  • Next up: 3 Things to Know: How to Network Like a Pro

    3 Things to Know: How to Network Like a Pro

    There’s more to networking than exchanging handshakes and business cards. Here are three things we think you should know before your next networking opportunity.

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    Now, it’s time to apply your newfound networking knowledge to some upcoming opportunities. Check out the Small Business Resource Fair hosted by the Business Growth Collaborative on May 14. Join us for a day focused on helping your small business access the resources, support and opportunities you need to grow.


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  • Next up: 4 Leadership Lessons from BizConCLE

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