How often do you set youself a goal? Every week? Daily? Or do you set the goals to increase your productivity? If you successfully tick off all the planned aims we aplaud you, but if you (as many others) slip to the procrastination track we try to incease your chances of reaching a goal.
But beware, there is no single tactic applicable to everyone but there are some tested by practise. One of the tested methods is called “implementation intention,” and it’s a simple and effective way you can prime your brain for goal-achieving success.
Psychologist Peter Gollwitzer breaks the common obstacles down into the following categories:
- Failing to get started: Either you simply forget to act (however silly this might sound) or there are plenty of other reasons such as you don’t strive enought, you don’t seize the opportune moment to act or you simply don’t recognize it, second thought at the critical moment - “the problem of overcoming initial reluctance” and hence you have a tought time choosing long-term benefits over short-term gratification.
- Getting derailed during goal striving: You overcome the initial stage? Congrats :) but now, how to stay on the track? You have to persevere in the goal, without letting these obstacles derail your efforts:Enticing stimuli, suppressing behavioural responses (this is a fancy of way of saying: “Old habits die hard.”), negative states.
Here is the way to fight back against the above mentioned obstacles. “Simply” make a plan in which you link a situational cue with a response that will bring you closer to fulfilling your goal. To do this, all you have to do is reframe your goals as “if-then” statements. The “if” part is the situational cue; the “then” part is your planned response to that cue. (“I want to be more patient” becomes “If I feel myself getting angry, then I will take three breaths.”). No worries, this is simple but years of reserach proof it works! Implementation intentions double your probability of goal achievement!
Make sure your goals are clear and strong. No amount of implementation intentions can motivate you towards goals that are vague.
Identify your personal obstacles to starting and sticking with your goals. Is it that you don’t remember to do the goal during the day? Is it that you have second thoughts at the critical moment when you need to follow through?
Now it’s time to formulate an implementation intention that will overcome your obstacles and keep you moving towards your goal:
Create the “If.”
Create the “Then.”
Make your “if-then” statements as specific as possible.
Write down your Implementation Intentions and review them daily.
Why does something so simple as formulating “if-then” statements work so well in helping people achieve their goals? There are a few reasons. It eliminates your choices because competing choices often act as obstacles to focusing on our goals. Secondly they heighten awareness of obstacles and opportunities by plannig your personal critical situations. Then it automates responses; if you’ve already decided exactly what you’re going to do when a certain situation arises, then you won’t forget to act or miss the opportunity to do so, you won’t have to waste your time deliberating on your course of action, and you’ll be less swayed to choose short-term benefits over long-term ones in the heat of the moment. Basically, your reaction will become almost automatic. And as we learned last week, automating your decisions…Last but not least, it conserves your willpower - the fuel that helps us achieve our goals.
Are implementation intentions foolproof? Of course not. Our brains are perfectly capable of overriding even the most well-thought out II’s. But they are an incredible tool for tipping the scales in our favor.
@Based on an article by by
Eddy has some inspirational tips of how to find success: Hey guys! Most of you are studying hard and are looking for ways to improve your cognitive abilities (I did as well). I stumbled upon a very simple way that a lot of inspirational personalities used to keep the mind sharp - napping :) Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but it works. Have a read and let me know if that helps :)
Are you working hard? Do you want to increase your chances for success? Have a nap!…and noo napping is not a city in China!
Sadly, napping is often frowned upon in our workaholic culture. But in reality, the nap stigma is incredibly misplaced. Naps can be one of the most powerful tools for self-improvement; they can increase not only our health and well-being but our intelligence and productivity as well. This is something great men have known all along. History is full of famous nappers like Edison, JFK, Churchill, and Napoleon were all ardent nappers.
Your Cat Knows Something You Don’t: Humans are among the few animals that take their sleep in one shot. The rest of the animal kingdom consists of polyphasic sleepers; they alternate sleep and wake cycles throughout a 24 hour period.
Sleep deprivation causes a host of bodily and mental ills, keeping us from performing at our best and enjoying life to the fullest. While a good night’s sleep is essential, a daily nap can buoy us up when we’re not getting quite enough winks. And for those who already sleep well at night, a nap can take take the performance of your body and mind to the next level.
The Benefits of Napping
- Increases alertness. A NASA study found that a 40 minute nap increases alertness by 100%. Other studies have found that a 20 minute nap is more effective than either 200 mg of caffeine or a bout of exercise. If you break up your day with a nap, you will be as alert and energetic for the second part of your day as you were for the first. So if you’ve got an event planned for after work, take a nap before going out on the town.
- Improves learning and working memory. This type of memory is involved in working on complex tasks where you have to pay attention to one thing while holding a bunch of other things in your memory. Napping also improves your memory retention; during sleep, recent memories are transferred to the neocortex, where long-term memories are solidified and stored.
- Prevents burnout and reverses information overload. While we often refuse to take a nap because we feel like we have too much to do, studies have shown that putting in extra hours without rest dramatically reduces your productivity. It would be better to take a 30 minute nap and return to your work refreshed.
- Heightens your senses and creativity. According to foremost nap scientist (napologist?) Sara C. Mednick, napping can improve your sensory perception as effectively as a night of sleep. This means that steak tastes better, the sunset looks purtier, and songs sounds even better after a good nap. Napping also improves your creativity by both loosening up the web of ideas in your head and fusing disparate insights together.
- Improves health. Sleep deprivation leads to an excess of the hormone cortisol in the body. Cortisol, known as the stress hormone, helps us deal with fight or flight responses. But excess cortisol increases glucose intolerance and abdominal fat, weakens the muscular and immune systems, stymies memory and learning, and decreases levels of growth hormone and testosterone in our bodies. These deleterious effects can lead to diabetes and heart disease. When you sleep, you release growth hormone, the antidote to cortisol which which boosts your immune system, primes your sexual function, reduces stress and anxiety, and aids in muscle repair and weight loss. Napping gives your brain a chance to rest and your body a chance to heal.
- Improves mood. The neurotransmitter serotonin regulates our mood, sleep, and appetites. It produces feeling of contentment and well-being. But when our bodies are stressed, higher levels of serotonin are used and the production of more is blocked. As a result, we can become anxious, irritable, depressed, overwhelmed, and easily distracted. According to Mednick, “napping bathes your brain in serotonin, reversing those effects and creating a more positive outlook.”
- Saves money. Instead spending $30 a week on Five Hour Energy or Starbucks,take a nap and boost your energy the natural and more effective way.
- It’s awesome. Seriously, napping. It’s awesome :)
And some tips for tailoring your napping habits:
- The perfect nap for everyone is 90 minutes long and taken between 1 and 3 in the afternoon. At this time, and at this length, your nap will consist of the optimal balance of all the different sleep stages.
- You need a boost of creativity. You need a dose of so called REM sleep then. 90 minute nap before 2 pm.
- You need stamina - 20 minute power nap. Don’t go down for any longer than 20 minutes though. We’ve all experienced naps that leave us groggy when we wake up. This is called sleep inertia and happens when you awaken during Slow Wave Sleep.
- You need to relax. If you’re feeling stressed, shoot for a longer nap after 2 pm and ideally in the early evening, so your body can get a cortisol break and repair itself. Naps will not affect your nighttime sleep as long as you wake from your nap three hours before bedtime.
- You need to pull an all-nighter. Instead of downing can after can of Red Bull, try what researchers call the “prophylactic nap.”Try to take a nap during the day; the longer the better, but even 25 minutes will keep keep your performance levels higher than they would be.
- You need to ace a test. After you study and before test time, take a 90 minute nap.
- You need immediate alertness. Try a “caffeine nap.” You down a cup of coffee or other caffeinated beverage and then immediately hunker down for a 15-20 minute nap. The caffeine clears your body of adenosine, a chemical which makes you sleepy. It takes awhile for the caffeine to circulate through your system, so it doesn’t effect the quality of the nap. Instead, it kicks in in tandem with the refreshment you would feel upon awakening from a normal power nap.
- Even a 6 minute nap improves memory function.
So sleep well :)
Have you ever thought about those super-human language learners compared to the limits of your own brain? Yeah, there are poeple who are fluent in more than three languages. However, it was explained to me, that these persons are rather rare since according to a linguist, poeple cannot acquire more than two languages properly. Maybe you are one of the super-humans who can prove the linguist wrong? Let’s read on.
Nineteenth-century Italian cardinal Giuseppe Mezzofanti, a legend in his day, was said to speak 72 languages. Hungarian hyperpolyglot Lomb Kató, who taught herself Russian by reading Russian romance novels, insisted that “one learns grammar from language, not language from grammar.” Legendary MIT linguist Ken Hale had an arsenal of 50 languages and was rumored to have once learned the notoriously difficult Finnish while on a flight to Helsinki. Just like extraordinary feats of memory, extraordinary feats of language serve as a natural experiment probing the limits of the human brain. Did these linguistic superlearners really possess some significant structural advantage over the rest of us in how their brains were wired? That’s precisely what journalist and self-described “metaphor designer” Michael Erarsexplores in his book Babel No More: The Search for the World’s Most Extraordinary Language Learners — the first serious investigation into the phenomenon of seemingly superhuman multilingual dexterity and those who have, or claim to have, mastered it.
In an age where geography and nationality have been shuffled the forces of globalization, ubiquitous connectivity, cheap travel, and the Internet, understanding how language lubricates our social interactions is crucial to making sense of our place in a global world. Erard observes:
Ideas, information, goods, and people are flowing more easily through space, and this is creating a sensibility about language learning that’s rooted more in the trajectories of an individual’s life than in one’s citizenship or nationality. It’s embedded in economic demands, not the standards of schools or governments. That means that our brains also have to flow, to remain plastic and open to new skills and information. One of these skills is learning new ways to communicate.”
Original article by Maria Popova
What is your language proficiency and can you equal to those language masters? Or you believe it was/is/will be possible to speak so many languages?
Documentaries. How much do they change our lives? Do you believe them? Hungry for a change?