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Shift Your Vision by Coach Jared MacDonald
Have your strategies for success and goal completion been challenged by the “new normal” of COVID? Not sure what to do next or how to get back on track?
Check out these applicable and research back “tools” from the “Hidden Brain” podcast series titled “You 2.0”. The first four tools listed below come from psychologist Emily Balcetis and her latest book, Clearer Closer Better How Successful People See the World. A link the podcast is included at the end of this if you would like more information.
Narrow Your Focus: Researchers found when they had exercisers focus on short term goals during their workouts they were able to finish faster, perform better, and feel like the effort was easier. WIN! A prime example would be a distance runner focusing on the person in front of them or a closer target than the end line. Repeat this process until you finish the distance. Any time you find yourself overwhelmed with a big goal, break the goal down into smaller goals and narrow your focus on the short term. You will find yourself racking up wins and it will help motivate and propel toward the finish line.
Materialize: Young professionals are notorious for not saving for retirement early on in their careers. There are many intangible reasons for this, but the biggest hurdle is the ambiguity of the distant future self. Exercise is a lot like saving for retirement. The earlier you start and the more consistent you are the more likely you are to be successful. To help make the ambiguous future tangible, materialize the future self. Write down what you want to achieve, imagine your lifestyle, activity level, what you look and feel like, write it down! This will help make the idea of investing in your future self seem more relevant and material.
Framing: Researchers set out to improve the nutritional choices of employees at a hospital cafeteria. To help nudge employees to make better decisions with food and drink selection they simply reframed the environment to make the more nutritious options more visible and reinforce the positive association with good choices and did the opposite with poorer options. How? First they put green stickers on the healthiest choices, yellow stickers on options that deserved more caution and finally red on the poorest options. Second they put the green foods at eye level to make them more readily available and seen. And moved the yellow foods slightly out of the eye line and the red labeled foods to the highest or lowest shelves so they were even less visible. Green labeled food purchases increased 12% and red label choices decreased 30%, that is a huge shift in nutritional value. You can reframe your kitchen/pantry to make the foods you want to eat more visible and reinforce them with labels to help your brain make better choices with less thought!
Expand the Horizon: This tool is priceless when you are on the verge of quitting, failure. Especially in the current environment it can be difficult to see progress and overly focus on shortcomings. Keep a journal and write down the things you want to accomplish each month/day/week. Mark off as you complete the tasks, BUT do not discard the pages. When you find yourself falling short on one item, or feeling like a failure. Zoom out by reviewing your “to do” list and look at all the things you have accomplished. Humans tend to focus on the negative, which makes sense for survival. This can be overwhelming and self defeating. Having a list of things accomplished and expanding your horizon can help you reset and realize you have been mostly successful and moving in the right direction.
WOOP: WOOP is a science based mental strategy backed by over 20 years of research to help us achieve our goals. It is a tangible to implement the tools listed above. WOOP stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan. First you name the Wish or goal. Second, imagine the outcome (this is where most stop when making their goals. Oddly stopping here is what leads to failure because your brain feels like it has already been accomplished and when things get difficult you will quit trying). Third, imagine the obstacles to achieving your goal/wish (IMPORTANT!). Finally, plan for how you will navigate and overcome obstacles. Create the plan, make it a matra that you can repeat. There is even an App to help you with this process. WOOP.
If you would like a deeper understanding of these tools check out the links provided below. If you would like more help and accountability with your lifestyle and fitness goals we are here to help! Please reach out and let us create a customized plan of action for you!