The 5 best strategies to achieve a goal

Whether we achieve our goal does not depend primarily on our mind, but on our subconsciousness and our feelings. Even if we are not aware of this, 80 percent of our decisions are manipulated by our feelings, even if we believe that we have made the decision rationally and reasonably.

The key to success is our feelings. Rarely does our conscious self dominate a decision. In satisfying our needs and desires, older and deeper brain regions play a central role and they want immediate gratification. Of course one can consciously contradict this desire, but in the long run it cannot be sustained. This is why you have to develop strategies to tune your brain to be "well-intentioned," so to speak.

Young man smiling while holding a scale

Rule 1) Set exact dates and stay on the ball

Our brain loves clear messages. Vague and inaccurate commitments are doomed to failure. A goal, which we define exactly and store with firm conviction and a nudge "from now on," influences the entire autonomic nervous system. In medicine we understand the power of conscious decision. "I'm getting healthy now!" This affirmation, formulated and expressed with conviction, is a powerful thought. It stimulates the body's self-healing powers, activates the subconscious and thus sets the healing process in motion. However, the implementation of the goal must be tackled within two days, otherwise the good intentions evaporate.

Rule 2) The exact formulation of the goal

The right formulation is crucial for success. Our brains can not do much with vague statements like, "I want to get slim." The goal should be measurable, realistic and timed. For example, "I am now 45 pounds overweight and I want to lose 2 pounds a week for the first 10 weeks, then 1 pound a week thereafter." The first major intermediate goal is set after two and a half months, the final goal after a further five months.

Rule 3) The principle of the chain

Behind this principle lies the idea of working daily on the achievement of one's goal and to document this by making entries for the respective day, thereby making the pursuit visible. The more days added, the longer and stronger the chain becomes and the more clearly one can see the daily progress. This motivates us to stay tuned and keep going. Apps that help you to document your diet and at the same time remind you of your exercise program, for instance, can be a great help.

Rule 4) "If - then"

Not only must the goal be formulated precisely, but also the plan of how the goal is to be achieved. A plan will only be effective if it specifies exactly when, where and how the individual steps are to be taken and if the good intentions are translated into concrete behavior. To do this, we must break down the path to the goal into a causal link "if - then." Let us take our example from above: "I want to lose 45 pounds." The decisive "if-then" link is thus: "I pay attention to the energy density of my meals every day and when I have consumed 1,500 cal, I eat nothing more."

Rule 5) The power of internal visualization

The visualization of a goal is a very effective motivational technique. Our brain does not think in words but in pictures. If we imagine something, a movie runs in our heads. Imagine how you look slim. Memorize this picture exactly -- the more detailed the better -- and replay it again and again in your head. Our subconscious does not recognize the difference between reality and vision. This means that our brain assumes that we will reach our regardless.

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