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The Brainy Business | Understanding the Psychology of Why People Buy | Behavioral Economics

Oct 18, 2019

How do successful people get things done? A lot of it has to do with setting and achieving goals. A topic that isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Today’s episode is about setting, reaching and exceeding brainy goals. We all have goals, and are all optimistic that we’ll achieve them “someday,” but the truth is if you don’t set your goals up correctly, there is a good chance life will move too fast, and you won’t achieve what you’re capable of. (I’ve linked to episodes on time discounting and optimism bias that help explain why our brains are fine with “someday”.)

Everywhere you look, you’ll find advice on goal setting and tips and tools to help you achieve what you want. Success can be as simple as taking (and adhering to) the following three steps to set and achieve your brainy goals. All you have to do is 1) define your goals limiting them to no more than three. Then 2) break those large goals into small steps that will get you there, and 3) say NO to everything else, so you can focus on what really matters. Sounds easy right?

Not so fast. Our brains are wired to rebel against this simple process. (Especially, step three.) Saying NO is the hardest part, and where most humans get hung up. We want to do a little of this and a little of that…multitask…not limit ourselves. You’ve likely heard some of these tips before, but I’m adding the extra (and very important) layer of explaining WHY your brain doesn’t want to adhere to the plan to help you fight it when it rebels against you. This show will explain the way our brains react to these steps, and if you want someone to walk through the steps with you the Brainy Mindset Course (cart opens next week!) can do that.


Show Notes:

  • [04:23] We all have goals, but if we don't set them up correctly, there's a good chance we won't achieve them.
  • [04:48] The three tips for setting and achieving brainy goals are: 1) define your goals, 2) break it down into smaller steps, and 3) say no to everything else.
  • [05:22] Saying no to everything else is the hardest one for humans to do.
  • [05:37] In a few weeks, I'm going to have author Nir Eyal on the show to talk about his new book Indistractable.
  • [05:51] One of my favorite insights from his book is that you can’t call something a distraction unless you know what it is distracting you FROM.
  • [06:07] The opposite of distraction is traction.
  • [07:26] When it comes to goals, you need to limit them. You cannot have 85 goals or even 10 or 5, because you can’t achieve them. It’s too much for your brain to handle.
  • [08:53] To limit your goals, you first need to list out every goal you would like to accomplish in the next 5, 10, or 50 years. (Use the free worksheet in from the Master Your Mindset below.) These are the things that you want done when they read them at your eulogy.
  • [09:09] List out everything you want to do and then think about how they might combine together and into an overarching goal.
  • [09:40] Now that everything's listed, pick three goals.
  • [10:51] Setting these goals can take some time but don't get caught in perfectionism or analysis paralysis. These are mindset blocks.
  • [11:13] Keeping you stuck is a tactic used by your brain to delay change.
  • [11:42] Your inclination is to have the top three be the most important, but still let goals 4-15 take up mental energy and be out in the world as things you are interested in. But they can't.
  • [12:16] Items 4-15 are a distraction that you should avoid at all costs.
  • [13:02] It's important to declare and OWN those top goals so everyone in your life knows what is most important and is on board.
  • [19:17] Setting three goals and then sticking to them is really hard.
  • [19:50] Once you know what the top three are, the next step is to break each big goal into small steps to get there.
  • [20:54] When it comes to the big overarching goal all of these other things are little steps to get there.
  • [21:55] Break the big lifetime goal into sub goals for the year.
  • [22:25] With tiny habits, you break your big goal into the smallest possible component, something that would be impossible to say no to.
  • [24:06] You can also use habit stacking to accomplish the small steps.
  • [24:46] Now that you have your goals, how tiny can you make the steps to reaching them?
  • [25:06] Every goal is reached in lots of small steps. It’s a sum of all the effort to get there, not the end result, and if you don’t plan for them, they won’t get done and you won’t challenge the status quo your brain loves and you won’t reach your goals.
  • [26:04] The subconscious brain is the filter that determines what your conscious gets to focus on. You need to be incredibly particular about what it sees all day to help guide the filter.
  • [29:21] Use reminders on your phone – set an alarm that repeats your mantra back to you or that you read. Put sticky notes on your bathroom mirror, or paint a picture that reminds you of the goal. (Master Your Mindset free mini-course has tips and a worksheet to help you with this)
  • [30:11] Determine what three things are important to you and shout them from the rooftops and put every single egg in their baskets. That is how you set, achieve, and exceed brainy goals. 
  • Thanks for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Android. If you like what you heard, please leave a review on iTunes and share what you liked about the show. 

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