Optimize your brain power and leverage your mindset to make positive and sustainable changes:

1. SET INTENTIONS, NOT GOALS 

Most people have an ingrained connotation for the word ‘goal’ – a point you score in a sports match such as soccer or hockey that will determine a win or a loss for you and your team.

Typically goals are associated with a pass or fail, for example a driver’s test or school exam. More emphasis is put on the end result vs. the actual process.

In contrast, intentions move you in a particular direction, fueled and directed by each step of the process, the learning acquired throughout, and the experience you gain along the way.

By providing space for re-evaluation and tweaking, intentions are more realistic and workable.

Once we set our sails and begin to navigate the waters of our life, new sights, sounds, smells, interactions, information, experiences, and understanding come forth.  This information needs to be considered and incorporated into our plan and can very well change our entire outlook on where we want to go.

2. USE YOUR SMILE BAROMETER

The best intentions to set are the ones that ‘Light Your Fire’!

If you are not truly motivated to reach an outcome, then you will not sustain the energy, effort and actions required to achieve those results. Procrastination will set in.

So think about your current situation, consider if/how you would like things to be different — then imagine yourself achieving those results.  Does that new vision make you smile?  If so, then go for it!  If not, find something that does.

3. LEVERAGE YOUR MIRRORS

We have something called mirror neurons which are a type of brain cell that responds equally when we perform an action and when we witness someone else perform the same action.  This internal response allows us to build empathy, understanding, and skill sets. Use this to your advantage and surround yourself with people such as a mentor, coach, club or friend who are walking your talk.

For example, if you want to quit smoking it would not make sense for you to hang out with people who are puffing away, right?  As well, if you want to become a better tennis player, then it would make sense to hang out with those who have mastered a higher skill level than yourself.

4. MOVE YOUR FOCUS

Focus is clearly an important skill to have when we want to do a job well or to achieve our goals.  However, when you have a BIG DREAM in mind, it’s easy to become consumed by it.  Ensure you have movement based activities interspersed into your daily life to activate your brain in different ways.

For example, if you have a goal of writing a book, sitting at your laptop hours on end hammering away on the keyboard will only fatigue you and make your brain stale.

Engage in something active like yoga classes, dance lessons, or trail hiking.  Or if you are short on time, do some quick and fun Brain Fitness activities. This will help pace your process, keep your brain firing on all cylinders, and make you more interesting to be around – no one likes a one-track mind anyway!

5. CHANGE IT UP

If you don’t know exactly HOW to make positive changes or move in the direction of your dreams, simply start by doing something (anything) differently than how you are currently doing it right now.

That can be as easy as getting up at a different time, eating different foods, driving a new route to work, or listening to music genres you don’t usually select. These small changes can reap big results, because novelty activates the learning and memories centers of your brain, spikes neuroplasticity and activates new cognitive pathways as your sensory system attunes to new input.

6. GET REAL

Your system is process-oriented and it can only take the next tangible step toward any goal. Real change does not happen in one full sweep – those scenarios are the exception to the rule.  For the most part, change is gradual and one step leads to the next.

Taking a first step can be as simple as breathing more deeply, eating healthier, getting more sleep, spending time in nature, engaging in more exercise, de-cluttering your space. These types of actions will galvanize a more positive mindset, grow your brain and be fuel for change.

Written by Jill Hewlett, Brain Fitness Expert & Wellness Authority. Ask about Jill Hewlett Brain Gym seminars and workshops. info@wellstr.com

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