Tag Archives: goals

Assertiveness: A complete guide on this social and communication skill

Assertiveness. Imagine that you are living the following situations:

  • You lend a friend one of your books. She returns it with pages missing.
  • Your friend always asks to borrow a few dollars when you go out, but he never repays you. You begin to resent that he does this all the time.

How do you act? Do you say something to your friend? How would you say it? In this article we will learn about what assertiveness is, the differences between passiveness, aggression, and assertiveness, the importance of being assertive, plus techniques and exercises to become more assertive.

Assertiveness

What is assertiveness?

Assertiveness is a social skill that involves being confident and self-assured without being confrontational or aggressive. Being assertive means that you can get your point across without upsetting others or becoming upset yourself. The response of being passive or aggressive from time to time, which we all can be, is a result of a lack of self-confidence. This is why assertiveness is often associated with self-esteem. Assertiveness also respects the opinions and thoughts of others.

  • Cognitive assertiveness means to not have many anxious thoughts- especially when under stress.
  • Behavioral assertiveness is about asking for what you want while still respecting others.
General Cognitive Assessment Battery from CogniFit: Study brain function and complete a comprehensive online screening. Precisely evaluate a wide range of abilities and detect cognitive well-being (high-moderate-low). Identify strengths and weaknesses in the areas of memory, concentration/attention, executive functions, planning, and coordination.

The Oxford Dictionary defines it as, “forthright, positive, insistence on the recognition of one’s rights”.

“A form of behavior characterized by a confident declaration or affirmation of a statement without need of proof; this affirms the person’s rights or point of view without either aggressively threatening the rights of another (assuming a position of dominance) or submissively permitting another to ignore or deny one’s rights or point of view.” -Dorland’s Medical Dictionary

Essentially, these definitions mean being able to stand up for yourself or someone else’s rights in a calm way.

Some research has shown that gender can affect how assertive behavior is perceived. It is said that men are more likely to be rewarded for being assertive than women. A study done on female Taiwanese nurses found that after splitting them into two groups, one with assertiveness training and the other not, those who had assertiveness training (during the four-week study period) found a strong correlation between being assertive, and treating stress and non-assertive behaviors.

Although the idea and act of being assertive have existed for all of the time, assertiveness became a bigger and bigger phenomenon during the second half of the 20th century. It was taught as a behavioral skill by personal development experts, and by (cognitive) behavioral therapists. It became popularized through books like Your Perfect Right: A Guide to Assertive Behavior (1970) and When I Say No, I Feel Guilty: How To Cope Using the Skills of Systematic Assertiveness Therapy (1975).

What does assertiveness mean?

Assertiveness has different types of behaviors and traits. There is a sweet spot for being assertive. If you’re above that sweet spot, you won’t get your way (passive). If you’re below the sweet spot, you won’t get along with others (aggressive). Some behaviors and traits associated with assertiveness are:

  • Being open to yours and others wishes, thoughts, and feelings
  • Listening to others’ points of view and to respond properly, whether you agree with them or not
  • Accepting responsibilities and being able to empower others
  • Expressing appreciation and gratitude for what others have done or what they are doing
  • Behaving just, fair, and equal to others
  • Being able to maintain self-control
  • Being able to admit mistakes and apologize

Assertiveness vs. Passive

To be passive means to respect others wishes and to undermine one’s individual rights and self-confidence. Many people act passively because they want to be liked by others. Being passive means placing the wishes and feelings of others before your own and not being able to communicate your thoughts or feelings effectively in order to advocate for what you want. In reality, it’s saying “yes” when all you want is to say “no”. For example, your spouse asks you if you have time to pick up the kids from school. A passive response would be “Yes, but I will be quite late because I have a meeting until 5 pm.” An assertive response is “No, I can’t because I have a really important meeting with my boss until 5 pm.”

Assertiveness vs. Aggressive

It can be difficult to define assertive behavior because there is a fine line between assertiveness and aggression, and this line can be confusing. Assertiveness is based on balanced while aggression is based on winning. Being assertive requires the consideration of the feelings of others while being aggressive means you disregard others thoughts and feelings. Aggressive actions encourage the other person to respond in a non-assertive way, either passively or aggressively. Sometimes when people respond to a non-aggressive action in an aggressive way, it leaves the other person wondering what they did wrong and why they deserved the aggression. If thoughts or feelings are not stated clearly, in an assertive way, manipulation can happen. Manipulation is seen as a form of aggression although humor can also be seen aggressively. It’s important to keep in mind how aggression is seen. In numerous cultures and in many workplaces, passivity and assertiveness are seen as better responses.

For example, your boss places a pile of work to be done right away on your desk right before you are set to go on vacation. This is an aggressive act because your boss is disregarding your needs, feelings, and the fact you’re going on vacation. It’s possible to respond to your boss in an aggressive way by being hostile, angry, or rude. You could also respond with assertiveness by telling your boss that the work will get done, but after you come back from vacation- non-aggressively asserting your own rights while recognizing the fact that there is work to do.

Importance of being assertive

It often pays to be assertive. Assertiveness helps you become more self-confident and thus, helps you gain an understanding of who you are and your value, your worth. However, it is not necessary to always be assertive- assertiveness should be used when you feel it best.

Assertive people tend to:

  • Make great managers because they get things done by using justice and respect. In a study about what makes a good and effective leader, assertiveness ranked high on the scale.
  • Be less anxious and stressed because they don’t feel threatened or victimized when things don’t go to plan.
  • Be good negotiators by finding “win-win” solutions to problems. They can find common ground with their opponent.
  • Be good problem solvers and are better do-ers because they feel empowered to do whatever needs to be done in order to find the best solutions to their problems.

What are skills needed to be assertive?

Not everyone is born assertive, but luckily there are some skills we can use to help us develop our assertiveness. Assertiveness can be learned. Some experts believe that the key is to first understand the context, assess your behavior and that of those around you, and then to make the right adjustments.  

Some examples of these skills include:

  • Seeing the value of yourself, your rights, and your beliefs. Assertive people have a good understanding of themselves and recognize the value of themselves, their rights, and their beliefs by having a strong basis of self-confidence. Self-confidence will help them recognize that they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, which leads them to be able to stick up for the wants, rights, and needs of themselves (or others).
    •  
    • It’s important to not allow your self-confidence develop into self-importance (which can turn into aggression) because your rights, thoughts, needs, and beliefs are equally as important as everyone else’s.
  • Voicing your wants and needs with confidence. Being able to work at your full potential, it’s important that your wants and needs are met.
  •  
  • Understanding that you can’t control other people’s behavior. People are in charge of how they react, not you.
  •  
  • Expressing themselves in a positive way.
  •  
  • Being open to both compliments and criticism.
  • Being able to say “no”. This is one of the most important skills needed in assertiveness because it’s vital to know your own limits in order to stand up for yourself.

What are some exercises to help assertiveness?

  • Don’t wait for someone else to recognize what you want or needs. Either do what you want or need yourself, or tell someone else explicitly what you want or need.
  • Avoid phrasing requests in a way that sacrifice others’ needs for yours. If you want people to help you, it’s important to ask for things in a way that isn’t too pushy nor overly aggressive.
  • Stay as calm and even-headed as possible. If people act resentful towards you, use assertiveness to not react towards them in the same way.
  • Say what is on your mind, but be sensitive and aware of how your words might affect others. Being in charge of your emotions is key.
  • Be able to accept and acknowledge both positive and negative feedback well by being gracious and humble about it. If you disagree with a criticism, be able to disagree, but do so without getting defensive or angry.
  • Know that you can’t do everything and it’s important to protect your workload and your time by saying “no” when it’s necessary. If you need to say “no”, try and find a win-win solution in which everyone can benefit.
  • Be able to assess your own level of assertiveness.
  • Set practicable goals to be able to make small changes in your behavior to achieve a higher level of assertiveness.
Assertiveness

What are some techniques to help assertiveness?

  • Use “I” Statements. “I” Statements are statements that convey your feelings without imposing on the other person. For example, “I feel”, “I want”, and “I need” are all “I” Statements.
  • Being empathetic. Using empathy means you understand how the other person feels about and views the situation, and take their point of view into consideration.
  • Taking action. If your attempts at assertiveness aren’t successful, then you may need to become firmer while still being respectful.
  • Ask for more time. Sometimes we are put into situations that catch us off guard or we might not feel calm enough to respond respectfully. It’s okay to ask for time to compose your thoughts and to compose yourself.
  • Pay attention to the verbs you use. Some verbs “sugar-coat” a message to the point that sometimes the other person doesn’t realize what you are asking of them. Try using verbs like “will” instead of “could” and “should: “I will do this” rather than “I should do this”. Try using “want” instead of “need”: “I want you to be ready in five minutes” rather than “I need you to be ready in five minutes”. 
  • Repeat. It’s fine to be a broken record and advocate for yourself by repeating the message, in the same words, if people don’t realize your genuine intentions.
  • Think about what you will say prior. Prepare what you want to say in advance.
  • Forge relationships outside of work with your colleagues in order to feel more comfortable with speaking up and asserting yourself in the workplace.

What do you do to become more assertive? Let us know in the comments below!

The Pygmalion Effect: Can what is expected from us define our paths?

The Pygmalion Effect.Think of a basketball coach that encourages their team to imagine the ball going into the hoop right before they take a shot, the Pygmalion Effect would say there’s a higher chance of the ball going in because of the positive change in the player’s attitude, and the expectation that it will go into the hoop.

You may not have heard of the Pygmalion Effect, but if you’ve been in any role from a student to a CEO, the effect is in action in all aspects our lives. The Pygmalion Effect makes the notion that the power of positive thinking can result in positive outcomes—just by changing your perspective. Now you’re probably wondering if it really works and if so, then how? Is it our luck or our expectations? Keep reading to find out more.

What is the Pygmalion Effect?

The Pygmalion Effect comes from the Greek myth of Pygmalion, a sculptor, who dreamed of making a statue that fulfilled all of his ideas of the perfect woman and who he, in turn, fell madly in love with. Before he began crafting his statue, he knew that he wanted it to represent all of his expectations, his attitudes, and his beliefs of what he was going to put his energy into. The ultimate factors that made him so influential was that Pygmalion had higher expectations of his work that positively motivated him to succeed and therefore saw better and even enhanced outcomes.

Since then, modern psychology has used Pygmalion and his statue as an example of the seemingly silly, though goal-oriented, expectations into reality. We sometimes refer to the Pygmalion Effect as the Rosenthal Effect. This name is due to the unique classroom study conducted by Dr. Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson. The researchers wanted to see if the Pygmalion Effect could be used in a school setting where leaders, in this case, teachers could be led to change their expectations about their followers, in this case, students performance. Rosenthal did this by giving an IQ test to students that was evaluated at random to inform teachers the scores of students that could be “intellectual bloomers” as those names were given to their teachers. After the study, all of the students were given the original IQ test and what resulted was that the “intellectual bloomers” in primary school groups had scored higher than the non-bloomer control groups. Rosenthal and Jacobson predicted and attributed these results to the teachers’ higher expectations of potential “bloomers” than those who were non-bloomers, because these leaders had set expectations and believed that the followers would perform better and as a result, they had.

By seeing the power of Pygmalion in effect, the study had set the benchmark for other psychological phenomena, like social learning theory and self-efficacy theory, and now newer fields like Positive Psychology. The Pygmalion Effect and the power of positive psychology can not only improve your work ethic but even in how you see yourself, and how you see the world.

“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

What’s the reasoning behind the Pygmalion Effect?

You’re probably wondering if this theory is as easy as it sounds and that a change of mindset can be as effective as Rosenthal and other psychologists claim it to be. To start, humans naturally feel from time to time that some goals are simply out of reach. These ideas create unwanted anxiety symptoms and feelings of uncertainty. Though we’ve learned over time that these feelings are natural and can be useful to help us push through with the necessary motivation and we find the affirmation from within ourselves (intrinsic motivation), and from others, that everything will be okay.

But the idea that others can motivate or affirm us isn’t new. When we were babies, we would cry and we knew our caretakers would be there to assure us that everything was okay and it was just a matter of how they could soothe us. When we experience these feelings as get older, we don’t feel the need for this affirmation because our formative relationships from our parents and people we love assured us that the anxiety would pass. As we went to school, we knew our teachers could also reassure us and reaffirm that, yes, it is possible and yes, you can do it. We take this idea and use it as encouragement and hope to one day be successful in our life’s endeavors.

The Pygmalion Effect

The psychology behind the Pygmalion Effect works with the concept of self-efficacy within social learning theory that happens during our fundamental years of development. Self-efficacy is the belief of one’s ability to accomplish specific tasks and is focused on throughout social learning theory and social cognitive theory. Albert Bandura, a renowned developmental psychologist and devout social learning theorist, describes self-efficacy as an extension of social learning theory and that we have four sources of our own sense of self-efficacy: past performance, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and emotional cues. Pygmalion Effect is used frequently in verbal persuasion to act as a tool of encouragement from our peers or authority figures. Using the Pygmalion Effect for verbal persuasion is widely regarded as a form of self-fulfilling prophecy that states that believing something to be true will make it true, according to a literature review of self-efficacy in the workplace by Fred Lunenburg at Sam Houston State University.

Another way to talk about the Pygmalion effect is a form of self-fulfilling prophecy or the placebo effect. The self-fulfilling prophecy is believing in something enough to make it true—and works similarly to the placebo effect. A simple example would be if you have a headache you could take an ibuprofen to relieve the pain, but if you took a pill that you didn’t know was actually a sugar pill, or a placebo, you would still be at least slightly relieved of your pain, because you thought, “I took the pain reliever, and therefore my pain will be gone.” The theory attributes that with the expectations you put into the pill’s function ultimately changed how you wanted to experience its effects, may it be the real pill or just a placebo. Experiments like this using the placebo effect are crucial within medical and psychological research. The theory from social learning deals with our affirmation into our thoughts and our beliefs have changed in order to positively affect our outcomes, and in this example is to relieve pain. In the Pygmalion Effect, the sculptor had a certain expectation for his statue, and he, in turn, believed that his outcomes would reflect his expectations.

Pygmalion theory uses leaders and followers as a way to influence our thoughts and behaviors and has shown to be profound for those in leadership roles like a teacher or a boss. A trick to boost morale and productivity that many leaders use is Pygmalion’s Effect because it not only benefits the growth and productivity of a workplace or school setting, but it improves the subordinates performance by leading themselves into positive affirmations that let them have the power to accomplish difficult tasks and problem solve.

Here is a short video from Jeroen De Flander that gives a helpful visual example to sum up what we’ve said about the Pygmalion Effect

So is the Pygmalion Effect useful for everything?

Pygmalion’s Effect is a game changer for many. We know it can improve motivation, affirmation, and work ethic. This practice can be very useful if done correctly because we risk the other side of the theory and those personal limitations that may also exist. We can think of this as a double edged sword; the main principle of the Pygmalion Effect is that higher expectations lead to better outcomes, but the other side is that also lower expectations will also lead to decreased or even unwanted outcomes.

When we find ourselves stressed or anxious, it can be easy to slip into a hole of worry and distress over the goal that seems impossible that then leads us to shy away from the goal entirely. This other side of the Pygmalion Effect is called the Galatea or Golem Effect and is, too, a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Galatea effect reminds us that our minds can be a trap sometimes, and our feelings are not always the truth, but with positive leaders and affirmative teachers, it can make the hugest difference in how we see ourselves and our great potential.

When it comes to children the pygmalion effect has a certain influence. We hear parents often refer to their children as “shy, or clumsy or naughty”. All these adjectives lead to for parents to expect certain behaviors from their children. This, in turn, can take a part in their personality development, even though it is the opposite of what we would like.

This happens when we are not aware that a child’s self-concept is based on the expectations and beliefs that others place in them, more often authority figures such as parents or teachers.

What we express to a child about his abilities directly influences what he considers himself capable of doing. Just as fear tends to cause fears to occur, self-confidence, even if it is infected by a third party, can give us wings to soar. 

The Pygmalion Effect: The Take-Away

To reflect on the Pygmalion Effect, it was Pygmalion’s high motivation and expectations that let him make his self-fulfilling prophecy a reality, not a lack of ambition or struggles that he could have let define his actions. Thought patterns and brain training can be the most helpful way to let us see what our potential and our capabilities really are, whether we believe we have them, or not. The Pygmalion Effect can be one of the most useful ways to accomplish our goals and feel valuable and worthy in ourselves and in our communities.

Our friends and our families are our biggest cheerleaders and motivators, so if we ever feel like we are struggling or need help, turning to our loved ones can make the change we need to see in ourselves for the better. Thought patterns also help you show reasonings behind struggles and negative feelings related to motivation and productivity, which in that case seeing a counselor or a specialist that can help you identify and work towards changing negative thought patterns, and to overall reach every goal!

 

References

Lunenburg, F. C. (2011). Self-efficacy in the workplace: implications for motivation and performance. International journal of management, business, and administration, 14(1), 1-6.

Why Does Your New Year’s Resolution Fail And What To Do About It

As the new year approaches, many people find themselves tallying up all of the things that they didn’t accomplish this year, and making lists of the things they hope to change in the coming year. “Eat better, lose weight, quit smoking, exercise more, drink less, get organized…” The list can go on and on, but as the year goes on, where do these lists end up? Come February, many people forget their new year’s resolution to cut back on junk food and order a large pizza on the weekend. It’s happened to everyone, so how can be make these New Year’s resolutions last?

New year’s resolution

According to a study, 77% of people kept their resolutions for a week, but only 19% of people were able to keep up the good work over two years. Why is it so hard for us to keep our New Year’s resolutions? How can you make it last?

Why aren’t you keeping your New Year’s resolutions?

It’s always hard to make a lifestyle change, but it’s easy to keep a habit.

  • You want to change too many things at once
    Would you try to run a marathon after never having run in your life? Probably (and hopefully) not. The same goes for your New Year’s resolutions. It’s not impossible, but you would probably find it very difficult to quit smoking, eat better, and start exercising all at once. If your goal is too difficult, you’ll feel like it’s impossible to achieve and will get demotivated. Choose one thing and stick to that, and you’ll probably see how the other ones follow.
  • You’re not being realistic
    You’ve probably been told to shoot for the stars? Well, you might want to think about bringing those goals back down to Earth. If you give yourself a crazy goal, like trying to lose 30 lbs in a month, it’ll be unattainable and you’ll feel badly when you don’t reach it. Now sure how to start working out?
  • You’re not motivated
    A lot of people think that you have to find your motivation, when really you have to build it from zero. Motivation isn’t something that someone else can impose on you, and it doesn’t magically happen. You feel motivated when you make yourself feel motivated!
  • Your resolution ready
    If you’re trying to lose weight, but you have sweets, junk food, and your favorite frozen meal in the freezer, you’ll probably have a much harder time keeping your resolution. If you’re trying to drink less alcohol but have cans of beer in the fridge, you can see how it might make you want to have a drink when you get home from work.
  • Social norms and society in general isn’t on your side
    Quitting smoking is usually a big New Year’s resolution, so how does society keep us from kicking the habit? People are pretty conscious of how bad smoking is for you, and prices have gone up considerably, which does make it difficult to smoke, but going out also implies that you’re with your friends who likely share the same vices you do. You might have your group of “smoking buddies” who go outside and smoke together, but if you quit smoking, why would you go with them? Losing weight is even more difficult. How can you eat “healthy” if you’re constantly receiving contradictory information about what is healthy and what isn’t? Why would to do extra work if technology makes it easy to do everything? Why go out and get food when you can order in?

Get some stop smoking tips here

  • Your friends and family don’t “get it”
    “Come on, one drink won’t hurt you!” Substitute that for whatever your resolution is.. “grab a little piece of cake! One cigarette isn’t the end of the world..”.These are just some of the obstacles that we face when trying to create new habits. Not everyone will be trying to get you to fall back on your promise to yourself, but some close friends or family members might not take it seriously, and some might put their own pleasure above yours.
  • Characteristics of the habits
    Most people fall into bad habits for one of two reasons: They give us short-term pleasures, or the negative effects only appear in the long-term.

The factors that most influence our behavior when it comes to learning are those that give us automatic feedback or consequences, not those that take months or years to see a change. Think about working out, for example. You won’t see any major results in the first few weeks, or maybe even months, which is one of the reasons why it’s so hard to keep motivation high.

According to a study, some types of neurotransmitters that make us feel pleasure, like serotonin and dopamine are released when we perceive something that previously gave us pleasure, which makes us more prone to succumbing to it. Once a positive connection is made in the brain, it becomes harder to resist the temptation.

New year’s resolution

How can you keep your New Year’s resolution?

The part you’ve been waiting for.. how can you make your resolution stick?

1. Make one New Year’s resolution

Start with just one New Year’s resolution and give yourself the whole year to make the habit and stick with it. You can also add other resolutions to your list, but make sure you put them in the order that you want to achieve them! For example, 1. Quit smoking. 2. Eat better. 3. Work out, etc.

2. Change your environment

To really make a change, you need to change your environment. If you want to quit smoking, hide or throw out all of your lighters and ashtrays. If you want to eat healthier, don’t buy junk food. If you want to exercise more, put your sneakers by the door.

There are always little changes that will help you keep your New Year’s resolution.

3. Make realistic goals

Start little-by-little. If you want to start exercising, start by parking further and walking more. Don’t set out to lose 10 lbs a week and run a marathon 2 days later. Go little-by-little and set realistic, attainable goals for yourself. This way, you’ll stay motivated and will improve your habits!

4. Think of a goal that makes you happy without worrying about others’ opinions

You might be tempted sometimes to make a New Year’s resolution that is more in line with what other people want than what with you really want for yourself. Think about what you really want. Do you want to get more involved with your favorite hobby or set a goal to read a new book each month? Don’t feel pressured to follow the typical resolutions of losing weight and getting healthy. If you can’t commit to it 100%, set your sights on something that you really want to do. And remember- you don’t have to share your goals with anyone! You can make it as personal as you want.

5. Reward yourself

Rewards are a great way to keep you motivated, especially in the beginning when your new habit isn’t automatic. If you haven’t had sweets all week, congratulate yourself and really mean it! Maybe you need a little extra reinforcement? Take yourself on an outing! Go bowling or to the movies, or spend the day in your favorite park. But remember- don’t reward yourself with healthy eating by buying yourself a donut, and don’t smoke and extra cigarette because you didn’t smoke yesterday! Keep moving forward, not backwards.

6. Be aware that you might have some slip ups, and that’s OK

If you’ve ever tried making a lifestyle change, you know how hard it can be. You might find that one week you don’t make it to the gym, or that you have some pizza when you’re out with friends. This is normal and OK! If you punish yourself for every little slip up, you’ll end up exhausted and frustrated with yourself. Try not to be too critical of yourself and remember that you’re human!

If you do slip up, don’t dwell on it. Focus on how you’re going to do better next time. Didn’t go to the gym? Start planning next week’s workout and make yourself excited about it.

7. Make a resolution with a friend

Trying to make a change on your own isn’t easy, which is why employing the help from friends is a great way to stay focused and motivated. If you and your partner both smoke, try quitting together. If you and your best friend usually go out, cut back on drinking together! You’ll see how the sense of responsibility to one another can be a great motivator, and you’ll always have someone to talk to through the temptations.

8. Share your resolution with your closest friends and family

Letting your close family and friends know what your resolution is can be helpful, especially in situations where you might be tempted to break it. If you’re at a party or a bar, your friend can step in when others are pressuring you to drink, and your family won’t be pushing the extra piece of cake on you. You don’t have to tell everyone you know what you’re doing or what the purpose is, but you can subtly say that you’re no longer interested in x. For example, rather than having to awkwardly say “my New Year’s resolution is to lose 50 pounds this year” you could say something like “Thanks for the offer, but I’m actually staying away from donuts” (or cake, or bagels, etc.).

9. Plan for the difficulties

Keep in mind that just like some slip ups, you’ll probably be faced with some particularly difficult situations. If want to quit smoking, read up on what possible side effects are so that you’re prepared if you feel them. If you’re trying to drink less alcohol, plan for birthday parties by bringing your own cider or soda that you’ll be drinking for the night.

Think about writing down a list of all of the difficulties that you might think could happen. Parties are especially difficult for dieting and quitting smoking and drinking. Make a plan of action that you’ll follow. You’ll have a little bit of cake, and make sure to load up on salad and fruit, or you’ll keep yourself busy when your usual group goes outside to smoke. If you have a plan for these situations, you’ll feel more prepared and have a better chance of staying on track.

10. Write down the reasons for your New Year’s resolution

Having a written list of why you’ve chosen your New Year’s resolution will help build your motivation. Think about things like: using your time better, feeling healthy, playing with your kids, feeling stronger, improving your life in someway. These kinds of internal motivations are really powerful, and are the ones that will help you when you’re having a particularly hard time keeping your resolution. Put them somewhere you’ll see everyday and remember why you started in the first place!

What are your New Year’s resolutions this year? Leave me a comment below!

This article is originally in Spanish translated by Molly Minchew.

How the brain adapts when goals shift

How the brain adapts when goals shift.

Researchers have discovered how the brain is able to discard old goals and adopt new ones when it receives fresh information.

Using brain scans of human volunteers, researchers found that updating goals takes place in a region known as the prefrontal cortex, and appears to involve signals associated with the brain chemical dopamine.

“We have found a fundamental mechanism that contributes to the brain’s ability to concentrate on one task and then flexibly switch to another task,” says Jonathan Cohen, professor in neuroscience at Princeton University and co-director of the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. “Impairments in this system are central to many critical disorders of cognitive function such as those observed in schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder.”