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Visual goal setting to manage temptation

Untitled design-3Did you know that the human brain can proceed visual information 60,000 times faster than written information? How about that 90% of information that is transmitted to your brain is visual. So I have a question for you.

How is your vision board looking?

Oh you don’t have one? So what you are telling me, is that at some point you had a think about what goals you would like to achieve, and then you probably wrote them down on a notepad, maybe even listed the reasons you wanted to achieve them. Did you choose really compelling language and reasons? That’s so great! Did you set out a timeline for things, and break big goals down into smaller bite sized mini goals? Good for you!

Did you then close your notebook and pop it back in it’s special spot beside your computer? And how many times a day do you go back to that page and look at what you wrote?

Wait… Are you telling me that you haven’t looked at it again since you wrote it? Not even once? Before you start feeling guilty, you should know that this is probably not your fault. Humans are just wired to be visual creatures, and if we understand this, we can set up our environment to trigger us to think in a way that we want them to.

Here are some examples…

A physical or virtual vision board

Collect a group of images that evoke positive feelings to make good changes, such as a beautiful location at the top of a mountain you want to visit (but that requires you to be fit to get to). Maybe a photo of yourself when you were at your ideal weight and happiest. Even a picture of a really delicious looking healthy meal to remind yourself that eating great quality food is an indulgence, not a deprivation.

You can print off physical pictures and put them up on a inboard in your kitchen or office. You could create a collage and set it as your desktop wallpaper, or you could login to your Pinterest account every morning and get inspired that way. Whatever works best for you, so that you are reinforcing your reasons and goals every day in the most efficient way for you.

The sticker trick

I learned this fantastic little trick from a psychologist for changing your thoughts from unhelpful thought to helpful ones. You choose 2-3 thoughts that are really holding you back, like “No matter what I try I can’t lose weight,” “I just don’t have the willpower to be good all the time,” or “failing would be worse than not trying at all.”

Now rephrase those into helpful short statements, such as “I can do anything I set my mind to,” “I have the strength to do this today,” and “what can I do right in this moment?”

The next part is to write these statements on a card with a sticker next to it. It can be a tiny little imperceivable dot that nobody else would notice. Read the card a few times each day. Then put little stickers in places you know you are going to keep seeing them. Your makeup bag. The fridge door handle. Your phone. Your pen. Overtime you notice the sticker, you will say those couple of statements in your head.

It might feel like work at the start, but soon it will become automatic, and after a time you will start to believe the words you are telling yourself.

The phone reminder

Set up a reminder with an alert, that will make you look at your phone and read a statement. It might be a positive statement, an inspirational quote, or one of your reasons for doing what you do. When you add a new one, set it to repeat once a day, week, or month. When you have these happy little thoughts popping up all the time, nudging you to stay on track, you are bound to feel inspired to work on being your best self!

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