We are taught this simple mantra from our youngest years and continue to get it hammered into our psyche far into adulthood. This strive for victory, for success, has led to many a parent, employer, coach, or pretty much any human being, to setting goals. It’s a nice way to measure whether or not you’re actually getting anywhere. Setting goals has always been a means to achieving that bright white light of victorious glory pulsating with fame and riches just beyond our grasp. Dopamine, a chemical in your brain, spreads pleasure and elation.
According to research, dopamine actually doesn’t help you achieve your goals at all. It simply courses through your body spreading temporary pleasure. It doesn’t even need delicious ranch to be consumed to start firing off; just the mere memory of that pizza and ranch tastiness is enough to send you to The happy place.
A study conducted at Vanderbilt University stumbled upon surprising results that suggested “more dopamine in the insula is associated with a reduced desire to work, even when it means earning less money.” Dopamine secretion doesn’t make one more motivated, it just makes the individual content temporarily – with complete disregard for the long-term consequences.
However, there are a few simple hacks to trick your mind into getting motivated WHILE feeling that intense sense of elation simultaneously.
If it’s crunch time before a big presentation and you’re logging in countless overtime hours or burning the midnight oil over some extensive research paper for school it will do you wonders to STOP. At least for a little. Go outside and remember that there is a world beyond the office or classroom. Sometimes, we forget that there is a world beyond our computer screen and that crucial reminder of the big picture helps return focus and motivation.
Studies also show that listening to your favorite tune not only secretes dopamine, but your auditory perception and cortical circuits in your brain, link past and future expectations – AKA turning on that whole motivation thing.
Tyrosine is one of the major building blocks of dopamine, but it also gives you more energy so you feel the drive to accomplish the mountain of tasks that might possibly be bogging you down in addition to the pleasure. Foods packed with Tyrosine include some yummy ones like: avocados, bananas, chocolate, eggs, milk, yogurt, chicken and a bunch of others. Focus on incorporating those particular foods into your diet and you’ll be feeling that surge of pleasurable energy in no time.
Dopamine is a tricky neurotransmitter and researchers are still trying to gauge what exactly happens when these triggers start firing off. Some people just want to lie around and enjoy the feel of pillow on face while others want to cross some accomplishments off their list and perhaps brandish a trophy about.
Whatever your goals are, if you are mindful of your diet, throw on some relaxing musical stimuli and give yourself a solid break every now and then, you’ll stay on track to make those goals come true.