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9/28/12 2:50 A

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You know that inner voice that tells you that you can do your exercises tomorrow, or sabotages your healthy eating habits by saying "one candy bar won't hurt." I know it's hard, but you can do it. Check out this article to help you stay motivated in staying focused on your goals.

The Mind Trick That Motivates You
Stop daydreaming—you’re doing it wrong. Psychologists and job coaches are fond of telling you to “think positive” and to “picture your goals.” But if you really want to achieve your career or health objectives, you have to ground your daydreams in reality, according to new research from New York University.

For more than 10 years, social psychologist Gabriele Oettingen, Ph.D., has studied different methods of visualization and goal-attainment. Here’s what she’s figured out: Simply imagining your goal—such as exercising more often, or eating better—is more likely to drain your energy than to inspire you. Why? Positive fantasies don’t include the hard work and effort needed to make a change or reach a goal, Oettingen says. And so, when you’re faced with those real-life roadblocks, your fantasy falls apart and you tend to feel demoralized.

So what’s the recipe for success? Get a little negative. Compare your current behavior to your desired behavior, think about the potential obstacles, and imagine ways to overcome those obstacles, Oettingen says.

In a series of studies, Oettingen and her colleagues employed this method with everyone from young students to middle-aged adults. Whether the goal was to eat healthier snacks, exercise more often, or form better relationships, Oettingen’s techniques increased the study participants’ success rates 20 to 50 percent more. (Ready to have the life and body you want? Follow these 7 Steps to Achieve Any Goal.)

Click on the link below to view some tips on how to make your daydreams work for you:

“How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.” John Burroughs


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