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Huberman Lab

The Science of Setting & Achieving Goals


In this episode, I discuss the science of setting, assessing, and pursuing goals. I explain the neural (brain) circuits that underlie goal setting and pursuit. Then I describe nine science-supported tools anyone can apply toward their goals. I explain when and how to use goal visualization, when to use multitasking and how to use specific rewards to improve the likelihood of reaching your goals. I also explain why envisioning failures and their consequences are effective and how to set goals of the appropriate level of challenge. I also explain how the molecule dopamine is used to gauge our progress toward milestones and long-term overarching goals and how to leverage dopamine for goal pursuit. Finally, I explain a unique tool called 'space-time bridging' that can be used to support all aspects of goal setting, assessment, and pursuit. This episode ought to be useful for anyone seeking to improve their performance in work, school, exercise, athletics, or personal development. Thank you to our sponsors: LMNT - https://www.drinkLMNT.com/huberman Athletic Greens - https://www.athleticgreens.com/huberman ROKA - https://www.roka.com - code "huberman" Our Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/andrewhuberman Supplements from Thorne: http://www.thorne.com/u/huberman Social: Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/hubermanlab Twitter - https://twitter.com/hubermanlab Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/hubermanlab Website - https://hubermanlab.com Newsletter - https://hubermanlab.com/neural-network Links: The 85% Rule for Optimal Learning - https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-12552-4 Effects of Narrowing Visual Attention on Goal Pursuit Behavior - https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0146167219861438 Timestamps: 00:00:00 The Neuroscience of Goals 00:01:56 Tool 1: Learn Fast(er) by the 85% Rule 00:06:04 LMNT, Athletic Greens, ROKA 00:13:55 Brain Circuits for Setting & Pursuing Goals 00:21:52 Determining the Value of Goals 00:24:33 Psychology of Goal Setting: Assessing Value, Action Steps 00:30:29 Peripersonal Space vs. Extrapersonal Space 00:35:39 Visually Focusing on a Goal Line Improves Performance 00:43:50 How Vision Improves Performance: Blood Pressure 00:51:55 Tool 2: Use Focal Vision to Initiate Goal Pursuit 00:54:40 Tool 3: Use Aged Self-Images to Self-Motivate 00:59:33 Tool 4: Visualization of Goals is Only Helpful at the Start 01:02:05 Tool 5: Visualizing Failure is the Best Ongoing Motivator 01:07:26 Tool 6: Make Goals Moderately Lofty 01:13:05 Tool 7: Avoid Goal Distraction; Focus on 1-2 Major Goals Per Year 01:15:57 Tool 8: Ensure Specificity of Goals, Weekly Assessment 01:19:57 Dopamine, Motivation & Pleasure in Seeking Goals 01:22:43 Dopamine Reward Prediction Error, Controlling Dopamine 01:34:26 How Dopamine Influences Vision & Vice Versa 01:38:10 Interim Summary of Goal-Pursuit Steps 01:39:50 Tool 9: Space-Time Bridging 01:49:59 Summary 01:51:50 Subscribe, Sponsors, Patreon, Supplements: Thorne, Instagram, Twitter, Newsletter