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Bilingual news and shares about the brain, languages and coaching

Newsletter 19 - Goals

the N in NeuroLanguage Coaching®

“You can, you should, and if you're brave enough to start, you will.” 

— Stephen King

I was debating whether to publish this newsletter before or after the New Year. It seemed like a buzzkill to end the year with a “you must do” topic instead of something fun and festive (‘tis the season after all!).

But then I thought about how many of us will face the dreaded question: “any new year resolutions?”. Notice how I wrote “dreaded”. That’s not a positive reaction. That means that setting a goal (a resolution is a goal, after all) is not always something that excites us. It’s another obligation. It’s another “should”.

I figured that if you knew how awesome goals can be when they are well-defined, clear, purposeful, and easy to set up, maybe this year you’ll not only make some great new year resolutions, but you’ll also stick with them as you’ll be enjoying yourself along the way. And that’s something to look forward to in 2024 ;-)!

The Neuroscience of Goals

The brain has four main regions that are crucial for setting and pursuing goals:

  • The amygdala:

    • Regulating arousal and alertness levels

    • Learning

    • Fear, anxiety, and positive emotionsAdrenaline and cortisol increase the activity of the amygdala and enhance the formation of emotional memories. Dopamine and serotonin modulate the emotional responses of the amygdala and affect its connectivity with other brain regions

  • The basal ganglia containing two main routes:

    • The go route, responsible for initiating actions,- activated by dopamine, which promotes reward-seeking and goal-directed behaviors.

    • The no-go route, responsible for stopping or inhibiting actions - inhibited by dopamine, which reduces the likelihood of unwanted or inappropriate actions.

      Serotonin also plays a role in the basal ganglia, as it regulates the balance between the go and no-go routes and influences the selection of actions based on their outcomes.

  • The lateral prefrontal cortex:

    • Short-term and long-term planning

    • Time perception in relation to setting and achieving our goals

    • Orienting - in space and in timeCortisol can reduce its ability to perform complex cognitive tasks, such as planning, decision making, and working memory. Dopamine and serotonin enhance its cognitive performance.

  • The orbital frontal cortex:

    • Evaluating our current emotional state and arousal state (as it relates to our goal pursuit)

    • Sensing progress or lack thereof

    • Motivating actions that are conducive to reaching our goals.Dopamine and serotonin modulate the reward and punishment signals of the orbital frontal cortex and affect its role in learning, decision making, and emotion regulation. Oxytocin enhances the social and emotional functions of the orbital frontal cortex and increases its sensitivity to positive feedback and social rewards.

So yes, your brain and your goals are very much linked :-)

Now that we know a little about this link, let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of settings goals.

Some Pros of Working Towards a Goal

Working towards a goal has many benefits for our brain and our well-being :

  • It enhances our ability to learn and helps us adapt to new challenges with increased resilience (neural rewiring).

  • It boosts our cognitive function and empowers us to navigate challenges more effectively (prefrontal cortex activation).

  • It heightens our motivation, enhances emotional regulation for a more balanced and fulfilling journey (positive feedback loop).

Some Cons of Working Towards a Goal

Not all goals are created equal. When your goal setting and goal reaching process is not well-designed, goal setting is counterproductive:

  • It confuses the brain, leading to a lack of focus and challenges in monitoring progress (vague goals and confused focus).

  • It demotivates the brain, affecting engagement and satisfaction levels (difficulty levels impact engagement).

  • It leaves the brain indifferent or resentful, weakening passion and commitment (relevance matters).

  • It results in stress, anxiety, frustration, and dissatisfaction (unrealistic expectations and pressure).

  • It diminishes the joy, interest, and value associated with a task (intrinsic motivation under threat).

Now what?

As you can see, setting and pursuing goals requires careful planning, execution, and evaluation. There are no cons to goal setting if you make sure that your goals align with your values, your purpose, and your vision.

Your goals can be reviewed, reevaluated, readjusted as your life evolves.

If you want to get started right now, here are 6 goal setting models that you can start using today - well not all 6, some you’ll like, some you won’t ;-)

You can use them either to just to start thinking about the goal(s) you want to set yourself, or maybe even to set your goals and start walking towards them right now.

6 goal setting - and goal reaching - models

In my next 2 newsletters I’ll be talking more specifically about goal setting in language learning and goal setting in coaching.

Want to find out more?

If you're curious about my sources or want to know more about goal setting, you should click here

And if you want to go back on my past newsletters that cover all kinds of brain related, language related, coaching related fascinating subjects, I suggest you go to my newsletters webpage

If you know anyone who'd be interested in signing up for my newsletter, don't hesitate to forward this newsletter to them :-)

Neurolanguage Coaching® is an amazing method that will help you learn a language more efficiently than you've ever experienced before. It brings together findings about how the brain learns bests and integrates these into a coaching process that will put you in charge of YOUR learning journey. As a Coach, I'm  the GPS to your driving. If you want to try it but are not ready to commit, I have a 2H Discovery Offer that might be just what you're looking for. Or we can just have a casual chat about it, just reply to this email.

Good to know

The Neurolanguage Coaching® certification is accredited by the ICF

 La certification est accreditée par la Fédération Internationale de Coaching

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