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Managing OneselfAs this example suggests, it is rarely possible—or even particularly fruitful—to look too far ahead. A plan can usually cover no more than 18 months and still be reasonably clear and specific. So the question in most cases should be, Where and how can I achieve results that will make a difference within the next year and a half? The answer must balance several things. First, the results should be hard to achieve—they should require “stretching,” to use the current buzzword. But also, they should be within reach. To aim at results that cannot be achieved—or that can be only under the most unlikely circumstances—is not being ambitious; it is being foolish. Second, the results should be meaningful. They should make a difference. Finally, results should be visible and, if at all possible, measurable. From this will come a course of action: what to do, where and how to start, and what goals and deadlines to set.
Opinion: COVID-19 is like running a marathon with no finish line. What does sports science say about how we can win it? - The Globe and MailIn studies where, instead of racing, volunteers were asked to run or cycle at a preassigned pace with or without being told how long they would have to maintain that pace, those with no knowledge of the endpoint showed a lower heart rate and reported a lower subjective perception of effort. Their brain activity also shifted away from high-energy executive function regions to the more restful default network associated with daydreaming. When we’re settling in for the long haul, in other words, our bodies and minds make appropriate adjustments.
Opinion: COVID-19 is like running a marathon with no finish line. What does sports science say about how we can win it? - The Globe and MailBy the time Mr. Wardian decided to pull the chute in his ultramarathon, his only remaining competitors were a guy on a treadmill in the Czech Republic and a woman in Sweden who had plowed her loop through several feet of snow. With the dawn of a third day of racing still a few hours off, he wandered over to the tent he’d set up outside his house and told his wife, who was crewing for him, that he didn’t want to continue. “That’s not a good excuse,” she replied. He considered it and decided she was right. He headed back out for another lap.
Perseverance toward life goals can fend off depression, anxiety, panic disorders: Looking on the bright side also acts as a safeguard, according to 18-year study -- ScienceDailyAt each interval, participants were asked to rate their goal persistence (e.g., "When I encounter problems, I don't give up until I solve them"), self-mastery (e.g., "I can do just anything I really set my mind to") and positive reappraisal (e.g., "I can find something positive, even in the worst situations"). Diagnoses for major depressive, anxiety and panic disorders were also collected at each interval. People who showed more goal persistence and optimism during the first assessment in the mid-1990s had greater reductions in depression, anxiety and panic disorders across the 18 years, according to the authors.
Why modest goals are so appealing: Achieving a small incremental goal is perceived as easier -- and more satisfying -- than maintaining the status quo -- ScienceDaily"When evaluating goal difficulty, our brain first considers the gap between the starting point and the desired state. Usually, the bigger the gap, the more difficult the goal. However, if there is no gap to speak of, as in the case of a status quo goal, the brain starts scanning the context, anticipating potential reasons for failure," said study co-author Amitava Chattopadhyay, Professor of Marketing and the GlaxoSmithKline Chaired Professor of Corporate Innovation at INSEAD. For example, if your goal is to keep the same weight this year, you may start considering the odds of you regularly eating out due to a high workload, the number of your upcoming business trips, the fact that a new donut shop has opened in your neighbourhood, etc. "Our assessment of context is peculiar in the sense that it is greatly impacted by a negativity bias," says Antonios Stamatogiannakis, Assistant Professor of Marketing at IE Business School. Our brain has evolved over the millennia to be more sensitive to bad news than good news. Most of us instinctively give more weight to potential reasons for failure than reasons for success. When a status quo goal is directly compared to one that involves a modest improvement, objectivity prevails: The absence of a gap makes the status quo goal seems easier, as logic would dictate. Nevertheless, in such a direct comparison scenario, study participants still preferred to pursue a small incremental goal over a "maintenance" goal, as they expected this achievement to be more satisfying.
Men take shortcuts, while women follow well-known routes: Study confirms that men and women tend to adopt different navigation strategies and men navigate more efficiently than women -- ScienceDaily"As predicted from previous research, these experiments showed that men were more likely to take shortcuts and on average reached their goal location faster than women. In contrast, female participants were more likely to follow learned routes and wander," explains Boone. "In both experiments, men were significantly more efficient than women, even after controlling for the effects of strategy."
Concrete goals are easier to achieve/measure = happinesssFurther experiments revealed that when people framed their happiness goals more concretely, they tended to get what they expected. In contrast, abstract goals tended to make people unrealistic. After all, can you really make someone happy in the long-term by telling them a funny story or giving them a gift? Of course not. But you can still make them smile. This research suggests that by thinking in concrete ways about our goals for happiness, we can minimise the gap between our expectations and what is actually possible.
Overall, guests asked to make a specific commitment and who were given a pin were most likely to hang towels for re-use, and they hung a greater proportion of their used towels than guests in the other conditions. These guests were also more likely to turn out the lights when leaving the room than guests in other conditions. Interestingly, those guests given a Friend of the Environment pin who did not get any message were actually less likely to hang towels for re-use than those in other conditions. Advertisement Guests who agreed to the general goal to save energy were at best slightly more likely than those who received no message at all. Thus, the general goal had little impact on people’s behavior. This finding is interesting, because people were somewhat more willing to commit to the general goal than to the specific one.
Measuring life in activitiesInstead of measuring your life in units of time, you can measure it in activities or events. To use myself as an example: I’m 34, so let’s be super optimistic and say I’ll be hanging around drawing stick figures till I’m 90.1 If so, I have a little under 60 winters left:
I am an egotistical person; there is no doubt about it. I knew that most people who took a sabbatical to write a book, didn't finish it on time. So before I left, I told all my friends that when I come back, that book was going to be done! Yes, I would have it done - I'd have been ashamed to come back without it! I used my ego to make myself behave the way I wanted to. I bragged about something so I'd have to perform. I found out many times, like a cornered rat in a real trap, I was surprisingly capable. I have found that it paid to say, ``Oh yes, I'll get the answer for you Tuesday,'' not having any idea how to do it. By Sunday night I was really hard thinking on how I was going to deliver by Tuesday. I often put my pride on the line and sometimes I failed, but as I said, like a cornered rat I'm surprised how often I did a good job. I think you need to learn to use yourself. I think you need to know how to convert a situation from one view to another which would increase the chance of success.
“Making a living is nothing,” the novelist and critic Elizabeth Hardwick wrote in an essay titled “Grub Street: New York,” first published more than 50 years ago in the inaugural issue of The New York Review of Books. “The great difficulty is making a point, making a difference — with words.” She might just as well have said with images, sounds or the movement of bodies; words just happened to be her chosen medium. And her words in this case still stand as a concise, slightly scolding credo for the creative class. Nobody cares how you pay your rent. Your job is to show us something we didn’t know we needed to see.
Most marathoners run the final 2.195 kilometers (1 mile, 640 yards) about 8 to 10 percent slower than they run the preceding distance. The clear exception is those who need to stay on pace to meet their goal; they push themselves harder and slow much less toward the end.