Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Goal Setting and Human Psychology

This evening, I was discussing with my wife the importance of focusing one's energies and setting goals. It occurred to me that goal setting is the most overlooked and most powerful tool for self growth. Studies have shown people who create goals and implement plans to achieve them are vastly more likely to succeed. Proper goal setting is the tool of the homo econimus, rational, self actualizing man.

But the problem is that most people don't understand HOW to set their goals. Failure at this initial step undermines the whole process that follows, like a house built on quicksand - it may seem stable, but the slightest pressure will send it sinking into the swamp.

So what is a goal? It isn't an idea, or a concept, or a state. A proper goal is a measurable result of an action. "Being a good person/spouse" isn't a goal. It's certainly a nice idea and something to aspire to, but it is ultimately meaningless and undefined. Even "losing weight" isn't a proper goal because it is too nebulous. The scale went down overnight, so am I done?

The power of a goal is the creation of a psychological reality, an obligation to the self that lends itself to oriented thinking. This can only be accomplished through definition. To-do lists work because they prescribe specific actions to be taken in an immediate time frame with organization and importance. It is NOT enough to say "I want to lose weight." In order to be effective, one must say how much and by when. Conversely, saying your goal is "to finish school" doesn't work because there is no action explicitly connected to your goal, making it impossible to gage progress.

Once you have an action, clearly defined in scope and in time, it becomes natural to measure your progress against that goal. Consciousness becomes the key to your success, and the way to make awareness natural is through planning and reviewing your goals. Being mindful of HOW we build our goals can help us move naturally in the direction of our dreams.

Friday, August 16, 2013

4 Minute Hoax: Investigating Methods of Emotional Manipulation

First, an apology - It's been 8 months since I last posted, and I've had dozens of ideas but never put pen to paper, so to speak. I'm trying to change that now, and getting myself on a new schedule. I was shocked today to look at the dusty dashboard and saw that I've been getting a steady stream of pageviews even without new contents.
So y'all are awesome.

I'm jumping in to this head first, so to speak, and starting up a new blog with a skeptical eye to weight loss fads. My weight issues are a major part of who I am, and I've always tried to approach the subject with rationality. What's intriguing is just how much effort is invested by the dieting industry to alter human behavior. Today I accidentally stumbled across the 4 Minute Abs Hype video that has started to make its way around the internet.

I'm both an economist and an actor. I've met with many a quizzical eyebrow to that combo so I'll explain that the unifying element is the study of choice. Both economics and character studies are about understanding HOW and WHY people act as they do - getting into their skin, so to speak. As an actor, I invest myself into living through emotions, as an economist, I study how people manipulate them.
From that angle, this video hits all the right notes.