The brain on success

I just read an article on why rigidly structured activities fail for many people. It states that the brain assesses our goals based on the probability of success. So if you set a large goal, to write a novel, and a small concrete goal to achieve the bigger goal, like to write every day – failure to accomplish the small goal will convince the brain that the whole project is a bust.

It then goes on and suggests that flexibility with our schedule and goals will help us accomplish more.

I find this interesting as it goes counter to every behaviour modification and routine setting rule I have ever encountered. Most studies suggest that strict routines and repetition will help modify a behaviour or instil a new one. Failure to practice is a temporary setback and you are encouraged to get back on the program.

But like many things in psychology, this flexible schedule/goal setting will appeal to certain personality types.


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