To achieve our goals, especially long-term goals, we need to have a plan and have the energy to complete that plan. Whatever your specific goal, the brain’s role will be determining feasibility, assessing resources, and dealing with roadblocks. The heart will provide the energy, through the creation of emotions that motivates and activates the plan. And you must have both of those things, equally, to see the desired outcome met.
Even more importantly, “the better quality of consciousness the stronger the integration of both thought and emotion and therefore the increased amount of energy and more powerful the outcome.” In other words, the more your brain-heart connection is in balance, the more energy it will produce, and the bigger the goal you can reach.
So in the realm of the practical, then, how can we utilize our brain-heart connection to achieve our long-term goals?
Have a plan, but live today
Having a long term goal and annoyingly the opposite is also important: living in the moment. Just like for us to achieve happiness we can’t just focus on the brain or the heart, we also can’t just focus on long term goals but also of course need to spend time in the present. The present is where all the potential of the world actually can turn into reality.
Your brain is designed to avoid troubles. It does not like “what ifs” and will expend immense amounts of energy focusing on irrelevant details or trying to solve problems that do not, right now, exist. Your heart is designed to move toward relationship and connection, and it can, if left unchecked, lose sight of the greater goal for the intimate moments of today.
You need the best of both worlds to bring balance and achieve your goals. Don’t waste your heart’s energy on problems that may never happen. Focus that energy on the small steps you need to complete today in order to reach the ultimate goal. But don’t be so focused on today that you forget what each step is leading towards. Keeping the future (the brain) and the now (the heart) in balance will help you achieve your goals.
Your brain will spend a good bit of energy working on anything but actual progress. Busy work or work that gets ‘something’ done but not something that produces any measurable results is disastrous to achieving long-term goals
But the research shows that starting is the key to finishing. No matter how big your brain has envisioned your workload to be, start on a small but productive task. That first, small step is the simplest and best way to put energy towards your goal. And that small amount of energy will build more energy, eventually creating the sense of “’flow’ that people can achieve when they are doing something they love.” You can utilize the heart’s energy to overcome the brain’s tendency to procrastinate by giving it something productive to do. And with both heart and brain actively in balance, you will move yourself closer to your goal.
Deal with failures
Failures, no matter how big or small, can be hard on your progress towards the achievement of long-term goals. Depending on a person’s individual personality, failure can affect either the heart or the brain. For some people, failure to meet a set goal deflates them emotionally, reducing energy and slowing progress. Others see small failures as complete endings; their brains shut down as they lose sight of how far they’ve come.
But a balanced brain-heart connection can actually overcome these difficulties as well. The brain can dictate the use of energy towards the next task, thereby starting to rebuild the heart’s energy and emotional connection to the project. The heart can respond to the brain’s roadblocks with an increase in energy or emotion that motivates the brain to recommit to the problem or find a way around. In fact, by planning a contingency plan into the final goal, you can help your brain overcome future failures by preparing for them (without obsessing over them) ahead of time.