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Want to nail your goals in 2019? Stop listening to your brain

Our brain is a delusion generator, notes Jason Zweig, the author of “Your Money and Your Brain“. It regurgitates wrong narratives and leads us down the garden path more times than we think.

When it comes to picking one option among many, it persuades you to settle for the easiest one or the one that makes immediate sense. Apparently, cerebral cortex – the part of the brain that does all the higher thinking – hates to take cognitive load inexcess.

It likes the path of least resistance

Most people tend to flip out a calculator even when the calculation they face can be worked out in the head. We feel averse to mental calculations because doing so leads to fatigue, something we – our brains- loathe.

Similarly, when confronted with a choice that requires you to get into a fresh routine (gym, early morning work) over something that you have always done (sleep in), it dissuades you against the former.

“The human brain is designed to make you survive, it’s not going to make you happy.”

Tony Robbins.

Robbins is spot on with his advice. Our brains have evolved over millennia, but the limbic brain still carries the primordial instincts that helped our ancestors survive the rapacious wild of the yore.

Imagine this:

You go to bed, fully motivated. The thoughts of “changing your life around, losing belly fat and getting in shape this year” resonating loud in your head.

In the morning, when your alarm goes off, you get up, kill it and go back to sleep. Why?

Because your brain kicks in and ushers in conflicting thoughts in your head – it’s intention is to save you from the 3-degree temperature outside. It tells you to go back to the coziness of your bed and you do that – killing the alarm and jumping back into the bed.

Path of least resistance

Many readers will identify themselves with this situation.

It likes immediate benefits over long-term fruition

Anybody who’s a hardcore mobile gamer will tell you that all games start easy. You absolutely kill it in the initial stages. That’s where the creators lay the addiction trap for you and once you walk into it, you can’t resist it.

Gradually, stages become tougher. From winning game after game, you slip into a losing streak. It starts getting to you.

It’s at this point the creators push you into making a decision. Keep slogging to get to the next level or spend money and buy your way to triumphs. Some give up and delete the game while many opt for the latter. When presented with an option of choosing between slogging and getting head paying a few bucks, we choose the latter.

The same analogy holds for other areas of life, too. Our brains always magnify the hard path, giving you an option to take the easy way out and more times than not, you comply.

The problem is if your resolve to achieve a goal or crush a task is weak, your brain sends signals to opt for short-term comforts and not get into any complexities whatsoever. If you say you want to win a half-marathon and train for it, but don’t mean it, trust me you’ll never tick that goal off your list.

You might like what Eric Thomas, the famous motivational speaker has to say. Here he is

When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful.

Eric Thomas

How to overcome this Brain Conundrum?

Our brain doesn’t want us to get out of the rut. Time and again, when you firm up your intention to take a determined step, it weakens your resolve highlighting what you are letting go of – short-term pleasures and easy routes.

It’s a video-game problem, just like that Jeff Bridges movie Tron. Without sheer grit and determination, you can forever be stuck in those confines, going through the motions like a rat on the hamster wheel and not getting anywhere.

The only way to overcome this brain-blockade is to have a steely resolve and laser-sharp focus on your goals. A single-minded focus with unflinching determination will help you overcome the conflicting voices inside your head.

Many gurus have come out with theories and practical pieces of advice, too.

Mel Robbins, in her bestselling book “The 5 Second Rule“, declares, “When you feel yourself hesitate before doing something that you know you should do, count 5-4-3-2-1-GO and move towards action.”

She mentions that when we fail to act on our instincts in 5 seconds, our brain steps in and kills or dilutes our determination to take action.


I am not alleging that our brain is a useless organ. Rather what I am saying is that it does not always give us the best possible advice. Ensuring survival is its primary mission and it will veto anything else that even remotely affects it.

When you choose inconvenience in the face of comfort and ease, you defy your brain’s natural stance. Train your conscious mind to take these contrary actions every day and step by step, you’ll notice that lugging yourself out of the bed at 5 AM, skipping unhealthy meals, getting rid of your mobile, etc. is no longer a problem.

So what are you going to do? Let your brain dictate terms as it continues to strengthen the walls of your comfort zone or take charge of your life and train it to adhere to your life goals? Let me know in the comments section below.

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