Science-backed Goal Setting Practices

Written by
Steven Kotler

Science-backed Goal Setting Practices

Written by
Steven Kotler

Science-backed Goal Setting Practices

Written by
Steven Kotler

Science-backed Goal Setting Practices

Goals alone won’t get you where you want to go.

You already know that.

But at the same time, without goals, you’re no better off than someone wandering around blindfolded at a Grateful Dead show in search of some peace and quiet.

To understand the power of goals, we also need to understand how they impact brain function.

The brain is a prediction engine. It’s always trying to predict what is about to happen next and how much energy will be required by that situation. 

To make those predictions, three systems come into play: information acquisition, pattern recognition, and goal direction. 

We take in information, find connections between this information and prior experience, and then filter those results through our goals to decide what to do next. And since that decision is an action and actions require energy—how much energy exactly?—that is exactly what the brain is always trying to predict.

And all of these systems work in concert. 

Give the goal direction system a goal and you give the pattern recognition system a purpose and the information acquisition system a target. 

And why does this target matter so much? Because consciousness is an extremely limited resource.

Every second, millions of bits of information flood into your senses.

To understand what another person is saying takes about 40 bits. If three people are talking at once, we’re maxed out. 

All other incoming information is invisible to us. 

But it’s not just other people talking that we miss noticing. The vast majority of everything happening in the world falls into this category. The system is constantly overloaded so much of reality is constantly invisible.

Much of what remains visible is simply the stuff that scares us. 

Evolution shaped the brain for survival, so anything that could threaten that survival always grabs our attention. But what else is important for our survival? 

Our goals, and anything that can help us achieve those goals. Because the brain is a prediction engine and consciousness is a limited resource, fear and goals are the basic building blocks of our reality.

University of Toronto psychologist Gary Latham once told me, not every goal is the same. 

We found that if you want the largest increase in motivation and productivity, then big goals lead to the best outcomes. Big goals significantly out-perform small goals, medium-sized goals, and vague goals.”

In short: Going big is good for you.

P.S. When you dial in your goals and go big... you can quickly access long-lasting flow states. 

When in flow, work of any kind, no matter how tedious, becomes effortless (and inexhaustibly enjoyable).

Imagine making the most mundane, 9-to-5 grind task list as fun as skiing, surfing, or _______ (fill in whatever leisure activity you totally love).

Using our time-tested protocol, you can enter a flow on-demand. With push-button reliability.

We’ll show you how in our immersive training, Zero to Dangerous.

You’ll work with our highly-trained flow coaches (who rock deep medical backgrounds and PhDs) to make autonomy––and flow–– automatic.

Click here to apply for Zero To Dangerous now!

Get More Flow:
Boost Your Performance

Our flagship flow training, Zero to Dangerous helps you accomplish your wildest professional goals while reclaiming time, space, and freedom in your personal life.

If you want 500% boosts in productivity and a lot more time spent deep in flow, start here.