How to Use Words to Help You Achieve Your Biggest GoalsBy Diana Kelly Levey
If you set a New Year’s resolution, chances are that intention may have fallen by the wayside by now. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Researchers at the University of Scranton found that although 77 percent of people who made a self-change attempt stuck with it for at least a week, about 30 percent ditch it after two weeks, and only 19 percent stick it out for at least two years. You might find that you have better success with sticking to your goal or manifesting something you want if you focus on one word as your theme for the year.
You’ve probably experienced how powerful words can be when it comes to evoking emotions. Whether it’s a baby saying their first word, a voicemail from a loved one, or a hurtful nickname—you’ve felt the persuasiveness of words. New research published in the journal Neuropsychologia examined how our brains process stimuli and how we associate neutral signs, words, and faces with emotional meaning. Using electroencephalography (EEG) technology, researchers at the University of Göttingen, in Germany, found that the brain often establishes whether an image or word is positive or negative after about 200 to 300 milliseconds. In the experiment, when subjects received a reward, like money, and saw a certain neutral word, they later had a positive association to that word. However, if they lost money in the experiment whenever they saw a certain word, this fostered a negative association. This distinguishes in a flash what a newly learned meaning the word has, says study author Dr. Louisa Kulke in a press release.
How can you put these findings to work in your own life? Try coming up with a positive word to capture the moods, feelings, and goals you want to achieve this year. By concentrating on associating this word with positive emotions, your brain will know it is a word that’s a “good thing.” For example, if you choose “risk” and associate that word with trying new things at work and in your life that you’ve always wanted to do, you can change your mindset from thinking about that word as a negative or “scary” phrase.