Aligning your goals with deeply held values produces better results—in your career and life.
- Self-concordant individuals set goals in alignment with their beliefs and values, according to new research.
- Internal motivations score higher than external influences, such as money or fear of shame.
- Mindful individuals achieve more satisfaction, as their goals align with their authentic selves.
Goal Setting Is a Hamster Wheel. Learn to Set Systems Instead. | Adam Alter | Big Think<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d8f8e080b9ad655a40d842f7c2be60d7"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/x44zEK39GOM?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Self-concordance is a measure of how closely aligned your goals are with your personal values, as compared to goals that are set by internal or external pressures. In terms of goal-setting, self-concordance implies that your goals are made due to intrinsic motivation, whether because they're meaningful or because they represent your values. </p><p>Non-concordant goals are generally pursued for external factors, such as money, or due to societal pressure, like the fear of being shamed. Since mindfulness practitioners <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jclp.20237" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">tend to exhibit</a> high levels of self-awareness, the researchers theorized such individuals would be better at setting—and achieving—their goals. </p><p>Nearly 800 undergraduates were recruited for a short survey. Each volunteer wrote down three personal goals for the coming week. They were then asked to rate each of the following questions on a seven-point scale: </p><ul><li>Because somebody else wants you to, or because you'll get something from someone if you do</li><li>Because you would feel ashamed if you didn't – you feel that you should try to accomplish this goal</li><li>Because you really believe it is an important goal to have</li><li>Because of the fun and enjoyment which the goal will provide you—the primary reason is simply your interest in the experience itself</li><li>Because it represents who you are and reflects what you value most in life</li></ul>
Credit: Wirestock / Adobe Stock<p>The first two reasons on that list are considered non-concordant, while the latter three are more likely to be ranked higher by mindful individuals. To judge that, each student filled out a 15-item Mindful Attention and Awareness Scale. The general thrust of the questionnaire is to discover how present an individual is when performing their daily tasks.</p><p>As hypothesized, students that scored higher ranked the latter motivations higher. The researchers believe self-awareness helps individuals decide "which goals are self-appropriate." Maintaining goals that are realistic with your values, beliefs, and life circumstances make them not only easier to achieve, but will also be aligned with what matters most to you. </p><p>As the researchers phrase it, </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"By habitually paying attention to their thoughts, feelings, sensations, and emotions, mindful individuals may develop a greater ability to recognize goals that are congruent with their authentic selves."</p><p>By setting attainable goals—also, perhaps unsurprisingly, an indicator of Flow States—mindful individuals score higher on self-esteem measures as well. Instead of dreaming of the impossible and being continually frustrated by disappointment, mindfulness teaches boundaries that you can work within. </p><p>Don't think of boundaries as a limitation. Mindful individuals treat them as a source of strength, as the practice of mindfulness helps you achieve goals in alignment with your authentic self. When looked at it from this perspective, the pursuit of other goals appears not only futile but emotionally and mentally damaging. </p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Facebook</a>. His new book is</em> "<em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KRVMP2M?pf_rd_r=MDJW43337675SZ0X00FH&pf_rd_p=edaba0ee-c2fe-4124-9f5d-b31d6b1bfbee" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy</a>."</em></p>
A new survey found that 27 percent of millennials are saving more money due to the pandemic, but most can't stay within their budgets.
Taking control of bad luck<p>According to <a href="https://themanifest.com/accounting/budgeting-money-tips-for-millennials" target="_blank">a recent survey by The Manifest</a>, a business news website, millennials agree with Cramer. The study found that, of millennials surveyed, their largest expenses were housing (66 percent), educational expenses (9 percent), and health insurance (6 percent). In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, millennials are using the remaining 19 percent of their paychecks to budget and increase their savings.</p><p>About a third of millennials said they are saving more money in response to the pandemic and creating new budgets for themselves. In fact, of all generations surveyed, millennials felt the most comfortable creating personal budgets. They were also willing to think critically and adjust budgets to match financial changes, both signs that this highly-educated generation is willing to learn and adapt.</p><p>Millennials still have a rough road ahead, though. According to the survey, about half of millennials make less than $50,000 a year. That puts them into the upper-lower or lower-middle <a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/07/23/are-you-in-the-american-middle-class/#:~:text=In%202018%2C%20the%20national%20middle,(incomes%20in%202018%20dollars)." target="_blank">income class</a>, depending on where in the country they live. That matches <a href="https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2019/article/time-use-of-millennials-and-nonmillennials.htm#:~:text=Among%20full%2Dtime%20wage%20and,with%2031%20percent%20of%20nonmillennials." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">BLS data</a>, which shows millennials earning less than older non-millennials. <a href="https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2019/beyond-bls/the-kids-are-alright-millennials-and-the-economy.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The BLS also notes</a> that while millennials have less debt than GenXers, most of that is student loan debt rather than mortgages.</p><p>And despite their budgetary plans, only 11 percent of millennials surveyed were able to stay within budget, while uncertainty still looms in the future job market.<em></em></p><p>With all this said, there are caveats to The Manifest survey. It hosted a relatively small sample size, only surveying 502 Americans. Of those, millennials made up 22 percent of respondents. They weren't even the largest cohort in the study. That was the baby boomers at 32 percent. </p><p>This makes the survey more suggestive than indicative. But the suggestion is that millennials, to borrow a phrase from writer Vicki Robin, are ready to reinterpret their relationship with finances.</p>
A push for financial freedom<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a463513bfbe5a2b7d5bcc59f8be265a7"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/J-B-b393epk?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>While budgeting and financial savvy have always been important, the millennial generation will need to be far more critical of their relationship with the economy. What <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_tDthUWsVM" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Robin calls the old roadmap</a>—the idea that "growth is good, more is better, game over"—is unlikely to support millennials as it did past generations. They'll need a new roadmap, charting both a new macro (the relationship between our economic and ecological footprints, for example) and micro (our individual relationships with money).</p><p>Because the macro is a whole other article, we'll stick with the micro here:</p><p><strong>1) Track and cut your spending</strong></p><p>The first step to financial freedom is to track your spending and cut unnecessary purchases. For Robin, these are often the things, services, and subscriptions that we buy out of habit, but we no longer consider whether they add value to our lives.</p><p>A pernicious modern example is the subscription economy. We subscribe to services for food, clothes, television, exercise, self-help, video games, bric-a-brac, computer programs, and on and on. These services quickly fade into the financial background as just another bill we pay. </p><p>But if we watch Netflix nine times out of ten, why pay for Hulu and Disney+ and HBO Max and CBS All access? Instead, every month or so, we should scrutinize our subscriptions to ask whether they still add value to our lives. If they don't, unsubscribe.</p><p><strong>2) Kill your debt</strong></p><p>Debt doesn't just take away money we could save elsewhere; it's also a self-replicating devourer of wealth. Your debt interest rates are almost certainly higher than your investment returns, especially on credit cards. Because of this, no matter your saving rituals, you're likely bleeding wealth the longer you remain in debt.</p><p>Instead, focus on removing debt from your life. Again, credit card debt especially. The good news is that most companies have hardship programs to help debtors. You can call them to see if they can lower your interest rates or provide other helpful services.</p><p>"Financial accommodations are generally readily available right now," Amy Thomann, the head of consumer credit education at TransUnion, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/29/at-home/manage-finances-save-money-millennials-coronavirus.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">told the New York Times</a><u>.</u> "Lenders, just like consumers, understand the hardships that are going on in the economy."</p><p><strong>3) Have an emergency fund</strong></p><p>Of course, you'll need some savings when the unexpected happens. Say—I don't know—a worldwide pandemic? Experts like Robin and Thomann recommend people have three to six months' worth of expenses on reserve. These should be in liquid assets so you can access them easily and quickly.</p><p>Of course, that's not always feasible, but you should save what you can. </p><p><strong>4) Find social outlets that don't cost</strong></p><p>The economic shutdown has offered one financial boon: It has revealed ways we can enjoy each other's company with overspending. We can host movies remotely with our friends. Play video games online. Enjoy physical-distance strolls through the park. And a host of other creative connections. After the pandemic, the occasional bar hop or Friday dinner out can still be a guilty pleasure. But unlike sitcom characters, we shouldn't be spending our social lives on the set of our favorite coffee shops or local watering holes.</p><p><strong>5) Reconsider your relationship with money</strong></p><p>Robin pushes her readers to be financially free. That is, to understand that there's an economy, people have a relationship with it, but it shouldn't become an obsession that runs their lives. As <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDaBjc4QyWU" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">she told <em>Big Think</em></a>: "It's like there are so many presumptions that drive us into wage [slavery], and it doesn't matter whether you are at the low end or the high end. If you are engaged in that sort of anxious process of 'more, more, more,' you are not free."</p><p>The millennial generation has certainly been dealt a bum hand, but it's perhaps defeatist, and more than a little premature, to label them the unluckiest generation. Perhaps after being led astray by the old roadmap, they will be the generation to reconsider their relationship with money—not as an end itself but a means to a healthier and more beneficial life. </p>
Psychologists W. Keith Campbell, (Ph.D.) and Carolyn Crist explain why narcissists rise to power and how to make sure your support is going to someone making effective, positive change.
- Pathological narcissism is rare. It impacts an estimated 1 percent of the population.
- Narcissism is tied closely to leadership emergence, as narcissists tend to initially be confident, charismatic, and charming. Leadership is a natural goal for narcissists because it feeds their motivational goals of status, power, and attention.
- Psychologists W. Keith Campbell, (Ph.D.) and Carolyn Crist explain why narcissists rise to power.
Why do narcissists become leaders?<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9b57f7dfe6d697143730e52d749988c5"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KzoH3xox-G0?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>"Leadership is a natural goal for narcissists because it feeds their motivational goals of status, power, and attention." - <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/new-science-narcissism/202010/how-narcissism-and-leadership-go-hand-in-hand" target="_blank">Psychology Today</a></p><p>Leadership can be a complex topic to discuss, as the psychology of leadership can be classified in two distinct ways: leadership emergence (the rise to power) and leadership effectiveness (what happens once the person has power). </p><p><strong>Narcissists initially appear charming and confident, making them great for leadership emergence.</strong></p><p>Narcissism is tied closely to leadership emergence, as narcissists tend to initially be confident, charismatic, and charming (then later perceived as vain or arrogant). However, narcissism may not be great for effective leadership. Once someone rises to power and gains trust, it doesn't always mean they are going to be effective at being a leader to those people. </p><p><strong>Many positions are self-elected, and narcissists will jump at this chance. </strong></p><p>Education, politics, and businesses are typically set up to allow potential leaders to self-elect and move forward with their own goals. Even when leaders are selected by committees or groups, they may be more inclined to go with a high-visibility, confident, high-profile candidate over someone who exudes leadership qualities in a more muted way. </p><p><strong>Many systems favor loud, narcissistic individuals over quiet, effective leaders.</strong></p><p>"Sometimes it feels like our systems are set up to select these narcissistic individuals," explain W. Keith Campbell, (Ph.D.) and Carolyn Crist in <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/new-science-narcissism/202010/how-narcissism-and-leadership-go-hand-in-hand" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Psychology Today</a>. "The democratic election process can also feel like a popularity contest, where the biggest ego wins. Even this year, candidates have created polarized followings on social media."</p><p><strong>People desire a leader who promises stability and direction during challenging times.</strong></p><p>Narcissists who come to power during chaotic and difficult times often quickly gain the support of their followers because they make promises of stability and have a clear direction in mind. The problem with this is that it can lead to detrimental leaders, such as Adolf Hitler. Hitler rose to power during a time when Germany's economy was struggling to recover after the First World War, promising to rebuild and strengthen the country.</p><p><strong>Narcissistic leaders may be able to temporarily convince you everything is being handled effectively. </strong></p><p>Followers who believe their leader acts in their best interest are more likely to be happy with that leadership. When you have a leader who is repeating over and over that they are making effective, meaningful, positive changes (even if they aren't), people are more inclined to believe it. </p><p>"We've seen this over the years at many levels of the government—from the presidential suite all the way down to the local mayor's office," explains Campbell and Crist.</p><p><strong>How do we avoid electing and supporting narcissistic, ineffective leaders in the future? </strong></p><p>Campbell and Crist have a few ideas about that in their book "<a href="https://www.amazon.com/New-Science-Narcissism-Understanding-Psychological/dp/1683644026" target="_blank">The New Science of Narcissism</a>" - the main takeaway being this: <em>"Our best bet is to watch how they act and treat others and then respond accordingly when they look for the next position of power."</em></p>
Nutrisystem is a smarter weight-loss program that users enjoy.
- The societal and economic consequences of obesity cannot be ignored.
- The economic impact is up to $190 billion every year in America.
- Americans spend up to $2.5 billion each year on popular weight-loss programs.
Credit: Nutrisystem<h3>The economics of obesity</h3><p>The obesity crisis in America has profoundly changed the health of our nation. Two-thirds of American adults are now <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4770258/" target="_blank">overweight or obese</a>. Excess body weight creates numerous health problems, <a href="https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/health-risks-overweight" target="_blank">such as</a> increased risk for heart disease, hypertension, cancer, sleep apnea, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Tragically, the steep rise in obesity rates can, in large part, be traced back to the surge in processed foods made with filler ingredients, questionable preservatives, and excessive sugars. </p><p>That's part of what makes losing weight so difficult. Supermarket shelves are stocked with processed foods. A whopping 74 percent of packaged foods contain <a href="https://sugarscience.ucsf.edu/hidden-in-plain-sight/#.Xx3ly_hKhTY" target="_blank">added sugars</a>, which are conveniently disguised under 61 different names, including dextrose, maltose, and treacle. You shouldn't have to play detective every time you go to the grocery store. </p><p>Obesity has real-world consequences. Every year, up to <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/causes.html" target="_blank">$6.38 billion is lost</a> in productivity costs due to obesity-related absenteeism. That number only accounts for people taking off of work. Overall, obesity-related costs in America are estimated to be <a href="https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/91/5/1520S/4597467" target="_blank">$147 billion</a> every year. One <a href="https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-consequences/economic/" target="_blank">study</a> shows that cost was $190 billion in 2005. </p><p>Overweight citizens are also <a href="https://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/home/conference-highlights/aaic-2015-coverage/mental-illness-and-obesity/" target="_blank">more likely</a> to suffer from poor mental health. The combination of poor self-image, social stigma, lack of exercise, and biological issues due to obesity increase the likelihood that someone will be anxious or depressed. This creates a crippling feedback loop: diets high in sugars and carbohydrates, which are fueling the rise in obesity, are <a href="https://bigthink.com/21st-century-spirituality/your-diet-might-be-causing-anxiety-and-depression" target="_self">also linked</a> to poor mental health. </p><p>Many people want a solution that works. In 2014, Americans spent <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4446719/" target="_blank">roughly $2.5 billion</a> on commercial or proprietary weight loss programs. As a society, we pay the price of obesity in the form of work absenteeism, inflated health care costs, and mental health issues, and we pay trying to solve it. Finding a solution to this problem is of utmost importance. </p>
Even non-academic experiences can inspire meaningful moments of learning and self-reflection.
- Jiang Xueqin, an educator and researcher at Harvard Graduate School of Education, endorses learning journals as a good method to promote meta-learning for students during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Learning journals can be kept for any activity and have three components: defining a goal "concretely and precisely," writing down the process, and writing down observations and reflecting on the experience.
- While learning journals are primarily a personal exercise, Xueqin says that teachers can play a crucial role as coaches who motivate the student and find ways for them to improve with new learning strategies.