Increasing Dopamine Levels by Setting Micro-Goals

Trick Your Brain into Increasing Dopamine Levels by Setting and Achieving Micro-Goals

How can you stay on task? Try using a little Jedi mind trick for increasing dopamine levels.


Sometimes it’s hard to stay focused and motivated long enough to check things off your to-do list. I have trouble with it too.

What if I told you that you could get more done while simultaneously increasing dopamine levels and forming habits faster?

The fact is that there’s a fairly simple way to use your body’s own reward system to stay on task and be more productive. The trick to staying on task is breaking your list down into micro-goals. Read on to learn more …

Increasing Dopamine Levels: My Pleasure

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure responses. It’s sometimes referred to as the happy hormone. Even though increasing dopamine levels may sound like a gimmicky ploy, in reality dopamine is largely what motivates us to do anything.

Some examples:

  • When you cross an item off your to-do list — dopamine
  • When you receive positive feedback for a job well done — dopamine
  • When you finally open that package you’ve been waiting for over the past 10 days — dopa … you get the picture.

So how can you get productive while increasing dopamine levels?

A (Not-So) Jedi Mind Trick

Studies have shown that when dopamine is released down the pleasure pathways of our brains, we immediately form associations with the action that brought us pleasure. Over time, that action can help you form habits due to the positive associations.

This desire to re-experience is the key to increasing dopamine levels and getting more done. When you break down your to-do tasks into micro-goals, you increase the amount of gratification, stimulating chemical releases.

So, when including a task on the list, think of ways to break it down. For example, instead of writing “1-hour work out,” try “20 minutes cardio, 30 minutes yoga, cool down, and stretch.” That way your mind can build encouraging relationships with each micro-goal instead of fixating on just one bigger, more daunting goal.

If You Start Me Up, I’ll Never Stop

This trick has other fantastic side effects too. Once you foster affirmative associations by increasing dopamine levels through micro-goals, you’ll realize that all you need to do to achieve a goal is get started. Taking advantage of the cascading momentum of pleasure reactions will open you up to a world of productivity. Eventually, knocking items off your list will become second nature.

Increasing Dopamine Levels by Starting Small

Setting and achieving goals is a never-ending task. Using micro-goals as a tool is the start of finding a better way to take care of yourself — and reward yourself. When you exercise mindfulness in the tasks you perform, you can improve your brain function and your overall mental health. Building your focus and cultivating motivation are huge factors in maintaining your total wellness.

Remember: achieving small goals can effect big change in your life.

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