Wouldn’t it be awesome if we had a turbo boost button? Like hitting the nitrous button in a racing game (or in real life if you play like that, haha), that helped catapult you towards the finish line when you were working on a big goal or project?
Well, guess what–there is.
Have you ever been at the finish line of a race, especially a marathon, and noticed that these people who have already run 20 or 40+ kilometres are somehow able to dig deep when they turn the corner and see the finish line and can sprint to the end?
Those people are activating their turbo boosters.
What they are really doing is experiencing the X-Spot.
Click play below to listen to this week’s podcast episode, or keep on reading to get the CliffsNotes version.
How to activate your personal TURBO BOOST mode
The X Spot is something that happens when we can see that success is possible. Like the runner who sees the finish line. Our brains actually react chemically when it sees that success is possible to help you accelerate and reach your goals.
What’s really interesting is the closer we believe success is, the more quickly we hit the turbo boosters and accelerate toward it. And the real kicker is, we don’t actually have to be close to the finish line, we just have to change our perception of how close we are to get that boost of chemicals.
Not only is it super cool that we have these built-in boosters in our brain, but there are also ways you can “hack” them in order to hit that boost more often.
Hacking your turbo boost
One of the easiest ways to hack the turbo boost or “X Spot” to increase our chances of reaching our goals is by adjusting our perception.
If we perceive the target as large and our competition as small, we feel like success is inevitable and we will be able to power through to hit that goal. Think about it this way, if you have a goal to shoot a hockey puck into an empty net from 5 feet away, you would probably feel pretty good about that goal. If you had to shoot that same puck into a hockey net that is guarded by an NHL goalie from the centre line, well you’d probably feel a lot less optimistic about your ability to succeed.
Small Competition + Large Target = Turbo Boost
Small Target + Large Competition = Higher chance of failure and frustration.
But what if your goal IS big? What if you do want to hit that puck into a net from the centre line with a goalie in the net?
Start small. Break that goal down into smaller more attainable goals. Each time you come close to achieving one of those small goals towards your big goal you’ll get a turbo boost. Do that over and over and before you know it, you are shooting on Carey Price from the centre line.
And yes, I did just Google “Top NHL Goalies”. Leave me alone.
Ok, enough with the hockey talk.
Changing your perception and breaking big goals into smaller goals is an easy concept to grasp, but what if you don’t really have any big life goals at the moment? What if your goals are to enjoy your life?
You still can enjoy this turbo boost. How? By recognizing your meaning markers.
The importance of meaning markers
This concept taught by Shawn Anchor emphasizes the importance of discovering and identifying your meaning markers in life in order to reach goals and experience greater life satisfaction (and yes, greater life satisfaction can absolutely be the end goal).
By identifying meaning markers and bringing our attention to those things we do want, we avoid getting caught in the negativity and pitfalls in life. Pitfalls like living in global pandemics, for instance.
When you find more meaning in what you do, you will have less stress, more success, and greater happiness in all areas of your life.
What is a meaning marker?
Enough talk about meaning markers, what the heck is one?
For this I want you to grab a piece of paper. I want you to make a chart to plot out moments in 2020 that have made you the happiest. I know this year has been a beast, but hopefully you can come up with a handful of awesome things that happened so far in the year.
When you think of those highlights you are going to add a mark on your Happiness Graph in the “happy” section. You can also add in the low points in the “sad” section, but for now I want you to really focus on the happy. When you are done you will draw a curved line from point to point until you end up with something that will look a little like this:
This person has had a bit of a rollercoaster of a year, but you can see that there are four points in the year where their happiness was much higher than the rest of the year. Once you’ve made your chart, circle and label the top happiness points in your year and then take some time to reflect.
What was it about those times that made them so great? Was it where you were? Who you were with? What you were doing? Something else?
These events are your meaning markers.
Now that you know what things bring you the most happiness, you are going to plan out future happiness by scheduling more things that will help you hit those meaning markers.
No, it’s probably not realistic to say you are going to go on a fancy vacation right now. But maybe you’ll get the same feeling from turning off your phone and going away to a B&B for the weekend.
Maybe a spa day isn’t possible right now, but you can probably get a few friends together and have a spa date at home.
You get the idea.
How will that help you hit the X Spot?
Yeah, yeah, I can see how mapping out future happiness will increase happiness, but how it that going to help me achieve my goals at work?
Think about the last day before you go on vacation. Chances are you get 5x the stuff done you normally would because you know that at the end of the day you are walking out the door and not coming back until your vacation is over. That’s a turbo boost.
When you are looking forward to something or are excited about something in your personal life, you will get that same turbo boost to get your work done–and bring you closer to your goals.
Happier and a goal-getter. What’s not to like?
If you haven’t already, stop and map out your year focusing on the high points to help you determine your meaning markers, then schedule out future happiness (yes I know that sounds corny).
It’s so important to have something to look forward to, and now we know that it will not only make us happier, but it’ll help us kill our goals too.
For what it’s worth, the next thing on my future happiness map is happening on Sunday. The return of Christmas movies on the W Network. #sorrynotsorry