How can people become more effective at setting goals and following through? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Tara Swart, Neuroscientist, MD, Executive Advisor, Author of The Source, on Quora:

It took a crisis in my life to make me re-evaluate my goals and really follow through but I'm passionate that it should not have to get to this! I had to really question the path I was on, and chose to take the risk to leave behind stability to pursue my dreams. I did a lot of reading about psychology and spirituality to understand myself better. Then I started the practice of vision boards and it was a game-changer. The reason I now call them action boards in the book is because it was not about making a collage and waiting for 'the checks to roll in', as they say, it was about a defined process of self-actualization, and manifestation of real-world outcomes.

What looks effortless from the outside is nearly always the result of hard work, determination and repeatedly picking yourself up after set-backs. We all have times when it feels like everything is going wrong and nothing will change, but by understanding how your brain works, and using its full integrative agility, you can take back the power to create your future. There is a tipping point where your neurons reach a critical mass for a new behavior to be natural for you, and that's the moment that you have achieved your goal. Until then it takes a lot of effort and patience which can feel mentally draining but that means that all the required hard work is going on in the background.

Imagine you had a physical task like building a brick wall. Work out how much physical effort and time it would take you. Now imagine you have four or five friends helping you. When we act on auto-pilot we are usually using one (maybe two) main pathway(s) in the brain. The path of least resistance: the way of thinking that we are good at and fine easy to do. You might be strongly logical and quite motivated. But if you used your empathy, physicality, intuition and creativity too, you get a much better result. This ability to integrate brain agility to reach your goals is the optimized brain power that I call the source.

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