How to Train Your RAS to Achieve Your Goals
Manifestation isn’t just a ‘buzz’ word marketers use to try and sell you some ‘magic’ pill that will make all your dreams come true. It’s a real thing! It’s neuroscience. The ‘proper’ term for it is… the reticular activating system aka RAS.
What is the reticular activating system?
The Reticular Activating System is a group of nerves in our brainstem that soak up all of our sensory input. Everything we see, hear, touch, and taste go into this system. Its prime mission is to keep you safe. It does this by filtering out all the unnecessary information so that only important stuff gets through.
It filters the world based on your parameters. So, if you think you’re rubbish at public speaking, chances are you will end up stuttering your way through it. If your goal for the day is to walk 10,000 steps and you’re determined to do it, you will. The RAS helps you see what want to see and in turn influences your actions.
Here’s a few examples of the reticular activating system at work:
You buy a new car and suddenly start noticing the same model everywhere
You’re at a loud event but still hear someone say your name
You’re fast asleep and wake up when you hear a baby cry
How can the reticular activating system help you achieve your goals?
When it comes to setting and achieving your goals the first thing you need to do is, think about what you want and why you want it. We’re often pressured by our friends, family, society, the media, or even doctors. If you’re going to succeed, the goal you set needs to be for you.
Once you’re clear on your goal, your RAS will help guide you towards what you want. You’ll start hearing it above all the noise. Just the same as when you hear your name in a crowded room.
If your goal is to eat clean and healthy, your RAS will start attracting people, things, places, situations and opportunities into your life to make it happen. You’ll start noticing “healthy eating” articles on the internet. You’ll be drawn to the healthy options in the supermarket. Your ears will prick up when you hear people discussing recipes.
Once you understand the connection between your RAS and your goals, you will start to use both your conscious and unconscious minds in harmony. This makes achieving those goals much easier and requires less conscious effort.
How to stimulate your reticular activating system
Once you’re clear on what you want to achieve, write it down and say it out loud to amplify the intention. Regularly refer back to your goal to keep reminding yourself and allow your RAS to work its magic.
Why does this work so well? Because you’re encoding it into your brain. It all starts with a thought; exploration of the mind. When you transfer that thought onto paper you’re using your motor skills. When you read it out loud, you add language. It might not seem like much, but what you’re actually doing is activating your visual, semantic, acoustic, and organisational coding. All these little actions help to imprint the intention into your mind.
When you’re writing your goals down, it’s important to only use positive words. If you start adding words such as “no”, “can’t”, or other negative connotations the subconscious mind will start plaguing you with the negative stuff and drawing them to your attention.
Breaking down your goals
Sometimes a goal might seem so big, that it’s unattainable. When people set themself big goals, they don’t achieve them in a day. So, don’t be afraid to dream big! The key is to break it down.
For example... if you were climbing Everest, you’d need to train for it. You would build your fitness levels. Advance your climbing skills. Practice at altitude. And even then, when it comes to actually climb it… you do it in stages. From one base to the next, until you reach the top.
The same goes for if someone asked you to move 1000kg. You wouldn’t be able to lift it in one go. But, if you moved 1kg at a time… it would be easy.
When you break down the goal into smaller, more manageable steps, it will become much more attainable.
Staying on track to achieve your goal
Us humans aren’t great at memorising things. In fact, we can be pretty forgetful. Especially when it comes to goals.
Here are a few ways to keep your goal at the forefront of your mind…
Write your goal down on a post-it note and stick it on your desk
Find a picture that represents your goal and keep it on your bedside table to remind yourself every time you go to sleep and wake up
Create a mood board and use it as your desktop or phone screen saver.
Keep repeating these techniques regularly and consistently. Every time you see, hear or speak your goal, you are building a new mental pathway in your brain. You’re telling your reticular activating system “hey, this is important”. Then your RAS can get work and do its job.
Hopefully, you’ve got a better understanding of how the reticular activating system works. You’ll also have a few techniques you can use to get your RAS to focus on the people, things, places, situations, and opportunities that will help you achieve your goals.
If you want to learn more about your RAS and how to use it to achieve your goals, we made a whole video on it here.