To Reach Your Goal, Take a NeuroStroll™: A Neuroscience Based Approach to Goal Achievement by Marcia Ruben, PhD & Debra Pearce-McCall, PhD
Marcia Ruben, Ph.D. and Debra Pearce-McCall, Ph.D.
Can recruiting our senses, mind, brain, and body accelerate the odds of reaching a critical leadership development goal? How might this information assist executive coaches in working with clients? As part of a two-year research professorship, Dr. Marcia Ruben, with assistance from Dr. Debra Pearce-McCall, designed and implemented an applied exploratory research study to answer this question. The research study employed a multi-modal, multi-sensory approach with the hypothesis that an integrated methodology, based on evidence from numerous approaches, could accelerate goal achievement. Most studies rely on one method of goal achievement. We wondered if choosing more than one would increase the odds of success. The term NeuroStrollTM reflects two organizing principles. “Neuro” refers to understanding the brain’s relevant areas as a learning and memory aid while experiencing multiple activities. It also reflects our purposeful choice of experiences that would activate different circuits of the nervous system. The acronym “STROLL” represents the framework for the components of a three-hour experiential process (S = Sensing, T = Thinking, R = Regulating, O = Orienting, L = Lasting, and L = Leading Yourself). We piloted the process with three different groups and administered pre- and post-surveys. A one-way repeated measures ANOVA was conducted to determine whether there were statistically significant differences in survey responses before and after the exercise. The NeuroStroll exercise elicited statistically significant changes in perceptions about achieving a specific, meaningful goal after participants completed the NeuroStrollTM.
This article presents preliminary results from an exploratory, novel multi-modal, experiential immersion in goal achievement strategies supported by evidence in the existing literature. Our main finding is that engaging our senses, cognitions, regulatory strategies, somatic cues, and social connections facilitates creating a customized habit change plan, thereby enhancing goal achievement. This has implications for executive coaches working with clients to achieve leadership development and other goals.
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