How Microdosing Can Help You Smash Your Goals
The start of the year is a time when people set new goals for themselves. It’s a new year, and they hope to make changes to be a better version of themselves. There is nothing wrong with wanting to make changes in your life, but often people set lofty goals without making a plan for how they will achieve those goals, which increases the chance of them failing So, let’s talk how psychedelics, specifically microdosing, can help you achieve your goals.
The acronym SMART can be used to help people set clear and reachable goals to help increase the chances of success. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound.
The goal should be specific to focus your efforts on attaining the goal. Consider asking yourself the five W questions to flesh out your goal and make sure it’s specific enough.
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Why is this particular goal important?
- Who is involved, if anyone?
- Where does it take place?
- What resources are involved?
The goal should be measurable, so you can assess your progress and how far away you are from achieving your goal. It can also be helpful to break the goal down into smaller quantifiable parts so you can reward yourself for small achievements along the way.
Attainable can also mean realistic. Take the time to consider whether or not your goal is realistic at this time. Of course, you want to push yourself somewhat, but do you have the resources to accomplish this goal? Is there a way to break this goal down to make it more achievable?
Also, remember not to set goals that someone else has power over. For example, you may do everything right to get that next promotion, but you cannot control all the factors involved in this decision.
Relevant means that the goal matters to you and aligns with other goals you have in your life. Take the time to consider if this goal, in particular, is worthwhile.
Sometimes people set goals because they feel societal or peer pressure to do so, but they may be better off setting a different goal for themselves.
For example, weight loss is a common New Year’s resolution, particularly since it follows a season where most folks indulge more than they typically do. Maybe weight loss is important to you, but perhaps feeling good in your body is more important. So, instead of focusing on a number, consider a goal around healthy eating, limiting consumption of sugar, or regular fitness; whatever aligns most appropriately with your values.
Consider the ultimate goal and what a reasonable and attainable timeline is for this goal. Without a target date for the goal, it’s hard to measure your progress and stay motivated. At the same time, consider setting smaller goals with shorter timelines to help keep you focused on the long-term goal.
Don’t forget to reward yourself for the smaller achievements to help keep you motivated.
To understand how microdosing can help us achieve our goals, it can help to understand what is preventing us from reaching them in the first place.
One of the main reasons is not following the principles above, but additionally, it can be because of lack of motivation, lack of support or lack of confidence.
Winter is generally considered one of the saddest times of the year. It’s grey, cold and dark. After time away for the holidays, many people struggle to readjust to a more ‘normal’ routine. In January, when many people are setting lofty goals, the month itself can make achieving goals challenging.
So, how can microdosing help?
Microdosing can help to generally lift our mood, provide energy and feelings of euphoria, and help manage symptoms associated with depression or seasonal affective disorder.
Psychedelics open our neural pathways to new experiences, making it easier to build new skills and develop new habits; additionally, it has cognitive-enhancing properties related to divergent thinking and creative problem-solving. Many people also believe it can help us to focus, based on anecdotal evidence from those in Silicon Valley, not yet supported by clinical research. So, there is some available data which shows microdosing can help us achieve new goals.
Once you have set your goal using the SMART goal tools, consider the best microdosing schedule for you based on your particular needs.
Three Microdosing Schedules
Dr. Fadiman’s Approach
Dr. Fadiman’s Approach is one of the most common microdosing schedules, by psychedelics expert Dr. James Fadiman. He recommends taking a microdose every 3 days (i.e. taking two days off between doses) to prevent building up a tolerance. He notes you are likely to still experience impacts of the microdose the following day, and the other day in between allows for time to rest and reflect.
This microdose schedule would look as follows:
Week 1: Mon/Thu/Sun
Week 2: Wed/Sat
Week 3: Tue/Fri
Week 4: Mon/Thu/Sun
Those specifically looking for improvements at work such as improved focus, attention and analytical thinking may use the work approach and dose every workday and take weekends off. With this approach, you may notice that your tolerance builds over time (you need a higher amount to see the same effects). If you experience an increased tolerance, this is a good indication of needing a break.
For those new to microdosing, the first time you dose should be when you are not working to avoid adverse effects. We recommend determining the best dose for you before dosing on a workday. Additionally, don’t microdose and operate a vehicle.
This approach is taking a microdose every other day rather than every third day. For some, this approach may be more helpful than Fadiman’s simply because it’s easier to keep track of; however, there may be compounding effects without rest days. So make sure to track your dose and the effects you experience.
What to do on Microdose Day
You want to take advantage of the benefits that microdosing provides you when working towards new goals.
- Use the first 30 minutes to your benefit—this is when you feel the most enthusiastic and open, and neural networks are the most plastic.
- Take your regular microdose and when it starts to take effect (approximately 30-45 minutes after consumption), do the new activity you are attempting to build into your life—like journaling, meditating, meal planning, etc.
- Do the new activity every time you microdose for at least two weeks. See how it impacts your motivation and supports building the new activity into your routine.
Note, it’s likely that you are only microdosing 2-4 times a week, but if you are trying to build a daily habit, engage in the new activity on your non-microdosing days as well to strengthen the habit. But do take note of how microdosing days impact your practice.