Want Better Outcomes? Trick Your Dopamine into Being Your Treat

Kimberly Sheldahl
4 min readNov 11, 2022


All too often you approach goals much like you would an act of sheer willpower. You take the Nike, “Just Do It” approach thinking goal seeking is that easy, but human behavior and change is anything but easy. Crossing the finish line to your goals will take a lot more than a great pair of sneakers and a “Just Do It” mantra.

Bridge to goals — More to it than ‘Just Do It” with a question mark brain and and just do it sign to the left.

So, what do you need to add to your wardrobe to ensure success?

According to Dr. Andrew Huberman, Dopamine management.

Why should you listen to Dr. Andrew Huberman? Because he’s one smart dude with lots of training in how our brains work.

Dr. Huberman directs the Huberman Lab at Stanford School of Medicine. They research how the brain works, how it can change through experience and how to repair brain circuits damaged by injury or disease. He also hosts a podcast show, Huberman Lab, where he shares his scientific concepts and ideas that I find most fascinating.

Recently I learned a little Dopamine hack from Dr. Huberman and thought it’d be nice to share it with my audience, so here goes my version.

Dopamine is involved in the motivation cycle. It is a feel good chemical that is released when we experience something positive, we also experience a dopamine hit when we anticipate something positive.

Bridge to Goals — Dopamine pills to the left and Dopamine formula behind the bridge “explaining dopamine and motivation.”

That’s why looking forward to Fridays or an upcoming vacation is so exciting. It’s associated with enjoyment and Dopamine makes sure we don’t forget it.

This cycle seems harmless enough until you want to use a bit of discipline in your life. Remember the kids who didn’t want to eat the single marshmallow because they wanted to hold out longer so they could have more than one. Sometimes waiting is worth it!


Sometimes we want to hang out for the bigger payoff but it’s tough when cookies or marshmallows are staring us in the face! It’s tough when money is in the bank and that new gadget goes on a great sale.

Why wait? Why save? Dopamine tempts us to eat it NOW or buy it NOW.

Dopamine and Motivation — Instant Gratification “what is that” vs. Don’t expect instant results. — Bridge to goals.

We know we should wait. We decided it was in our best interest to wait, but Dopamine is in the wings singing its song, “ You Can’t Get No Satisfaction. Though You Try and You Try, and You Try. You Can’t Get No…..”

Mick Jaggar and Dopamine must have some sort of binding contract, tempting us into a NOW thinking mentality. Come on, you’ve got plenty of satisfaction! You and I and everyone else!

Anyway, back to the science, logically, you and I know we should hold out, but it’s tough. So, what do we do?

Use the loop hole!

Dr. Huberman recommends that we visualize or fantasize about the less favorable option. We make our brains want this outcome and give it something to look forward to.

Bridge to goals — Overcome Dopamine by visualizing the better outcome — eye behind the bridge to goals

Instead of cookies, marshmallows or the new gadget think about your new designer jeans or the more expensive, more improved gadget you could purchase if you waited 6 more months.

Visualize yourself cat-walking down a runway, hair blowing in the wind, or if you’re like me, haircut sassy, with over-sized dangling earrings. Visualize yourself as the first in line purchasing the newest and greatest tech toy, going home setting it up and being the envy of everyone 50 miles east of Salt Lake City (or wherever you live.)

Shifting your focus helps you wait, and hold out for the more favorable outcome.

What’s worth the wait? Only you can decide? Instant gratification ain’t all it’s cracked up to be? Hence the words instant and gratified means instant but over way too soon.

Relish in the moments that you longed for, moments you trained your brain to want!

Get the outcomes you desire by creating a brain hack visualization that your dopamine can’t resist. Your custom tricks will end up being your treats no matter what time of year you implement your design. The possibilities are endless!

Kimberly Sheldahl is a Positive Intelligence & Performance Coach. Kimberly combines strategies merging Positive Intelligence and Performance strategies into a practical intersection that helps you manage your priorities.

Kim is trained as a Positive Intelligence Coach and trained and mentored by Shirzad Chamine, the NY Times, #1 Best Selling Author of Positive Intelligence, which is based off the latest in neuroscience, cognitive behavioral psychology, and positive and performance psychology.

Kim is also a Full Focus Planner Certified Pro and uses both Positive Intelligence and the Full Focus System as foundations in her custom 12 week program, PQ and Priority Prime where clients identify their key ways of self-sabotaging and learn how to circumvent and mitigate those behaviors. She then teaches her STARR Attraction goal design with Full Focus elements.

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Kimberly Sheldahl

Chief Priority Strategist |Practical Priorities™ | Certified, Predictive Index ™ & Kolbe™ | Full Focus Planner Certified Pro™|Health Coach