The Zeigarnik effect is a social psychology phenomenon that you can use in your favor, as it relies on the observation that we feel a lot more tension when we don't complete things we start. So if you can talk yourself into starting an exercise session because reaching your minimum goal isn't too overwhelming, then you might actually find that you want to keep going and surpass your minimum. Craig might find himself saying, "I set a ten-minute goal, but I really want to reach that next mile marker..." and off he goes. But when he doesn't, it's totally okay, as he is still strengthening the habit of showing up for exercise when planned and associating exercise with feelings of accomplishment. It's also good to set maximum goals. Sometimes, when Craig really gets going, he can overdo his workouts. This can create problems, as he might, at worst, injure his body and, at the least, make it psychologically harder to show up for exercise the next day. He may say to himself, "Oh man, I don't have the energy to do that again!" So maximum goals are helpful to keep you going for the long haul, whether you set a time, distance, or repetition limit. Putting it together, you might get on the treadmill, being satisfied with yourself if you jog for only ten minutes. If you want to keep going that's fine, but you can't exceed thirty minutes. In other words, make the task less overwhelming with a minimum goal--which can increase over time as your habit and body strengthen. And don't let yourself make the task herculean--though this maximum goal will also increase over time as your body strengthens and you learn how much pushing is reasonable. Better to take your time building up the muscle of exercising, mentally and physically, so that you don't burn out. Dr. Marcia Angell writes in the must-read book The Truth about Drug Companies that the pharmaceutical industry "discovers few genuinely innovative drugs."3 Big Pharma spends little on research and development of new medications, and uses the lion's share of its profits on marketing. Many of the new medications that are being promoted are actually remnants of older ones with a contemporary spin. Most of the time, Big Pharma extends the life of a blockbuster drug that is going off-patent by making another mock-up version of it. Often called a me-too drug, it is structurally similar to already-manufactured medications.4 So, the "new" me-too medication really isn't new at all--or novel or innovative, for that matter. What's more is the fact that Big Pharma doesn't have to show that a me-too drug is more effective than one that has already been produced. According to the Food and Drug Administration guidelines, all Big Pharma has to show is that a "new" medication is simply effective-- as in better than taking nothing.5 I have a love-hate relationship with the pharmaceutical industry.

Big Pharma saved me. Without Prozac, I know that depression would consume me and that despair would cloud my judgment. Yet at the same time, I'm angry that capitalistic endeavors propel pharmaceutical companies more than does finding healing discoveries. But, that is the sad truth here. Because Big Pharma spins out old drug variations in new forms, research discoveries as to why many people don't benefit from medication get neglected. What science knows about drug metabolism isn't readily used by Big Pharma. Let me explain. There are over thirty drug-metabolizing enzymes in the human body--with many having unique genetic variations from person to person.6 Due to these variations, some individuals experience benefits from medication, while others don't. Again, one size does not fit all here. Most antidepressants are metabolized by the enzyme family involving Cytochrome P450 (CYP). Research in the field of pharmacogenomics, the study of genetic variations in drug metabolism, reveals that individuals who are nonresponders to medication possess variants in genes responsible for setting into motion metabolizing enzymes. Chances are if you haven't found success with an antidepressant medication, your genetics are the reason why. Evidence-based data has identified four metabolizing categories. Poor, intermediate, extensive, and ultrarapid. Let's look at these in more detail. Log Your Goals and Accomplishments: Keeping track of his exercise in a log promotes a tremendous sense of accomplishment for Craig. It's no wonder wireless activity trackers like Fitbit have been such a hit; they offer user-friendly ways to engage goals and quantify progress over time. Online communities help keep engagement with these goals ongoing, fresh, and interactive. Some workplaces hold challenges and competitions to encourage employee wellness. Make it a challenge for yourself to log your goals, privately or publicly.

Do whatever keeps you on your toes (literally!) and feeling great. When you see progress before your very eyes, that's great, and when you have people to celebrate it with you, that's even better. If you have a naturally competitive nature, use that to your benefit and participate in community forums where you can best your comrades. Here's a startling truth: everything ever created by human beings--from the first stone wheel to the International Space Station orbiting the earth today--began as a vision located exclusively in someone's mind. In other words, before we create anything, we must first see it. Go ahead and test that claim for yourself. Try and fold a paper airplane without visualizing its finished shape first. How did that go? Draw a picture of a rose, but don't imagine how you'll shape the petals or what color you'll choose. It's not just difficult; it's impossible. We are made to imagine, and the world is made of our imaginings. Here's the point: in the depths of depression, your imagination was hijacked and habituated to project only dull, dark, and dreary outcomes. That state of mind imagines worst-case scenarios. It projects hardship and lack everywhere it looks. And since seeing is the precursor to creating, is it any surprise that this is the vision the world reflected back to you? To build a brighter future, begin by imagining--in vivid detail--exactly what you want it to look like. In contrast to your former habits, refuse to imagine anything that might go wrong. You get to choose what you see, after all. Do you want genuine romance in your life? Picture your dream partner as clearly as you can.

Imagine yourself with this person, in love and fulfilled. Include laughter, affection, adventure--all the things you want in a relationship. Not only will your moment-to-moment experience of life improve when your thoughts are filled with hopeful images, but you can also rest assured that unseen cogs are shifting into place to bring your vision out of your head and into the world. The practice of picturing what you want works with anything at all: a better job, a new home, improved health, closer relationships with your children, or anything else. That's because you'll set about creating what you envision. Every time. But the true power lies in making an ally out of your imagination where it really counts: how you see yourself. Replace the distorted self-image you created when depressed with a new one that's happy, healthy, powerful, prosperous, and free. Legendary Renaissance artist Michelangelo understood very well the connection between seeing and creating. He once described the method behind his creative genius like this: "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." Likewise, depression often leaves you feeling encased and trapped in stone, holding you back in every way. But your ability to fuel your imagination and foresee a bright future sets you free to flourish as the person God created you to be. It's a deferral but it works because you make a small, safe joke. If it still manages to upset the person you're talking to, you may not be able to talk about religion at all. Nothing is more intimate or potentially engaging than a question. When someone asks the right question, they immediately attract attention and interest from their conversation partner. And vice versa, when someone asks the wrong question, people get annoyed and try to get out of a conversation. It also happens to be one of only two ways to truly start a conversation - you either ask someone a question or you state a fact, and in my experience, asking questions is far more effective in opening the mind of whoever you're trying to talk to. So, how do you ask a question in a way that will draw someone toward you and convince them that you're interesting enough to actually answer? First, you need to make at least a basic observation about the person you're meeting. Again, remember not to make any assumptions.

You shouldn't ask questions like "how many months pregnant are you?" if you're not 100% sure the woman is pregnant. You shouldn't ask a police officer what his quota is unless you know he has a sense of humor. It's dangerous ground and generally very rude. On the other hand, asking someone about their suit or the food they're eating at a buffet or the book they're reading are perfect openers that use existing information to generate a direct connection and help you get into character. This is a tricky one. Some people (myself included) can strike up a conversation and let it roar throughout - intriguing anyone we meet, soliciting laughs and generating rapport left, right and sideways - but when we need to end the conversation, things get awkward. This is a problem I had for a long time, well after I developed much of what you see in this book. But, I learned something very simple, and seemingly counter intuitive about the end of a conversation. You should end a conversation before it reaches its natural apex. It may feel like there are dozens more things to say, but before you know it, you'll both be tapped and the crickets will start chirping. So, it's your job to take initiative and end a conversation as soon as possible, before anything gets awkward and you need to back away uncomfortably. Protect Your Exercise Time: When you are invited to do things at times that conflict with your exercise schedule, you'll have to evaluate them on a case-by-case basis. But do be willing to stick to your guns a bit. Craig loves his Thursday night basketball game, but say a friend invites him to meet up for dinner and drinks after work. What should he do in this approach-approach conflict? If this is a friend visiting from out of town--and he can't cajole the friend to work out--sure, this may be a good time to be flexible. But if the friend is someone he sees frequently, he could request that they meet at a coffee shop beforehand or for a light bite after the game is over. Protecting your exercise time becomes even more pertinent if you identified that physical or emotional health is a top value for the next 6 to 12 months. Consider ways to engage in both opportunities and, if that cannot be reconciled, consider prioritizing your health. And yes, along the way, something may have to give.