Motivation is a challenge when your stuck in a monotonous mental cycle - here's how to break free.
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Our habits are redundant sets of automatic behaviours and emotions that our bodies know how to perform better than our minds. We wake up, reach for our phones, check our emails, and then go through a series of routine behaviours we’ve performed for years.
We go the same jobs, do the same things, see same people. Thus, when it comes time to change, the redundancy of that cycle becomes a programme to which we have lost our free will to.
We blame motivation, call it fickle and inconsistent as the spark of any idea we have never quite lives all the way through to the execution. We don’t expect our bodies to run on one meal a year or our cars on one tank of gas. Why do we treat motivation this way?
Below is a simple 12 minute morning guide to hack the Success Programme of your mind.
Hack 1: Inception & Priming (3 - 5 minutes)
Within the first 15 minute of waking up, over 53 % of Americans hit the snooze button, while 79% check their social media feeds. Considering how malleable and receptive our brains are in those first waking moments, the first messages we encounter in the morning are most important.
Begging for 5 more minutes of sleep or subconsciously comparing ourselves to every other person on our Instagram feeds, only sets us up for failure.
However, priming our minds with messages that serve our goals puts us in the optimal state for achieving them during the day. With our phones being already so close to our beds, instead of hitting the snooze button, play a motivational video right and observe yourself.
As the speaker's voice blends with the music and fills the space, notice your entire mental landscape charging. For a first time, the train of unproductive thoughts, triggered by the habit of “5 more minutes, I don’t want to go to work” is finally replaced by your first step towards a successful day.
A great tool for is called Motivate App. It simplifies the practice by providing curated motivation tailored to your particular goals and helps build the motivation habit around any schedule and lifestyle.
Hack 2: Actionable Principles ( 3 - 5 minutes)
We’ve heard countless times that thoughts shape our realities, but just affirming a particular belief over and over again may actually have a negative effect impact on the psyche. We need certain boundaries in order for our brains to turn ambiguous concepts into realities.
Since plain affirmations fail at doing so, most people quit them after barely a week. Thus, adding actionable principles, such as discussed in the book Principles by Ray Dalio, take a typical affirmation practice to a new level. Let’s say our new affirmation is:
“I am superior to negative thoughts and I am the master of my mind.”
We repeat this 10 times in the morning as we stare in the mirror with an intense focus of unshakable belief. That is, of course, until we get outside and have 17 negative thoughts in a row, followed by 534 more throughout the day. Adding an actionable principle such as:
“Every time I have a negative thought, I record it.”
turns us into observers vs. participants of our minds. Actionable principles make us aware, mindful, and more likely to achieve our goals. They remove us from the grasps of our emotions and align us with what we really want. Let’s say we are trying to gain wealth and the affirmation is:
“I am wealthy and money just flows to me.”
We can repeat this for a week, but money probably won’t rain from the sky. However, consider the actionable principle of:
“One hour of action a day towards financial freedom with no hurry, no pause.”
Here, a vague affirmation becomes grounded in an actionable time boundary, along with a reminder for patience. This combination of affirmation and action provides the fundamental basis of creating a new reality.
Hack 3: The Cookie Jar (2 minutes)
We have many small successes throughout any given year or month, but how many do we actually remember? If asked to list all our accomplishments from last year, most people couldn’t even reach 10. This type of mentality breeds a state of perpetual lack of gratitude for our abilities and reinforces negative beliefs that drain energy and motivation.
Instead, whenever something great happens (no matter how small) record it. Keep a dedicated file on your phone, keep a notepad, even a glass jar that you throw notes into.
The exact method doesn’t matter. The idea is to keep collecting these small victories to look at during tough times; times where we feel less than. We go back to our cookie jar and instantly break the habitual thought train of self deprecation.
Ultimately, taking time for ourselves in the morning is the difference between whether we own the day or the day owns us. The practice above can be done in just under 12 minutes. If doing all three steps is a lot, maybe just start with one.
Because if we can’t even find 10 minutes in the morning, how are we going to find the time for the rest of our lives?