"I think, therefore, I can create awesomeness. Or horrendousness. The bottom line is that it's through our thoughts that we create our realities" --J. Sincero.
Off to another beginning—a fresh moment and a clear chance for us to make the very best of it, a new year!
No doubt about it, the days, weeks and months ahead will be filled with incredible highs and sometimes stressful lows. But I've learned something about life, we can train our minds to make the best of the present as it unfolds.
I often remind myself that my mind is like a muscle, muscles in my body, which need to be exercised to gain strength. Years ago, I noticed how easily I could crumble when things in my life went wrong. I didn't like when this would happen. I then told myself, "Michael if you don't push your mind in thousands of little, positive ways over time, of course it’ll crumble on the one day things get overwhelmingly stressful." As a result, I began to exercise my mind with daily positive affirmations (high-fives). You see, a mind well trained with positive affirmations has the right thoughts ready for retrieval at a moment’s notice.
Here are 4 cool exercises for your mind.
1. Choose Small Habits
Make your habits easy to do and ideally something you can accomplish every day, because habits that are completed successfully and frequently influence our minds quickly. For example, I was in the bad habit of telling myself how stupid I was when I'd make a mistake at something. One day, I had enough of the "head trash" and bashing myself. I chose to do something about it. I tried a little experiment. I wrote down in 1 minute all the good things I did and then I wrote down in 1 minute all the wrong things I did. One minute goes really fast when you're thinking and writing. At the end of 1 minute, the score was unreal! Good Things-10, Wrong Things-1!
The next day I began a new small habit. I would end my day by thinking about all the right things I did and give myself a mental high-five. Suddenly, I was in the mental habit of not bashing myself when I'd mess up at something.
2. Make It Visible
When you make your habit visible, like marking an X on a calendar, it feels more real. And because you’ve picked a small habit that you do every day, you’ll start to see unbroken streaks of success!
I value good health. I try to exercise each day. My exercise habits are small but my results are pretty cool. I'm almost 60 years-old and I get out on the kickball field every school day with students and I play with them. It's a blast! What's visible for me? My Apple Watch has exercise check marks and reminders telling me if I'm moving in the right direction to accomplishing my exercise goals.
3. Join A Tribe
I once heard that "birds of a feather REALLY DO flock together". I have learned that when I surround myself with people who act a certain way, I'm more likely to act that way, too.
Years ago, I wanted to improve my ability to do public speaking. So, I joined a public speaking group which would gather once a week and we would practice our public speaking skills with each other. It was awesome and my public speaking skills skyrocketed!
4. Make The Wrong Behavior Difficult
When writing Atomic Habits, James Clear wanted to avoid distractions, so he had his assistant change the passwords to all his social media accounts during the workweek and only give them back to him on the weekend, so he could still catch up on messages and updates before starting the cycle all over again. Sometimes, removing a negative behavior can do more for your identity than adding a positive habit.
If you’re feeling up to it, I'd love to hear from YOU.
Which of the above 4 do you think could be most helpful and why?