Do you feel like you’re in a good groove with your diet, exercise, sleep, hydration and contemplative practice? If you’re feeling pretty solid in each of those areas – they all contribute to overall well being — that’s amazing! You’re headed into summer with some good momentum.
But if one or more of these areas are lagging, you may not be feeling your best, or as resilient as you can be.
Sometimes the brain rebels and doesn’t want to put in the effort to change, “I like things the way they are, I’m doing well enough,” it says. Or maybe it says, “I’m not ready.”
But if part of you knows things could be better (that’s the prefrontal cortex talking), it’s going to bump-up against the more primitive, protective part of the brain that wants to protect you and keep things the same (and safe).
That’s when you need a brain hack, to create a work-around and put things in motion. I call it the Super Simple Pivot Toolkit, and it is basically just tricking your brain to start taking action. Not an action that requires a massive amount of energy and commitment, but one small action to put the wheels of momentum into action.
Here’s your Super Simple Pivot Toolkit:
1) Clarity of desire.
2) Honest self-assessment (where are you standing now?)
3) Take one small action.
Every change starts with desire: It is the initiatory cause that puts the wheels of change into motion. Whether your desire is small or large, short term or long term, once you claim your desire your brain will start figuring out how to get it. But especially when it comes to changing longstanding behaviors, that desire needs to be backed-up with a strong why. A strong why will call-in your creativity and harness your will. Keep in mind that the desire should not be part of a condition, as in, “I want to lose weight to feel good about myself,” or “I want to make more money to feel accomplished and worthy.” These sorts of conditional desires will only leave you chasing the true desire of feeling good about yourself or being worthy. It is much more effective to feel worthy first, and then manifest the money as someone who is worthy.
The honest self-assessment is important because, well, the brain will often try to deny that there’s a problem–partly because the ego doesn’t like to be wrong, and partly because changing requires thought and energy (and the brain doesn’t want to spend the energy, unless, of course there’s dopamine involved, which will be the subject of another newsletter). And, the only step you can take is from where you are currently standing.
The one small action is important because you don’t want your brain to rebel. It should be an action so small that you should be able to easily say “I can do that.” Instead of deciding to work out for an hour 3x per week, you could agree to take a 5-minute walk before or after dinner, for example. Or to have a piece of fruit after dinner couple of times per week instead of having cookies. You’re not saying you’ll never have cookies again, just saying you’re going to be satisfied with fruit for today.
There are actually 10 areas that contribute to overall wellbeing, and each of them needs to be active for a truly balanced, radiant and resilient life. Here’s a Self-Assessment Worksheet and Habit Tracker so you can check-in with yourself about these areas and put some new small habits into motion. You can download it here.
For inspiration, here are 10 small actions that can get you going to create new momentum.
1. Drink a tall glass of water when you wake up
2. Take a 5-minute walk between computer tasks
3. Sign-up for a program
4. Meet a friend for a walk
5. Listen to a health-focused podcast (let me know if you want some recommendations)
6. Buy (or borrow) a book on a health topic of interest (my book The Sweet Tooth Dilemma will be available July 18th!)
7. Have a coffee or a walk with a friend or acquaintance who has a lifestyle you admire
8. Practice a single breath pause before eating
9. Practice a single breath pause when you get in the car
10. Practice a single breath pause before lying down to go to bed
I hope these ideas are helpful for you. Let me know.