Mindset tips for getting stuff done
Do you ever wish you had more motivation? That you could just decide to do something and then go and do it?
You’re not alone. I think all of us have experienced self sabotage in some form, and struggle to get motivated to make any kind of changes in our lives. And why is it that a lot of this resistance seems to make itself known at the start of a New Year? So annoying!
I’ve done a lot of work around mindset these last few years – from training in NLP and CBT to reading lots of self help books and then putting tips into practice in my own life and those of my clients. I’ve learned a few tricks you can start using to help you actually get things done and make positive changes in your life, but before we get into those there’s something you need to understand – your brain is lazy!
Our brains basically want to keep us safe and alive. Change (even when our logical mind knows it’s very safe) triggers our brains systems that protect us from harm. Sometimes this links back to previous experiences we’ve had, often during childhood. Sometimes it’s simply because changing something is like stepping off a well trodden path into a deeply wooded forest, it’s new territory, and to create a new path you’re going to have to clear all that overgrowth. This is the resistance we’re all faced with when we decide to do something differently.
But there are ways you can go under your brains safely radar, here are a few tips you can use in your own life to actually get shit done.
Use the 5 Second Rule
I’m not talking about how long you can legitimately eat food that’s been dropped on the floor (FYI it’s 10 seconds in our household!) rather I’m talking about a technique coined by Mel Robbins. She suggests that our brains will talk us out of things very quickly if we don’t act faster than they do. She says we have a 5 second window in which we can act before our brain derails us. In her example, it’s hitting the snooze button. She counts backwards from 5 to 1 whenever she needs to do something where she’s experienced resistance before.
For you, it might be getting those trainers on to go for a run. It might be making the decision to pop to the shops to get some vegetables to make a decent meal instead of having cheese on toast for dinner (again).
So next time you’re about to make a decision to do something where you’ve faced resistance in the past, think of the 5 second rule. Don’t let yourself think, just count yourself down and do it!
Especially at this time of year it feels like we should all be taking massive actions to ‘better ourselves’. The problem with this is that we’ll often self sabotage because those big actions trigger our brains to think we’re doing something that isn’t safe. The way to get under your brains radar is to adopt a micro action approach. Instead of trying to do it all, breaking your goals down into much smaller tasks or actions means that you might make slower progress, but actual process instead of one step forward and two steps back that you get when self sabotage kicks in.
Have a ‘better than nothing’ attitude
When we start to see our goals in a ‘better than nothing’ frame of mind we can connect more easily to the achievement instead of any feelings of failure. For example, we might set a goal which is to exercise 3 times a week. When we don’t hit that goal we feel crap. If we set the goal as exercising once a week (which is much easier to hit – this is also a bit of a micro action too) and do it, we create feelings of achievement instead of feelings of failure. Even better if we go more than just the once that was our goal.
Feeling bad, or feeling like a failure can set us up in a vicious circle where more often than not we end up just not bothering. When you see everything you do in a positive sense, from a starting place of nothing, zero or very little – like the once a week goal – everything on top of this is an achievement to feel good about.
I hope those three tips have given you something to think about and to put into practice in your own life!
Do you feel resistance when you try and make a change? How do you feel about motivation? Is it something you’ve struggled with?