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8 Challenging Tasks That Can Triple Your Chance Of Success

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8 Challenging Tasks That Can Triple Your Chance Of Success

A common piece of fitness advice is to “find comfort in discomfort.” The basic premise is that you cannot move forward and grow without pushing yourself past the boundaries of your comfort zone and into new territory. You need to learn to recognize that being uncomfortable means positive change. This advice is beyond fitness enthusiasm: it is a mantra for achieving life success.

Our personal habits revolve around avoiding stress and discomfort at all costs. It is difficult to see the long-term benefits in short-term excursions outside of our comfort zones, especially when the hurdles to surmount are particularly distasteful. Lucky for us, our brains are hard-wired to propel us to action once we begin to feel some level of stress and discomfort. The key is finding balance: too much stress can lead to the undesirable meltdown, while not enough stress will keep us imprisoned in our comfort zones, well out of the reach of meaningful actions.

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If you’re ready to push towards optimal performance — and are prepared to handle the discomfort that comes along with it — then it may be time to embrace these uncomfortable tasks.

1. Meditate daily

Meditation may sound simple, but anybody who has tried — and failed — to consciously still their mind will tell you otherwise. Take a few minutes every day in a quiet space to forget what is going on around you and find some perspective. It may not be comfortable to “do nothing”, but it will physically improve your brain by increasing density in areas responsible for self-control and focus.

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2. Tackle the “impossible”

You know that list of things you keep that you’ve always wanted to do, but don’t do them for fear of failure? Get it out and start knocking off tasks. Achieving goals that you think are impossible not only challenges you, but gives you an immense sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that boosts self-esteem and overall well-being.

3. Wake up earlier

This may be your least-favorite challenge, but the benefits of early wake-ups are worth the discomfort. Waking up even an hour or two earlier gives you time to get more done in your day. You will have the opportunity to plan out your daily schedule, squeeze in some exercise, meditate, and eat a solid breakfast that will fuel the rest of your day.

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4. Speak in public

If you’re one of the 74 percent of Americans who fear public speaking, then this task will be especially challenging. Even if you need to start out in a room with five audience members, any level of public speaking is a boost to your confidence and career. Tip: speak about something you are passionate about — you will feel more knowledgable and less like you don’t know what you’re doing.

5. Say no

We all need to say no at some point in our lives in order to keep from being overwhelmed. Not only does saying no honor your existing commitments, but it frees up time and energy that you could spend on more important — or enjoyable — things. Make sure your “no” is decisive, though; phrases such as I’m not certain leave room for negotiation.

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6. Practice self-control

Lashing out at an irritating coworker or the inconsiderate neighbor brings short-term benefits and long-term problems. Wrecking relationships beyond repair for the sake of being right in a conflict is hardly worth it. Keeping quiet and considering the wisest move will keep your relationships and sanity intact.

7. Make new connections

Talking to unfamiliar people is a fear right up there with public speaking for most people. Even if social interaction is something that makes you uncomfortable, it is a tool for widening your professional and social networks, increasing self-confidence, and absorbing new ways of thinking.

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8. Stop procrastinating

Stop putting off things that you know you should do just because they are difficult. Start with one or two things on your “must-do-but-don’t-want-to” list and get them done. The “I’ll do it tomorrow” mentality never brings about success. If you want to improve your chances of being successful, then you need to complete every task, even if it is undesirable.

Comfort zones are stagnant — you will never accomplish things within them. If you can “find comfort in discomfort” in life, then you can greatly improve your chances of success.

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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