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If You Want A Productive Morning, You Should Start Your Day By Doing This

If You Want A Productive Morning, You Should Start Your Day By Doing This

Lots of people wish that they were more productive in the morning. They wish that they spent every morning completing tasks and feeling accomplished, but instead they wake up feeling unmotivated and tired. They don’t want to get out of bed and they don’t want to start a task, and so they don’t manage to have a successful, productive day.

If you can relate to this, don’t worry. Sometimes motivation can seem like it is just out of reach, but you can easily grab it by doing one simple thing. Successful people do this one thing every single day when they first wake up, and it helps them to be more productive and motivated.

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But what is the one thing that you need to do if you want to have a productive morning?

The One Thing You Need To Do For A Productive Morning

The best way to have a productive, energetic morning is to do something active as soon as you wake up. As soon as your alarm goes off, jump out of bed and do something physical. You can do any exercise that you like. For instance, you could do 10 jumping jacks and 5 push-ups, or you could jog around your house. The exercise doesn’t have to take a long time – in fact, it might only take a minute!

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While this may not seem like much, it is enough to get your body moving and your energy flowing. While a long workout is beneficial too, it is much harder to commit to every day. One minute of exercise is very easy to fit in to your schedule, and you will be rewarded for your efforts every day. Whenever you exercise, your body releases endorphins that improve your mood and make you happier and more energetic.

You can either do the same exercise every day, or you can mix it up by doing different things every week. Don’t force yourself to do an exercise that you hate; instead spend time trying different exercises until you find one that you like.

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If you sleep late every day you should also try to alter your sleeping pattern. Try to get up 15 minutes earlier each week so that you can slowly improve your sleeping pattern over time. This way, you are more likely to stick to your new early-bird routine.

How It Works In The Long Term

One minute of exercise every morning may seem like a very small task, but it can transform your whole lifestyle if you do it on a long-term basis. This is because it establishes a healthy, productive routine in your life that will develop into a habit over time.

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The most successful people understand that they need to implement routine behaviors into their lives so that they can achieve their full potential. One minute of exercise will maximize your energy levels, making it easier for you to be productive that day – and if you stick with it for a few years, eventually every day will be extremely productive.

You will need to be disciplined if you want to make this habit a part of your daily life. You must consistently commit to improving your life, even on days when you are feeling lazy and unmotivated. You are your habits, so you must make sure that you are proud of your habits.

If you want to be more productive but you’re not sure if you can commit to lifelong change, don’t worry. Making an active effort to improve your life can seem like an overwhelming task, but you just need to take it one day at a time.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via pexels.com

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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