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Last Updated on November 5, 2019

11 Tactics on Increasing Brain Power, Memory, and Motivation

11 Tactics on Increasing Brain Power, Memory, and Motivation

How do you motivate yourself? We all want to maximize our time and do more of the things we love to do but sometimes we get stuck in the ‘getting ready’ process.

We want to live every day with a clear intention to get closer to achieving our goals and living a happy, successful life. We want to get better every day but we never actually jump off.

The most powerful form of motivation comes from self-motivation. You can light your own fire.

It is not enough simply to wait for inspiration to start you moving forward. It doesn’t have to be something that happens to you, it can be something that you create.

All progress and motivation starts with taking action. One action will lead to another. Action will create better outcomes and new experiences for you.

When my coaching clients are suffering from distraction, I simply get them to start taking action. To get fired up. To do something specific.

This may be getting up earlier, or committing to doing exercise daily. Even if it’s doing something for just 5 minutes, it’s often that little push that it enough to get them going.

If you focus on a small number of things to create the change you want, it can have a dramatic effect on your business and life.

Here are 11 things you can do right now to take that jump and in the process of increasing brain power, memory and motivation.

1. Simplify Your Life

By creatively planning your life, it allows you to simplify. Delegating and eliminating activities that don’t motivate or excite you ensures you maximise your time and focuses your energy on achieving your goals.

It’s really hard to stay motivated when your mind is confused and cluttered with all of the projects and tasks you need to do. But if you can simplify, if you can carve away the unnecessary, your life will become more focused. And more focus leads to more motivation.

What areas of your life could you simplify?

One way you could do it is to combine tasks. Think about two things you want to do and see how you could combine them into one activity.

The author Marilyn Vos Savant takes this one stage further in her book Brain Building in Just 12 Weeks. She recommends that we make a list of every small task that has to be done, say, over a day or a week-end and then do them all one after another.

Essentially, you are fusing lots of smaller tasks together into one task and completing them all together. So rather than doing one task on one day and another task on another day, it becomes a focused blitz to get lots of little things completed all together.

This frees us more time and gives you a sense of accomplishment, that increases motivation.

2. Focus on How Far You’ve Come

One of the things that stops us being motivated and causes procrastination is that we measure our success not from how far we’ve come, but how far away we are from our dreams and ideals.

If we can change our thinking and become more conscious of how our brain is working, we can set ourselves up for success.

We’re often at our happiest when we use our brains to problem solve, visualize, achieve and measure our progress.

If you talk in specifics rather than generalities, there is an opportunity to feel happier and more energized.

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One way to do this is to start training your brain to measure specifics, which grounds your feelings in reality and can boost motivation.

Rather than focusing on your ideal, think about what you’ve achieved from a specific starting point.

If your goal is to lose 14lbs in the next 6 months and you’ve lost 3 lbs in the first 3 months you have two choices. You could focus on the fact that you’re still 11lbs away from your goal or you could focus on the fact that you have lost 3lbs since you’ve started.

The second option will allow you to celebrate success and build motivation and refocus your mind to lost more weight whilst the first option may focus your mind on how far away you are from your goals.

Let your brain set your own goals and have your own experiences.

3. Set Measurable Goals

This follows on nicely from the previous point. When I work with coaching clients we always set specific, measurable 90 Day Goals.

This is great for motivation and training the brain to focus only on things that are specific and measurable.

When we are making real progress towards our goals, it makes us a lot happier. We are motivated and inspired.

We all sense where we are in the present moment. The past has gone and the future is well, the future.

In this present moment, we feel like we’re making progress, moving forward in the right direction or we’re not. We can’t stop time. We can only make better use of our time.

If you’re not happy with the progress you’re making, you may start comparing with others which can make you feel a lot worse and stop motivation in their tracks.

So, think about what goals you want to achieve for the next 90 Days. Ask yourself what is the meaning/purpose behind each of the goals.

Write the goals down. Put specific measurements against each goal and visualise what achieving the goals will mean to you in terms of your own personal progress.

4. Shift Your Motivation from Getting to Giving

Some people only focus on what they can get out of life and relationships. It’s all about me, me, me.

“When you change the way you look at things; the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

However, if you come from a position of serving and helping, and being more consciously awake to the world around you, your mindset can shift from merely receiving to giving.

And when you create this shift, coming from a space of giving, your brain starts coming up with more and more creative ways to spread more and more abundance.

It’s far more satisfying to focus on giving. If you really focus on this, it can become a true purpose and focus for you.

Rather than focusing on simple transactions, you focus on deepening relationships and doing things that will genuinely make people happy.

If you focus on giving and gratitude and surround yourself with people of a similar mindset your motivational energy will always be high.

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There are also additional benefits. When givers come together the results can be so much bigger than on an individual level as everything has the capacity to be multiplied.

When your motivation is to give your brain will think of more and more creative ways to do that. Random thoughts will pop into your head and you’ll find more creative ways to improve other people in both your business and personal life.

If you aren’t sure what truly motivates you, this will help:

What Motivates You And How to Always Stay Motivated

5. Create and Repeat a New Habit

Sometimes, the smallest shifts create the biggest results. When you start a new habit, whether that’s going to the gym, creating videos or improving your speaking the key is consistency and repetition.

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you create incremental improvements.

If you want to start a new morning routine, the key is repetition. If you want to start meditating, the key is to stay with it. If you’re gearing up to run a 5k, the key is to run every day and build that strength and stamina.

If you have a vision of yourself as someone who doesn’t complete projects, then you think of yourself as that person. But if you tell yourself every day you’re a world class ‘project completer,’ you’ll begin to think and act like that person.

If you’re procrastinating on a big project, just start small and do something to move it forward, even if only five minutes. The next day work on that project again.

The key is deciding what you want to improve and then working on that thing every day. A 1% improvement every day can produce big results in the end.

Bonus tip: Here’re How to Break a Habit and Hack the Habit Loop

6. Direct Your Subconscious Mind Before Sleep

Many successful people never go to sleep without a request to their subconscious mind.

“Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious” – Thomas Edison

Your brain is a fantastic problem solving tool. If there are decisions you are struggling with or a project you’re looking for answers on, just spend a few minutes before you go to sleep visualizing the challenges, ideas, questions and experiences.

You can follow a similar process with your goals. Visualize your goals every night and visualize what the achievement of those goals will look like.

Your subconscious mind will then go to work, creating different connections and ideas. When you wake up, write down everything that comes to mind and then put things into action.

You’ll be surprised how amazing your subconscious mind is: Why Sleeping on a Difficult Problem Helps You Get the Answer

7. Focus on Your Environment

The people who you spend time with will change your life in one way or another. Surround yourself with people and things that support you in your business and life.

Cynics can pull you down with them but supportive people will motivate you to becoming even more happy and successful.

Throughout every day, we have choices regarding what we spend our time on and who we are going to spend our time with.

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You can be with people who stifle and bring your energy down, or be with people who inspire your creativity and celebrate your success.

Spend more time with people who make you feel more alive and happier and see where that takes you.

8. Express More Gratitude

When you come from a place of expressing gratitude both to what you have and the people around you, the change can be immense.

If you express gratitude for what you have, you are less envious and fixated on what other people have.

When you express gratitude to the important people in your life, it changes how you perceive them and how they feel about you.

Gratitude increases your energy and your feelings of abundance. With gratitude, everything is appreciated.

Gratitude also makes you a lot more creative and deepens your motivation. Handwritten notes, more expressive feelings, instantaneous notes or calls to the people that matter most become commonplace.

The thing about gratitude, though, is that it requires an active pursuit in all areas of your business and life. It’s not about what that person has done for you. It’s about how you feel about them, and their value to you.

Here’s a quick exercise:

Think about the people that are most important to you.

Next, write down 5 things you are grateful for, or appreciate, about that person.

You could tell them the 5 things or just keep it to yourself and sense how you are with that person the next time you meet.

Another important focus for gratitude is yourself. What are you grateful for today?

Taking the time to look inwardly and appreciate what you have built momentum and motivation and makes you a lot happier.

If you want to learn more ways to practice gratitude, check out these 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

9. Increase Your Energy

Energy is a huge motivator. If we are fired up or excited about someone or something, we are usually very motivated.

Think about the last time you achieved something important. I’m guessing your energy and motivation was high?

If you’ve beaten your best time on the track, or lost the weight you wanted, or won a big piece of business, your energy will be sky high and you will want to dive back in again to improve your previous performance.

When we are excited and motivated about the things we are doing, we bring high levels of energy.

If you could spend more time doing the things that excite and motivate you, what would that mean for your business and life?

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High levels of energy produce continual growth and give you higher levels of confidence.

Try this:

Pick three things that give you high levels of excitement and motivation. Commit to spending at least one more hour on each of the things every month.

See what you can achieve. If it brings in the results you want, aim to spend more time on those 3 things and remove 3 things you want to spend less time on.

10. Visualize Your Ideal Future

If your motivation is lacking, try focusing on the purpose behind what you are doing or on how it plays into the larger goal of what you want to accomplish.

One great way to increase your brain power and motivation is to start thinking bigger and then challenge yourself to think bigger and bigger about your vision of your ideal future.

Where would you like to be in 3 years or 5 years’ time? What is your bigger purpose in your business and life? What would have to happen to make you happy with your progress?

Identifying and then focusing on your bigger vision gives you the feeling of working on something greater and being part of something bigger than yourself. It gives deeper meaning and purpose to your daily life.

If you are putting long hours into something or making a lot of sacrifices to achieve something, it will help put things into perspective and ensure your motivation stays strong.

Want to begin again with your life and live your ideal future, but you really don’t want to give up what you have now?

You don’t have to! Here’s the proof.

11. Take More Actions

If you’ve been resisting taking on a big project for a while, be that at home or at work, everything else in your life can begin to suffer.

Sometimes, you just have to face your resistance and fear and do what you’ve been avoiding. That one thing, could make a real difference to your life.

We all have lots to do and sometimes it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the tasks at hand.

The key is to prioritize so we make the best use of our time and make an internal commitment to just get started.

One of my clients was very close to finishing a new online course but there were some things she was avoiding and procrastinating over. It was very easy for her to fill her time with social media updates, shiny new things and check out the things her competitors were doing to avoid taking action. She knew she was neglecting something really important to her personal goals and putting off things that mattered to her.

I got her to focus just half an hour at the beginning each day for a week on this project. That amount of time grew as her excitement and motivation increased.

She felt more excited and motivated by just getting started again and doing the work. This newfound energy also impacted other aspects of her life.

She felt more in control and knew she would succeed. Just by taking one small step and getting started.

Conclusion

Here are some things for you to consider as you reflect upon this article:

  • What’s motivating you right now?
  • Are you as inspired as you want to be?
  • Are you open to new experiences?
  • Are you continually learning new and better ways to live?
  • Are you putting those into practice?
  • Do you want to be more motivated and inspired?

Hopefully this article has provided some insights and you can use some of these tactics to help you live every day with a clear intention to get closer to achieving your goals.

More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Pete Bellis via unsplash.com

More by this author

Mark Pettit

Mark Pettit is a Business Coach for ambitious entrepreneurs and business owners who want to achieve more by working less.

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Published on July 29, 2020

How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

Have you been thinking of how you can be a more strategic leader during these uncertain times? Has the pandemic thrown a wrench at all your carefully laid out plans and initiatives?

You’re not alone. The truth is, we all want some stability in our careers and teams during this disruptive pandemic.

However, this now requires a bit more effort than before and making the leap from merely surviving to thriving means buckling down to some serious strategic thinking and maintaining a determined mindset.

Is There a Way to Thrive Despite These Disruptions?

Essentially – yes, although you need to be willing to put in the work. Every leader wants to develop strategic thinking skills so that they can enhance overall team performance and boost their company’s success, but what exactly does it mean to be strategic in the context of the times we live in?

If you happen to be in a leadership position in your organization right now, you are most probably navigating precarious waters given the disruptions caused by the pandemic. There’s a lot more pressure than before because your actions and decisions will have a much greater impact these days not just on you, but also to the people who are part of your team.

Companies often bring me in to coach executives on strategic thinking and planning. And while pre-pandemic I would usually start by highlighting the advantages of strategic thinking, nowadays, I always begin these Zoom coaching sessions by driving home the point that this pandemic has now made strategic thinking not just an option but an absolute must.

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Assessing and making plans through the lens of a good strategy might require significant work at first. Nevertheless, you can take comfort in the fact that the rewards will far outweigh the effort, as you’ll soon see after following the 8 strategic steps I have outlined below.

8 Steps to Strategic Thinking

As events unfold during these strange times, you’re bound to feel wrong-footed every now and then. Being a leader during this pandemic means preparing for more change not just for you, but for your whole team as well.

As states and cities go through a cycle of lockdowns and reopening, employees will experience the full gamut of human emotions in dizzying speed, and you will often be called on to provide insight and stability to your team and workplace.

Strategic thinking is all about anticipation and preparation. Rather than expending your energy merely helping your company put out fires and survive, you can put the time to better use by charting out a solid plan that can protect and help you and your company thrive.

Take the following steps to build solid initiatives and roll out successful projects:

Step 1: Step Back, Then Set the Scope

One of the things that leaders get wrong during their first attempt at strategic thinking is expecting that it is just another item on a checklist. The truth is, you need to take a good, long look at the bigger picture before anything else. This means decisively prioritizing and stepping away from tasks that can be delegated to others. Free up your schedule so you can focus on this crucial task at hand.

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Then, proceed with setting the scope and the strategic goals of the project or initiative you plan to build or execute. Ask yourself the bigger question of why you need to embark on a particular project and when would be the right time to do so.

You need to set a timeline as well, anywhere from 6 months to 5 years. Keep in mind that your projections will deteriorate the further out you go as you make longer-term plans.

For this reason, add extra resources, flexibility, and resilience if you have a longer timeline. You should also be making the goals less specific if you’re charting it out for the longer term.

Step 2: Make a List of Experts

Make and keep a list of credible people who can contribute solid insight and feedback to your initiative. This could range from key stakeholders to industry experts, mentors, and even colleagues who previously planned and rolled out similar projects.

Reach out to the people on this list regularly while you work through the steps to bring diverse insight into your planning process. This way, you will be able to approach any problem from every angle.

Bringing key stakeholders into this initial process will also display your willingness to listen and empathize with their issues. In return, this will build trust and potentially pave the way for smoother buy-in down the line.

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Step 3: Anticipate the Future

After identifying your goals and gathering feedback, it’s time to consider what the future would look like if everything goes as you intuitively anticipate. Then, lay out the kind and amount of resources (money, time, social capital) that might be needed to keep this anticipated future running.

Step 4: Brainstorm on Potential Internal and External Problems

Next, think of how the future would look if you encountered unexpected problems internal and external to the business activity that seriously jeopardize your expected vision of the future. Write out what kind of potential problems you might encounter, including low-probability ones.

Assess the likelihood that you will run into each problem. To gauge, multiply the likelihood by the number of resources needed to address the problem. Try to convert the resources into money if possible so that you can have a single unit of measurement.

Then, think of what steps you can take to address these internal and external problems before they even happen. Write out how much you expect these steps might cost. Lastly, add up all the extra resources that may be needed because of the different possible problems and all the steps you committed to taking to address them in advance.

Step 5: Identify Potential Opportunities, Internal and External

Imagine how your expected plan would look if unexpected opportunities came up. Most of these will be external but consider internal ones as well. Then, gauge the likelihood of each scenario and the number of resources you would need to take advantage of each opportunity. Convert the resources into money if possible.

Then, think of what steps you can take in advance to take advantage of unexpected opportunities and write out how much you expect these steps might cost. Finally, add up all the extra resources that may be needed because of the different unexpected opportunities and all the steps you committed to taking to address them in advance.

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Step 6: Check for Cognitive Biases

Check for potential cognitive biases that are relevant to you personally or to the organization as a whole, and adjust the resources and plans to address such errors.[1] Make sure to at least check for loss aversion, status quo bias, confirmation bias, attentional bias, overconfidence, optimism bias, pessimism bias, and halo and horns effects.

Step 7: Account for Unknown Unknowns (Black Swans)

To have a more effective strategy, account for black swans as well. These are unknown unknowns -unpredictable events that have potentially severe consequences.

To account for these black swans, add 40 percent to the resources you anticipate. Also, consider ways to make your plans more flexible and secure than you intuitively feel is needed.

Step 8: Communicate and Take the Next Steps

Communicate the plan to your stakeholders, and give them a heads up about the additional resources needed. Then, take the next steps to address the unanticipated problems and take advantage of the opportunities you identified by improving your plans, as well as allocating and reserving resources.

Finally, take note that there will be cases when you’ll need to go back and forth these steps to make improvements, (a fix here, an improvement there) so be comfortable with revisiting your strategy and reaching out to your list of experts.

Conclusion

A great way to deal with feelings of uncertainty during this pandemic is to anticipate obstacles with a good plan – and a sure road to that is practicing strategic thinking.

In the coming months and years, you’ll need to continue navigating uncharted territory so that you can lead your team to safe waters. Regularly doing these 8 steps to strategic thinking will ensure that you can prepare for and adapt  to the coming changes with increasing clarity, perspective, and efficiency.[2]

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Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

Reference

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