Advertising
Advertising

How to Create a Non-Optional Mindset

How to Create a Non-Optional Mindset

    Towel throwers and ball droppers

    People often ask me why it is that they seem to have so much trouble sticking with their commitment to changing certain behaviours and habits; doing what they need to do to create the results they want for their life. Even though they desperately want to change something about their existence, it seems that invariably there comes a time when they simply stop whatever it was that they started. They drop the ball. Throw in the towel. Put the cue in the rack.

    Start-stop-aholics

    Why we do that is a very relevant question for most people because the vast majority of us have a history of starting and stopping certain behaviours. Time and time again. Things that we should do consistently, but for some reason, we don’t. In reality, most of us know what we need to do. And for a while, we do it. Then we stop. Again. And then we start. And stop again. I’ve said repeatedly in my workshops, we’re champs at almost doing stuff. Masters of incompletion. We have enough reasons to do it, we have the time to do it (despite what we tell others) and we certainly have the potential to create amazing results, but for some reason we seem to be start-stop-aholics.

    Advertising

    A few (seemingly irrelevant) questions:

    Q. Why do you take a shower each and every day? (please tell me you shower every day!)

    A. Because programmed into your ‘how-to-live-your-life’ hard-drive is a command that says you must wash every day. For you, it’s not an optional behaviour, it’s part of your normal running pattern. As a result, you have no motivational problems and no discipline issues when it comes to your personal hygiene (I hope). It’s just a thing you do on auto-pilot. The thought of not washing doesn’t occur to you because cleanliness is one of your non-negotiable habits.

    Q. Why do parents change those stinky nappies (diapers) with no hesitation and no motivational problems? Surely that’s gotta be one of the least enjoyable and desirable tasks?

    Advertising

    A. Because there is nothing in their child-raising ‘program’ (the one running in their head) that tells them that wiping their kid’s butt is optional. It’s simply something which needs to be done. They don’t give themselves the option of not doing it. Again, another non-negotiable in their daily routine.

    Q. Why does the mother run into the burning building with no hesitation to save her child?

    A. Because in her mind there is no other option. No-brainer.

    Advertising

    Q. Why do so many of us who want to get in shape (whatever that means for us individually) fail to do so, even though we know exactly what to do, and why we should do it?

    A. Because we haven’t made the relevant body-changing habits non-negotiables in our life. On some level we still consider optimal eating and consistent exercise to be optional. Of course we do, otherwise we’d never have the start-stop problem.

    Advertising

      Too many of us are out of shape (physically, emotionally, financially, professionally) because we haven’t made certain behaviours and habits non-negotiables in our life. You know the ones I mean. Somewhere in that lump on top of your shoulders you still consider some things to be optional, that’s why you continue to go around in circles in certain areas of your life.

      You may not even be aware of your ‘optional mindset’ but if you have a history of almost getting things done, then I’m talking to you. Do you like ending up in the same place all the time? Didn’t think so. Until you and I make those occasional behaviours, non-negotiable habits we won’t see forever results and we won’t see genuine change.

      You know what to do.

      More by this author

      Craig Harper

      Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

      Do You Make These 10 Common Mistakes Before Weighing Yourself? If your Childhood Sucked – It’s Time to Stop Blaming Your Parents! Exploring Relationships with the Single Weirdo Education Should be More than Academic Basics How to Stop Being an Over-Thinker

      Trending in Lifestyle

      1 How to Overcome Boredom 2 Why Am I Exhausted? The Real Causes and How to Fix It Forever 3 10 Best Gym Equipments You Need in 2020 4 The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype 5 20 Easy and Healthy Breakfast Recipes for Rush Mornings

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising
      Advertising

      Last Updated on May 28, 2020

      How to Overcome Boredom

      How to Overcome Boredom

      Have you ever been bored? Restless? Fidgety? In need of some inspiration?

      I have a theory on boredom. I believe that the rate of boredom has increased alongside the pace of technology.

      If you think about it, technology has provided us with mobile phones, laptops, Ipads, device after device – all to ultimately fix one problem: boredom.

      What is Boredom?

      We have become a global nation that feeds on entertainment. We associate ‘living’ with ‘doing’. People now do not know how to sit still, and we feel guilty when we are not doing anything. Today, inactivity has become the ultimate sin.

      You might not realize it, but boredom stimulates a form of anxiety and stress. It evokes an emotional state that creates frustration and feeds procrastination.

      Advertising

      It’s a desire to be ‘doing something’ or to be ‘entertained’ – it’s a desire for sensory stimulation. What it boils down to is a lack of focus.

      If you think about those times when you’re bored, it’s usually because you did not know what to do. So, indecision also plays a big part.

      When we are focused on what’s important to us and what we want to achieve, it’s pretty hard to be bored. So, one answer to boredom is to become focused on what you want.

      Sometimes It’s Good to Be Bored

      If boredom is a desire for sensory stimulation – then what’s the opposite of that? To be content with no stimulation – in other words – to enjoy stillness.

      Sometimes, it’s not boredom itself that causes the frustration but the resistance to doing nothing.

      Advertising

      Think about it. What would happen if you were to ‘let go’ of the desire to be entertained? You wouldn’t be bored anymore, and you will feel more relaxed!

      In my experience, it’s often the most obvious, simplistic solutions that are the most powerful in life. So, when you’re bored, the easiest way to combat this is to enjoy it.

      It may sound weird but think of ‘boredom’ as a form of ‘relaxation’. It’s a break from the constant stimulation that 21st-century living provides – constant TVs, mobile phones, radios, internet, emails, phone calls, etc.

      Who knows, maybe ‘boredom’ is actually good for us?

      Next time you’re ‘feeling bored’ instead of feeding the frustration by frantically looking for something to do, maybe you can sit back, relax, and savor the feeling of having nothing to do.

      Advertising

      In this article, I’ll share with you my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom.

      3-Step Strategy to Overcome Boredom

      1. Get Focused

      Instead of chasing sensory stimulation at random, focus on what’s really important to you. Focusing on something important helps prevent boredom because it forces you to utilize your time productively.

      You should ask yourself: what would make good use of your time? What could you be doing that would contribute to your major goals in life?

      Here are a few ideas:

      • Spend some time in quiet contemplation considering what’s important to you.
      • Start that creative project you’ve been talking about for the last few weeks.
      • Brainstorm: think of some ideas for new innovative products or businesses.

      2. Kill Procrastination

      Boredom is useful in some ways because it gives you the energy and time to do things. It is only a problem if you let it. But if you use it to motivate yourself to be productive, then you can more easily overcome boredom.

      Advertising

      So, the next time you’re bored, why not put this good energy to use by ticking off those things that you have been meaning to get done but have been too busy to finish? This also presents a great time for you to clear your to-do list.

      Here are some ideas:

      • Do some exercise.
      • Read a book.
      • Learn something new.
      • Call a friend.
      • Get creative (draw, paint, sculpt, create music, write).
      • Do a spring cleaning.
      • Wash the car.
      • Renovate the house.
      • Re-arrange the furniture.
      • Write your shopping list.
      • Water the plants.
      • Walk the dog.
      • Sort out your mail & email.
      • De-clutter (clear out that wardrobe).

      3. Enjoy Boredom

      If none of the above solutions work, then you can try a different approach. Don’t give in to boredom and instead choose to enjoy it. This doesn’t mean allowing yourself to waste your time being bored. Instead, think of it as your time to relax and re-energize, which will help you be more productive the next time you work.

      Contrary to popular belief, we don’t need to be constantly doing things to be productive. In fact, research has shown that people are more productive when they take periods of rest to recharge.[1] Taking breaks once in a while helps boost your performance and can help make you feel more motivated.

      So, take some time to relax. You never know, you might even like it.

      Final Thoughts

      Learning how to overcome boredom may be difficult at the beginning, but it can be easier if you make use of some techniques. You can start with my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom and work your way from there. So, ready your mind and make use of these tips, and you will be overcoming boredom in no time.

      More Tips on Overcoming Boredom

      Featured photo credit: Johnny Cohen via unsplash.com

      Reference

      Read Next