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7 Ways To Train You To Be More Mindful

7 Ways To Train You To Be More Mindful

 “In this moment, there is plenty of time. In this moment, you are precisely as you should be. In this moment, there is infinite possibility” – Victoria Moran

Mindfulness is all about being consciously aware of what goes on in your life. It seems like we are living in a society that is filled with so many distractions. These distractions take us away from enjoying the simple pleasures in life like walking in a park or watching a sunset. Being mindful can help you appreciate what you have and look forward to your future. There are ways to train you to be more mindful, whether it’s during work, at home with your family or while out on a jog. You can become more mindful starting today. Implement these 7 ways in your life and start appreciating your life!

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Create that which you desire to exist

What in life do you truly want to experience? What is the journey that you want to go on? When it comes to becoming more mindful in life, it all starts with your vision. It’s about creating that which you desire to exist. Living in a society with so many distractions can take us off track with our goals, dreams and ambitions in life. Stay focused on what you want to accomplish, whether you are experiencing sunny days or rainy days. Carry on even during the days when you feel like giving up. Be mindful of these days and continue to create that which you desire to exist.

Live life in alignment with your deepest values and beliefs

What are your deepest values and beliefs in life? What matters to you most? Reflect upon these questions and answer them honestly. Step away from any distractions and be in a quiet place. When you are able to live every single day in alignment with your deepest values and beliefs, you are making the mental decision to being mindful of your life. When you are clear with your values and beliefs and live each day in alignment with these values and beliefs, you are consciously aware of your life. When you are more mindful in life, you are aware of why you do what you do. You understand that the reason why you wake up in the morning and go to work is because you value your family and want to take care of them. You have a purpose for living each day. Find out your values and beliefs and start living through your actions every single day!

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Unplug from the noise of society every once in a while and plug into your mind

Does it seem like you are constantly plugged into the latest trend or what’s going on Facebook? We live in a world filled with noise. Noise is everywhere. Whether it be when you drive down the road and see all the ads, fast food and stores or watching television and flipping through the different channels. We are constantly surrounded by noise. If you want to train yourself to be more mindful, you must unplug from society every once in a while and plug into your mind. What emotions, feelings, thoughts are going on in your mind? Get in touch with these emotions and reflect upon what changes you need to make in your life. When we continue to stay plugged into the noise of society, we can easily lose ourselves. How can you possibly be more mindful when you are experiencing so much noise? It’s near to impossible. Decide today to start unplugging from the noise and start plugging into your mind.

What is the legacy that you want to leave behind?

“The choices we make about the lives we live determine the kinds of legacies we leave.” – Tavis Smiley

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Take a few moments and answer this question. What do you want to be remembered by? It’s easy to get stuck in the routine and forget about why you do what you do. When you take the time to think about the end in mind, you are becoming more mindful. We are constantly running around so much that we barely have anytime to think. When we don’t have anytime to think, how can we possibly become more mindful? Focus on the legacy that you want to leave behind. Starting today, live each day in alignment with your legacy.

Through your actions, you will become mindful

It’s all about your actions. We can keep our thoughts, emotions and feelings inside, but in order to become more mindful, you need to express yourself through your actions. You can either become more mindful in a negative way or a positive way. In this article, we are focusing on becoming more mindful in a positive way. Through your actions, you will become more consciously aware of the moment. For example, what do you think about when you are walking at a mall? Is your mind  thinking about what shops you need to go in or what should you cook for dinner tonight? Be in the moment. Think about the way you walk. What is your posture like? When you take the time to think about your posture while you walk, you are becoming more mindful. You can apply this to anything else in your life. Next time you’re at the store, be consciously aware of how you walk. This will help you become more mindful.

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Turn on your antennas to your purpose in life

Why do you wake up every single day? Do you have a reason that inspires you to wake up and start the day off right? Does it seem like you do the same routine 5 days a week? You wake up, go to work, come home, go to bed and the routine starts all over again the next day. I like to call this routine a “draining routine.” Having a “draining routines” does nothing to help you become more mindful. When you are able to be clear with your purpose in life, you can start living each day with mindfulness. You understand that everything you do is all about fulfilling your purpose. First things first, reflect and be clear with your purpose, then keep your antennas up every single day so that you make sure that you are fulfilling your purpose.

Be real with who you are

When it comes to training yourself to be more mindful, you need to be real. It would be a challenge to try to be more mindful when you are living a life that is fake and materialistic. It’s important for you to always remain true to who you are and to be connected with your inner being. When you’re able to always be connected with your inner being, even during the rainiest of days, you will remain true to who you are. This will allow you to become more mindful. It’s easy to start conforming to society, especially when you surround yourself with noise. Always be real with who you are. When you know who you are, you are more likely to be mindful with your life.

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Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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