In my previous post, I’ve spoke about getting into being mindful of the present and hence building up on the ability to get things done. I’ve thought about it and I wonder, what if I had never gotten into the habit of being aware and mindful and if I had never been able to get things done?
In modern’s society where the value of meritocracy is being extolled to no end, we have been conditioned through various propaganda to work towards a certain reward or prize. And here’s the catch, we can create our own carrot to dangle in front of us. I’ve watched an extremely heart-wrenching short movie from TropFest Australia sometime back and while it has merits and credits of its own, a part of the short movie spoke to me about this topic today. For now I shall continue this post but rest assure that the link to the short movie will be posted at the end.
Recent research studies have revealed that our brains are highly adaptable and that we can master our own habits to no end. You would have seen and heard quite many gurus out there speaking about making changes and instilling the capacities into you. Personally, all it takes is some determination and sheer grit. It sounds much easier doing it than just listening to someone speak about it.
Ever heard of the 2-minute rule? That’s what most changes require to inculcate before it becomes a habit but it also depends on the complexity of the change that you require in life. For me, here’s how I do it.
1. Write it down in pen and paper and stick it somewhere obvious that I would see it everyday (i.e I want to have an apple everyday before lunch)
2. Get started (i.e I would have to buy apples in bulk to make it easier for me so that I will not give myself excuse not to and hence I shall buy a dozen of apples when I do my weekly grocery shopping)
3. It only takes 2 minutes to look at the note and take out an apple to pack for my pre-lunch before I leave for work.
Here’s the fun part where the rewarding comes in!
4. I would also include that if I were to complete a week of apple-eating, I would reward myself with a pack of peanut M&Ms at the end of the week!
5. Stick to it and slowly allow my mind to turn it into a habit
It took me only about 2 weeks before I didn’t have to look at the note and I habitually reached for the apple but of course, I had given up on the peanut M&Ms although they tasted yummy. Scientifically, it’s been proven that we have the capacity to form new neural pathways and associations but at the physical level, it’s about forming habits – habits that you want to work for you.
So that’s my progression for you. So what about procrastination? Each and every time I procrastinate or deviate from my note (I have many other notes/habits that I want to improve and I shall share that the next time), I deny myself the reward and that tricks my brain into sticking to my desired change.
So for whatever you want to do, recognise that you have both the capacity and ability to want it as much as do it. That itself is self-empowerment that we need to feel good about ourselves everyday, without needing much external validation. Although having said that, wouldn’t you agree that it’s much more satisfaction and achievement when someone else praise you for the good you’ve done? At the personal level, we owe it to ourselves to do our own bodies, minds and souls good.
And so if you’ve stuck to the end of this post, here’s my reward for you! This is one amazing and touching short film that I had watched some time ago and its theme is pretty recurrent. Have a look at it and share with me what you think!