Sometime it helps to change the way you think about something.
Get out of your usual way of thinking. Change up how you usually approach doing better or being better.
When I have trouble changing what I do, I try to change how I think about it. That makes things easier.
What makes it funnier is if I call them Jedi Mind Tricks. I’d slap on some green facepaint, pointy ears and a cloak, but it’s not Casual Friday yet.
Read on for 3 Jedi Mind Tricks To Make Better Choices.
PROBLEM? OR SOLUTION? What helps me if I go super-binary. No grey-areas, just black and white: I think of my actions as either problems or solutions.
Is what I am about to do a solution to something? Or is this behavior actually creating another (potential) problem?
For example, going to yoga is a Solution, drinking green juice is a Solution and eating a salad for lunch is a Solution. These are all solutions to the ‘problem’ of being healthy. Doing these things makes feeling healthy easier. That’s why they’re Solutions.
A good example of a Problem would be procrastinating. Instead of grabbing a to-do list and a cup of coffee (which is a Solution) you actually create a problem: You are putting off work that you now have to do later, possibly at an even more inconvenient time.
More Solution Behaviors? Meditating, because it makes focusing easier. Planning me-time, because it’s a solution to being overwhelmed and anxious. Setting dates with Manfriend, because it’s a solution to growing apart. Making regular dentist appointments, because it’s a solution to having dentures by the ripe old age of 28.
I was having trouble with showing up to yoga and then I thought to myself: If I don’t go tonight, I’m creating (more of) a Problem. It will make it even harder to go tomorrow. I will get guilt-ridden and weird. This is a Problem. But if I go right now, I am offering a Solution to the ‘problem’ of going to yoga. And so I went.
Procrastinating is creating a Problem in terms of stress and workload. Overdosing on coffee creates a Problem because you get all antsy and shaky at the end of the day. Not sleeping all night creates a Problem when you fall asleep behind the wheel the next morning and kill a bus full of nuns.
You get the picture.
Next time you’re about to do something, take a moment: Is what you’re about to do a Solution to something? Making stuff better? Then go ahead.
Is what you’re doing creating a Problem? Making things worse either right now or later, either maybe or definitely? Maybe rethink it.
GAIN A POINT/LOSE A POINT. It can also help to look at it on basic scoreboard level.
Is this behavior that would make you want to give yourself a point on the scoreboard? Or would you deduct points off of your score if you were the judge?
Showing up in the gym is a +1, while slacking off for the third night in a row might be a -1. Cooking a good hearty meal for you and your loved ones is a +1, while having Doritos and bubblegum for dinner might be a -1.
Please note: I do not recommend this strategy for dietary choices unless you are able to allow yourself a few deductions here and there. I don’t believe in being too restrictive. But I like the point system because I do believe you should try to award yourself as many points as possible, aka do all the things for yourself that make you feel good.
I also do not decide for you what you think what behavior gains or loses a point. For me, not working out can be a +1 as well as -1: It just depends on the situation.
But look at your choices before you make them. Is the behavior adding points or subtracting points? Make it a game. Make yourself level up as often as you can.
WOULD YOUR BEST FRIEND ENCOURAGE OR DISCOURAGE YOU TO DO IT? My best friend and I usually text each other before we do something stupid. If it’s the kind of stupid that’s fun or funny, we’ll go “YES.” However, if the stupid thing is actually stupid-stupid, we’ll veto it for eachother. She has saved me and I have saved her from some dumbass moves.
In the same way, I know she wants the best for me. And if I would ask her before I do something, she would always tell me what I should or shouldn’t do. I know she would encourage me to do the right things, and she would discourage me when it comes to lesser choices.
So if I am wondering what to do, I wonder if I would get encouragement or discouragement about something. That usually tells me a lot.
She would encourage me to just go to a yoga class. She would discourage me from dissing someone on Twitter. She would encourage me to write. She would discourage me from spending time with people I don’t like. She would encourage me to try a new form of fitness. She would discourage me to day drink (unless it’s with her.)
So try it! When you are thinking about your day and what you want to do, think about what support or advice you would get from your best friend (or your mother, father, anyone you’re really close with who wants the best for you)?
Sometimes it’s good to let the love and support of the people around us guide us more than usual, especially when you’re feeling a little down about yourself.
See if you like it to change your way of thinking for a day. Think Solution versus Problem, Bonus Point versus Dedution Point, or WWMBFFMMD (What Would My BFF Make Me Do.) Let me know how you fare this week.