3 Mindset Tips For Getting Stuff Done
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Do you ever wish you had more motivation? That you could just decide to do something and then go and do it?
You’re not alone. I think all of us self sabotage in some form, and struggle to get motivated to make any kind of changes in our lives.
And why is it that a lot of this resistance seems to make itself known at the start of a New Year? or a new project or a new goal? So annoying!
I’ve done a lot of work around mindset these last few years – from training in NLP and CBT to reading lots of self help and Psychology books and then putting tips into practice in my own life and those of my clients. I’ve learned a few mindset tips for getting stuff done and making positive changes in your life, but before we get into those there’s something you need to understand – your brain is lazy!
Our brain is basically designed to keep us safe and alive.
Change (even when our logical mind knows it’s very safe) triggers a false alarm in our brains systems that is supposed to protect us from harm.
Our brain perceives change (new habit, new goals, any form of change) as danger or hamful. So we subconsciously sabotage ourselves by doing anything that will completely remove or hinder the perceived danger.
The self-sabotage could show up in the form of perfectionism, procrastination, negative self-talk, indecision, overthinking, overplanning (trying to ensure 100% certainty before taking action), self-doubt (I’m not capable of pulling this through, I’ve done it before and failed..), excuses (to avoid the consequences of failing)
Sometimes this behaviours links back to previous experiences we’ve had, often during childhood or experiences we picked up or internalized.
Sometimes it’s simply because changing something feels like stepping off a well trodden path into a deeply wooded forest, it’s new territory, and to create a new path you’re going to have to clear all that overgrowth. This is the resistance we’re all faced with when we decide to do something differently.
But there are ways you can go under your brains safety radar, here are a few mindset tips for getting stuff done you can use in your own life.
3 Mindset Tips For Getting Stuff Done
1. Use the 5 Second Rule
This is a technique coined by Mel Robbins. She suggests that our brains will talk us out of things very quickly if we don’t act faster than they do. She says we have a 5 second window in which we can act before our brain derails us. In her example, it’s hitting the snooze button. She counts backwards from 5 to 1 whenever she needs to do something where she’s experienced resistance before.
- For you,
- it might be getting those trainers on to go for a run.
- It might be making the decision to workout (at home or at the gym),
- it might me going to the shops to get some vegetables to make a decent meal instead of having junks (again),
- it might be picking up the book you’ve always wanted to read, or completing the article you were working on instead of Netflix,
- it might picking up your phone and making that call or messaging the friend you haven’t spoken with in a long time.
So next the time you’re about to make a decision to do something where you’ve faced resistance in the past, think of the 5 second rule. Don’t let yourself think, just count yourself down and do it!
2. Micro Actions
Especially at this time of year it feels like we should all be taking massive actions to ‘better ourselves’.
The problem with this is that we’ll often self sabotage because those big actions trigger our brains to think we’re doing something that isn’t safe.
The way to get under your brains radar is to adopt a micro action approach.
Instead of trying to do it all, breaking your goals down into much smaller tasks or actions. I talk about how to break your big goals into small chunks in this post.
You can also try the One Hour a day goal setting strategy.
This means that you might make slower but actual progress instead of one step forward and two steps back that you get when self sabotage kicks in.
3. Have a ‘better than nothing’ attitude
A lot of use the All or Nothing mindset to sabotage and keep ourselves from taking action.
We think “I either have it all, or I have nothing,” “I’m either all in or all out.” For somebody with an all or nothing mindset (like I used to be), there are no gray areas. No middle points. Everything is black or white. “I’m either a success or I’m a failure.” We see things with the “either or” mindset, no “ands.”
When we start to see our goals in a ‘better than nothing’ mindset, we can connect more easily to the process of reaching the goal (even when we are visibly failing) instead of feeling like a failure and quitting as a result.
For example, if we might set a goal to exercise 3 times a week:
With the all or nothing mindset, we will feel like crap and failure when we don’t hit that goal (even if we skipped a day). We’ll rather quit it altogether and wait till the next new week or new month to start afresh.
But with the better than nothing mindset, we will understand that working out for 2 days out of 3 is a great achievement and it’s better than not working out at all. We will count the skipped day not as a damning failure, but a sign that we are at the least making an effort. So rather than quit and wait for a new week to start a perfect streak, we just continue.
The all or nothing mindset, perfectionism etc often makes us feel bad, ashamed of ourselves and progress and feel like a failure. This can set us up in a vicious circle where we keep striving for perfection, ignoring our little efforts and how they are adding up until we stress ourselves to the point where we end up just not bothering or pursuing any goal.
I hope those three tips have given you something to think about and to put into practice in your own life!
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Do you feel resistance when you try and make a change? How do you feel about motivation? Is it something you’ve struggled with?