Sunday, July 31, 2016

Brain Workout

One of the habits I restored recently is workout. I love doing pushups and pullups, feeling the breath going in and out and taking a cold shower in the end. I also started focusing more on what is important for me and spending less time on facebook and other social media websites. What I discovered though is that the way we build our muscles and make a strong body works the same way it works for the mind.

I was always wondering why creating a new habit and sticking to it makes me be more effective in other habits. When I discontinue old habits, I also discontinue the other habits I developed successfully. My theory is that being lazy makes your brain lose its control over other things too. To preserve brain in a 'good shape' it's important to make a 'brain workout'. Otherwise it turns into the old animal machine needing only food, sex and instant satisfaction available just few clicks away.
I have to admit, it's not really easy. I failed a lot. However, I have a few tricks that help me deal with it and continue making my brain fit and strong.

1. Do it small

Don't try to be productive from tomorrow and start a new life. That doesn't work. Starting something new scary as hell for your brain. Brain wants something you are used to. Our brain didn't develop much for hundred thousands of years and your brain still thinks that you are not conforming the rules of your tribe and trying to invent something new. It's like running out of your cave and saying I'll just hunt that animal alone. Therefore, you better not run, but walk slowly. Your brain will just say "ok, this is just a small step, it won't hurt me". Take these steps slowly and reach to the next cave. Probably you will discover awesome people and some animals.
Whatever you want to start, be it reading more, starting new blog, creating new website or learning new language, just make it for 5 minutes and no more. Most of the time you won't enjoy it. Therefore, 5 minutes won't hurt. Next day make it for 6 minutes and so on. Continue improving. Most probably you will start enjoying it.

2. Create a reward system

Ok, now your brain sees that you are smart. But, what if it doesn't enjoy new activity? That's right, we need to create a reward system. Practiced new language skills for 5 minutes? Let's have a good cup of coffee! Did more than 5 minutes? I deserve doughnuts, you bitch! As much as you bring something useful, reward yourself. Let yourself enjoy it.

3. Don't overdo

Useless to say, working on something for a lot of time, will make you just feel tired and exhausted. Be sure to limit the time you spend on your habits, even if you're fucking enjoying it. The cons of overdoing are extreme and maybe you won't develop anything in the end and just hate whatever you were doing. Hence, relax.

4. Stay focused

Be sure to maximize your potential. If you need a laptop for your new habit, close all the useless windows. Don't play music if you don't need it. Use time tracking and website blocking apps such as RescueTime and SelfRestraint. If you are in a house with other folks doing crazy things, let them know that you will be busy for some minutes/hours, so no one distracts you.
It's easier to control your environment than to control yourself. Taming your brain is not a piece of cake. Tame your environment.

5. Cheat

Ok, so now you have created a new habit. Then one day comes and you are sooooo tired after daytime job/cooking/eating/drinking/fucking that you can't do it today. Ok, no problem. Just tell your brain you are in a vacation for today and you will continue tomorrow. Be true to yourself, don't lie, but make sure you will continue it tomorrow whatever happens and however you feel. Cheating helps a lot not to be discouraged in whatever you want to accomplish in the long run. Also don't overdo "cheating". You can use it only once in a week.

These are my 5 tips that I practice everyday and I hope they will be useful for you too. Maybe I forgot something to mention, but I really wanted to share it with you now. If you have any more cool ideas, please comment below.

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