Motivation – Part 4 of 4

Train your brain as you train your body

This is the fourth part about motivation. In the first part we discussed what motivation really is. In the second part we discussed why habits are good. In the third part we looked into how you can help yourself to make good decisions. In this final part we will look into how you can train your brain by asking yourself better questions.

If you would say to someone “I want to get stronger legs, so I’m gonna go to the gym 3 times a week for 6 months and do squats” probably everyone would agree that is reasonable, because if we train our body over a period of time it will adapt and get stronger.

But what if you said to someone “I want a stronger brain, so I’m gonna ask better questions to myself, listen more to people, reflect and journal and also do some meditation” they will probably think that you are crazy.

But why?

If we our body can adapt and get stronger by the stimuli we put on in, why couldn’t the brain?

So in the same way we have a workout routine 3 times a week, shouldn’t we also spend some time for brain gains?

One difference is that it’s hard to measure. It’s easy to see that your 1 RM squat went from 100 kg to 200 kg. It’s harder to see that you have a stronger mind. Although if you give it time and are observant I think you might notice a difference in your mindset that hopefully are beneficial for you.

A nice way to start is to ask yourself better questions. A common question when setting goal is “What do I want to achieve?”

What if we instead asked ourselves “Who do I want to be?”

Instead having an ending, a destination which you have to reach, you give yourself a direction. A path to follow. Goals and dreams are good even though they can also be tricky. They can be something to work for and at the same time they can so easily turn into something that makes you unhappy or ungrateful for what you have or for how far you have come if you always want something more. They can create something that you want to achieve without even really knowing why instead of doing what you love because you love it.

To make this path more clear you can ask yourself “What abilities do I need to improve to be who I want to be?” and now you know where to start. Remember to remind yourself of this often, reward yourself for how far you have come and ask yourself if you are on the right path.

If this seems like a hard step to take you can use something called Consequence thinking by asking these four questions.

What can happen if you do this?

What can happen if you don’t do this?

What can’t happen if you do this?

What can’t happen if you don’t do this?

Let’s take training as an example.

What can happen if you do this?

You can get stronger, pain free, more healthy and in better shape and develop cool skills.

What can happen if you don’t do this?

You might get out of shape, get more and more lazy and maybe even get some sort of disease.

What can’t happen if you do this?

You will get less time for stuff like watching TV.

What can’t happen if you don’t do this?

Well, you won’t get stronger or in better shape or get those cool skills.

I like this way of thinking because it can use both fear and curiosity as a motivator, both are potent feelings to give you more reasons to act.

So now let’s say you are on the path towards where you want to go and you want to be the best version of yourself every day.

I mean, yeah, that’s great but it also sounds kinda hard, not to say impossible which puts a lot of pressure on yourself. Because the problem with this mindset is – You can always do a little bit better.

How about “I want to be a little bit better every day or at least not get worse”?

In this way you allow yourself to take small steps and still leave room for improvement and even more important – room to relax every now and then.

So now before you rush into the path that will lead you toward the future you – ask yourself “what is the easiest way I could do this and what is the hardest?”. Then go do either of that. But just as when you train your body, remember to have reasonable expectations, give it time and believe in yourself.

Thank you for reading and please send this to a friend that you think could benefit from reading this


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