In today's modern world we can easily become unappreciative and take everyday luxuries for granted. Without realising it we can fall into an undisciplined mind-set whilst following a comfortable routine. It's so easy to follow an 'easy life' pattern and not give thought to how our routine and attitude can effect our minds in such a negative way.
The purpose of this post is to help shake us out of any robotic thinking or habits and to discover more of what we are in fact capable of. I have personally found one of the best ways to achieve this is to set unusual and maybe uncomfortable daily goals to push myself into thinking differently and applying self-discipline in various areas of life...
Ultimately the goal is to win over your mind and to gain more control, instead of giving in to your 'old mind' and taking the easy, more comfortable route out - whatever that may be.
So are you up for the challenge? Could you push yourself and just see what you can achieve?! Here are a few suggestions:
Could you do any of these?*
Have just cold showers for a month (in the winter).
Do 100 push ups (every day) for a month.
Only drink water for a month.
Don't watch TV for a month.
Don't use any social media for a month.
These are all things that would put most of us outside of our comfort zone aren't they? And it would take real mindful effort to stick to them! It is that mindful effort that will help us realise what our minds are capable of, and what other routes there are available. As a result we will start to create new neural pathways within our brains that take us away from old thinking patterns.
You might be thinking "I don't really need to do this", or "I'm quite happy as I am, I don't see the point of it"... Well, that could be your brain telling you to stay comfortable and dismiss this as "unnecessary" or "pointless". Because you have a choice (*you probably have hot water, you likely have a TV and you surely have a variety of drinks available other than water) it's common to choose the path most comfortable in day to day life, the path that requires less work and that is more familiar.
When you push yourself to do something that is out of your comfort zone or inconvenient for you, it teaches real self-discipline and helps you become more mindful in life. It helps you snap out of doing the same old things day in and day out. It changes your habitual routine, to make you think differently, to act on things differently, and forces you to appreciate things more. There IS a point to doing these sorts of things... And it doesn't have to be from the list above, you can choose something (anything!) that you think will help you personally. Just make sure whatever you choose it's something you really don't want to do. And if you're avoiding one of the suggestions from the list above - then maybe that's the one for you!
Once you've set yourself the challenge, remember to stay positive and focused on the challenge and remember your mind will always quit BEFORE your body will. I remember when I was half way through doing 1 month of cold showers (in January) and I thought to myself - "Why am I doing this? Does it really matter if I just have a hot shower today. I really need one." That was the key moment for me in the challenge. My mind had started questioning why I had decided to do this in the first place and tried to convince me to stop. That's was normal - because cold showers aren't very nice during the peak of winter. I had to take back control though and remind myself the purpose of all this. It's important to realise that those kind of moments can make or break you in your mental journey within the challenges.
The main one from the list above that I’d like everyone reading this to try, is "Don't use any social media for a month." So that would mean deleting the apps from your phones for 1 month and not checking them on any other desktop computer or device.
These social media sites include: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat.. & any others...
Now let's be real and honest with ourselves... Every time we look down into our phone screens to check social media we miss something happening in real life, in real time.. right now. We lose the moment - and for what? Usually for pointlessly scrolling through other peoples lives in return for missing out on the moment in our own.
I'm not saying to never use social media again... Of course not. I use it myself and it does have it's good points for sure! It can provide education, it can give you information on subjects that interest you, it can make you laugh, it can make you smile, it can inspire you... but it can also consume you without you really realising it. So if you cut it out of your life for a month you might realise how much you do use it, or how it has been effecting you negatively.. or maybe not. Maybe you'll be the same with or without it. But there's only one way to find out - and that's to stop using it altogether for an extended period of time.
I’ve done this many times before and it’s great! Without the apps on your phone your finger habits of just "quickly" clicking on Instagram to "check the timeline or feed" are broken, and you realise you have more time on your hands... You start to fill the time you’d be checking social media with much better and more useful things! Your thoughts become much clearer and you feel more in control.
Give it a go.
Whilst you are enduring whatever challenge you set yourself, try and concentrate on your thoughts, observing them without judgement. Be peaceful & calm with yourself and make the most of simple acts and routine tasks each day. For example, making a cup of tea or washing the dishes. The more you stay focused on the present moment and the more you start making mindful decisions for yourself - instead of letting your default thinking pattern make those decisions for you - the more you will become in control of yourself.
Remember - the goal is to take ownership and to gain a better appreciation for what we have. Ultimately a stronger mind-set will be the result of the self-discipline you action.
Let me know how you get on! Drop me an email or comment below.
Thanks for reading!