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Think – Day 6 – The self-efficacy-generating machine

Today we need to revisit the power of small.

Even just the thought of carving out 15 or 20 minutes to just SIT and DO NOTHING is quite often overwhelming to us in our busy states.

We already want to exercise, eat healthy, and all the other small habits of self-care, like affirmations, writing, reading, etc.

Sometimes the sheer overwhelm of trying do all those things can be just too tiring on the mind…and we get sucked right into the busy-ness of the day without doing ANY of those things.

Most people who attempt to meditate are often pulled strongly away from it by all the ‘stuff to do’ thoughts scrambling busily through the corridors of the mind.

Sitting still doing nothing goes against the stimulation, movement, action, results, and outcomes that our bodies and minds crave.

Even with the habit of meditating daily I still come up against this challenging pull often!

When there are tasks to be done the mind will do ANYTHING POSSIBLE to resist just sitting there.

The mind wants to act and complete ‘that thing’!

It takes discipline and willpower to NOT do what we think we have to do, and just sit…doing nothing.

This is where SMALL goals are so amazingly effective

We have a limited supply of willpower each day, so we need to use it wisely.

The fantastic book ‘Mini-habits’ by Stephen Guise gives such clear direction on this topic:

The brain resists big changes.  Mini habits are low-willpower Trojan horses that can leverage their easy access into the brain’s control room into big results.”  – Stephen Guise (Mini-Habits)

I have mentioned setting your minimum meditation goal at ONE minute this month.

I know, sounds ridiculous right?!  How is ONE MINUTE of meditation going to do any good for us?

It takes VERY LITTLE willpower and mental energy to decide to sit for one minute.

But committing yourself to sit still for 15 minutes requires EXPONENTIALLY more willpower.

Well, one minute per day may not have a huge impact by itself.  But creating the habit of meditating daily gives you huge leverage power.

Once you have the habit, it’s like you’ve got your foot in the door.  It’s easy to pry open the door a little more…to increase up to two or three minutes and beyond.

But if you set your goal too big and it feels overwhelming at all, you likely won’t do it some days!

Then you get no habit at all!  And you have to work to pry the door open anew each time you attempt.

The importance of this principal cannot be over emphasized.

With no habit, you have nothing to build on.

The key is to set your goal so small that no matter how tired or out-of-touch you feel, you know you will keep the commitment daily.

And once you take action, and keep that commitment to your self, a host of benefits ensue.

Here are just a few:

1 – Once you start you will tend to continue.  It’s physics.  By simply starting, you enlist the powerful force of inertia which keeps things going.

2 – You feel better about yourself.

3 – Your self-efficacy and confidence are boosted.

“Mini Habits are a self-efficacy-generating machine.  Self-efficacy is your belief in your ability to influence an outcome.  Your daily successes will train you to have high self-efficacy.  Mini-habits double as training for believing in yourself.” – Stephen Guise

How can you not believe in your ability to sit and breathe for one minute per day?  You can do it right now easily before you finish this training.

And each time you do it, it strengthens your belief in your own ability to direct your life.

This benefit may even outweigh the direct benefit of the habit itself.

“Remember, your brain latches on to any repetition you throw at it.  So a problem many people develop is an expectation of failing to reach their goals.  Over time, this crushes their self-efficacy because it’s hard to believe that next time will be different”

“If you’ve been feeling hopeless, this is exactly what has happened to you.  But…you CAN do it.  I’m not being motivational;  I’m being logical.  You can literally make positive progress in your life. To think otherwise is irrational nonsense, and it comes from training yourself to believe you can’t.”

Mini habits are the perfect way to start over.  No longer will you be intimidated by massive goals.  No longer will you be attacked with feelings of guilt and inadequacy for falling short.”

“No, this time you’re going to be succeeding on a daily basis. The victories may be small, but one small victory to a defeated mind is a big victory.”  – Stephen Guise (Mini-Habits)

So make sure you make your absolute daily commitment to yourself so small that you KNOW you will keep it…one minute of meditation every day no matter what!

Then allow yourself to do 10 to 20 once you’re started as pure bonus!

Think – Day 7 – Rest day from email

Tomorrow you won’t get an email from me…but keep meditating!

It’s always a great day to practice mindfulness!

Make Today Amazing.