How You Can Train Your Brain to Work in Your Favor Not Against You; It’s Time to be Proud of Yourself
Recently, I started the habit of hitting the gym and eating healthy food. Just to give you a reality check, going to the gym and eating healthy food is neither fun nor as enjoyable as people on social media portray it to be.
I decided to hit the gym daily because I was sick of being overweight and growing into an unknown shape that I don’t even like looking at.
Although this might sound really cool, the reality is I am a big food lover and in the past whenever I decided to go to the gym or switch to a healthy diet, I was never successful. I used to start with full zest but within a week, back to my comfortable pajama with a pizza in hand.
However, this time I really wanted to change so I first decided to TRAIN the mind that plays tricks on me and holds me back from achieving my target.
I am a little proud to say that it’s been 24 days since I have been going to the Gym and walking 10,000 steps every single day.
The question is HOW DID I TRAIN THE MIND TO WORK IN MY FAVOR, right? So, let’s get into it;
The first thing that you need to understand is that your brain is a lazy ass and it doesn’t like to work hard, especially on new things. This is the only reason why you end up giving up on anything new.
Hence, whenever you try to build a new habit, your brain tries to give you every possible reason why you shouldn’t be working on it. For example, This time when I decided to hit the gym, I was immediately reminded of all the times when I quit the gym previously. As soon as I remembered the previous time, I started thinking ‘What if I QUIT this time too?
If this sounds familiar to you, let me tell you, YOU are not ALONE.
Your mind has taken over you, it has become your boss and now you don’t give instructions to your brain but rather your brain makes you do whatever it wants.
How You Can Train Your Brain to Work in Your Favor Not Against You
1. Claim Your Power Back:
The first step, hence, is to take back your POWER. Claim your power back and become the boss of the brain instead of becoming its servant.
How do you do that?
You can become the boss of your brain by using it as a tool without becoming its tool.
Let me simplify it for you:
The mind is one of the most powerful instruments if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.
Mind is more or less like any other tool that you should use when you need it and when you don’t, switch it off. For example: When you need to send a message to someone, you pick up your phone and send the message then keep your phone aside. Similarly, when you are doing some work that requires mental energy, use your mind and then keep it shut so that it doesn’t create endless suffering for you.
To put it more accurately, it is not so much that you use your mind wrongly- you usually don’t use it at all. It uses you. This is the disease. You believe that you are your mind. This is a delusion. The instrument has taken over you.
One of the most common proofs of how your mind uses you is through analyzing your thoughts randomly at any time and you will realize that your mind is creating imaginary past and future scenarios. Your mind is constantly thinking about something. Either your mind is thinking about the past on how you could make it better or your mind thinks about the future.
Now either the imaginary future is good or bad as per your mind. If your imagination about the future is bad, you feel sad, anxious, tense, and suffer without any cause. However, if the future is good, you feel happy without any actual reason while skipping the present moment. This happiness shatters when your imaginary future doesn’t match your reality.
Now, once you start getting your power back and realize how you were trapped in this whole thinking process, it’s time to take action to become mentally strong enough to not fall back into that pity trap.
2. Prove Your Brain You’re In Power:
You must have noticed that when it comes to building a great habit, you constantly struggle. Even when you apply all the techniques, you cannot seem to enjoy the process, hence you leave it in between. Whereas habits that are bad for you are contagious. You think of using social media just for 10 minutes but you find yourself laughing at a random meme 1 hour later on the same social media.
The question is WHY?
Well, as per my experience, it happens because of two reasons:
- Dopamine (will talk about it next)
- You have never done hard things
Now, we are going to talk about dopamine next but let’s first understand why is it that you always find a solid reason not to do what’s good for you.
For example: When I decided to walk 10,000 steps and workout every day, I struggled so much that I used to make excuses like, Opps, I woke up late so I cannot do a workout now or I have a lot of work in my list so I will workout extra tomorrow. While at the same time, I somehow always manage to watch Netflix or Instagram in between work or till late night.
According to me, the sole reason behind this is that your brain doesn’t like to do hard things nor you are addicted to your growth. We, humans, love comfort, don’t we? Netflix over hard work, blanket over hitting the gym, social media over books, and so on. But what’s wrong with this? I mean, humans are designed to find comfort and security so why should we even think of something that’s out of our comfort zone?
Well, the only reason I know is ‘if you keep doing what your mind finds comfortable, you will become a slave of your mind.’
I challenge you to do something that’s beyond your comfort zone but is extremely important for our growth. Something that you have been putting off for XYZ reasons, something that can make you the strongest version of yourself.
For example: When I don’t feel like going to the gym, I don’t go, But when I find myself making illogical excuses and how my mind is trying to find comfort over growth, I challenge myself to spend an extra 20 minutes in the gym.
When I ditch my mind and do exactly the opposite of what my mind wants me to do, I cannot express in words how proud I feel of myself. I feel as if I have accomplished myself as if I am ready to win any battle, and as if I CAN DO ANYTHING I SET MY MIND ON.
So, I challenge you to do the same. If it’s study time but your brain is making excuses unconsciously then take the lead and prove to your brain that YOU ARE A BADASS & IT’S YOU WHO IS IN THE POWER.
If you can go beyond your brain, observe how your mind plays tricks on you, and then you overcome all of it then there is absolutely nothing and no one that can stop you from achieving what you set your mind on.
Have you ever wondered why you are not able to get rid of your social media addiction? And why even after trying really hard, you don’t find books interesting?
Well, the reason behind all your bad habits and addiction is DOPAMINE.
In our brain, there are certain kinds of neurotransmitters and one of them is Dopamine. Every time you do an activity, a certain amount of dopamine is released into your brain. Activities like gambling, scrolling on social media, parties, drinks, and the like release higher dopamine than activities like reading books, going to the gym, eating healthy food, or the like.
For example, the University of North Carolina conducted a study on mice and found that mice became addicted to dopamine so much that after the scientists stopped giving them dopamine, they gave up walking, and eating altogether as they weren’t enjoying anything else.
Well, similar is the case with us. Once we do higher dopamine activities, we find it absolutely impossible or hard to focus on lower dopamine activities. Perhaps, this is the reason why your parents and teachers restrict you from playing and watching TV during exams. Because when you spend even just one hour watching TV, your brain will find it absolutely boring to study and you will want to go back to watching TV again and again.
So, what’s the solution to it?
Well, you and I are different. Hence, as per our experiences and preferences, higher dopamine activities would be different for both of us.
In such a case, if you really want to build good habits and use your brain in your favor then,
- Find out what’s higher dopamine activity for you. Take a day or two to analyze what keeps you so excited and engulfed that you forget about other important work.
- Eliminating higher dopamine activity completely is a little impossible at first. Hence, try to do lower dopamine activity first like studying, working, or anything else that brings you closer to your goals.
- You can do higher dopamine activities after your work is done. In fact, to keep your brain motivated, you can use higher dopamine activities to reward yourself after all your work is done. This way you wouldn’t be wasting your time and energy on higher dopamine first and you will also feel motivated to work on lower dopamine activities aka important tasks.
These techniques are used by me first in my own life and I still use them whenever I need to build a good habit or eliminate the bad one. Although, all of this may sound practical and motivating at first, what you need to remember is that you have been used by your brain for your entire life. Hence, you have to be really focused and dedicated so that your brain doesn’t come back in power and make you and your life miserable. It’s the time when you take the matter in your hand and make it BIG in life.
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