Here’s the problem when it comes to chasing your dreams: the results you experience today have very little to do with what you did today!
Let me explain.
We all know that when you work out you don’t experience instant results. It takes months or years to finally get your “dream body.”
The body which you have today is not a product of the food you eat today. The most gorgeous model could eat the most horrendous of foods yet still appear stunning.
It is those things which were done day by day over the course of months that create exactly what you experience today.
Those that ate healthy and worked out will enjoy a body abundant with energy, whereas those on the opposite end will be victim to lethargy and pain.
The PROBLEM here is the primal part of the brain. When you do something (like eat bad food) your brain instantly gives you a reward of dopamine, which makes it more likely you will solidify this behavior.
We all know what we should be doing, but actually doing it is… hard. Short-term pleasure tries to take over and sabotage the beauty of what could be.
Here’s a few things I’ve learned over the years that help with staying on track:
First, have a reward after your desired action! I have decided not to eat anything until I finish the hardest part of my work for the day.
Crazy? Yes, by most standards. But I quickly observed how my brain is making me extremely excited for the morning & hard work. My brain has associated the primal pleasure of eating food (especially when quite hungry) with completing the hardest part of my work.
Now I have tricked my brain because I’ve created a system that gives me both short-term AND long-term pleasure for a certain action. This is easy to do.
All you have to do is set a trigger (first thing in the morning is best), set an action (ie. working out, doing sales, whatever), and then give yourself a reward (coffee, food, YouTube, even a little treat is okay).
Second, visualizations + affirmations keep you focused on long-term. Your primal brain can’t distinguish well between reality and visualization.
If you can get into the habit of visualizing your desired reality, your brain will release feel-good chemicals allowing you to do the very hard thing you need to do.
Every morning and night I’ve been repeating various affirmations, and I’ve noticed that it’s becoming increasingly easy to work longer hours with less stimulation.
Finally, make it a challenge. I turn on a stopwatch when I decide to enter a period of “deep work.” I log the results on an excel file.
This week I’ve already worked twice as long as the last week because of this alone. Combined with the above habits I’ve cultivated, I’m starting to enjoy longer periods of reduced stimulation and work.
Now the thought of the “pomodoro technique” (28 minutes work, a few minutes free) sounds ridiculous to me because I can focus for at least 1-2 hours straight at a time. And when I say focus, I mean FOCUS.
My ability to focus went from a mere 20-30 minutes to around 2 hours, and I’m able to repeat this and enter “flow” for about 4 hours per day and now on some days upwards of 6-8 hours.
Keep in mind here I say FLOW, which is deep, immense work- not distracted, social media, derpy work which 96% of the population is doing.
Alright so that’s all.
In short, long-term success can be difficult because the results you get are the effects of actions taken over long periods of time which aren’t experienced instantly.
In order to combat this we cultivate habits by giving short-term rewards for difficult actions, visualize our end goal clearly to inspire us, and then challenge ourselves to work longer and harder without stimulation until it becomes a normal daily routine.
If this post helped you, let me know so I can make more like this!