May 29, 2015

It is incredible how the simplest actions often make the biggest differences.  Sometimes the most effective way to transform your daily experience is to start with tiny changes.  Here are a few that we find useful.  You will be amazed at the changes that follow.


1. Make your bed

You will be shocked by the impact this simple act has on your day.  It is actually certified by a Navy Seal Commander, who recently implored graduates at the University of Texas to begin the day with this one seemingly menial act.  The genius of this easy habit is twofold:  you begin the day with a small and simple success, and you create a sense of organization.  We underestimate the effect an appearance of organization has on our inner psychology.  Our minds respond to our environments, and by giving your mind an image of order, you train it to respond in kind.  Our mental state mimics its surroundings, so begin with a demonstration of accomplishment, and a fulfilled and productive day will follow.

2. Drink water

Water is the best antidote to almost every ailment.  It’s easy to forget this quick and easy remedy to feeling sluggish or tired.  Often even the pervasive afflictions that ruin your day, like chronic low-grade headaches, can be easily cured with a glass or two of water.  Because we don’t realize how dehydrated we often are, it’s easy to forget to replenish this vital source of well-being.  The human body is 60% water, so to ignore the compound that makes up more than half of the body will inevitably lead to discomfort.  According to the Institute of Medicine, ideal water consumption for men is 13 cups, and for women 9 cups.  Extra bonus is how incredibly luminous your skin will look when you are hydrated.  No costly cosmetic product will give you this natural and undeniable glow.

3. Do one thing at a time

Give up multitasking.  Or rather the attempt to multitask.  It is a huge waste of time.  Neuroscientists have recently come to the conclusion that multitasking is a total delusion.  This means that when we think we are getting five things done at once, we are actually just wasting valuable mental resources jumping from one task to the next and back again.  The brain has a finite amount of glucose, that we can distribute among activities as we wish.  But every time we transfer our attention from one thing to another, we are expending that resource.  The more frequently we divert our attention, the less glucose we have with which to actually complete tasks and perform at our greatest capacity.  In order to be productive, it turns out, and maintain high mental alertness, we have to give up this desire to multi-task.  Disconnect your phone, close your email, and focus on one thing at a time.  You will be surprised how much more you get done, and how much more energized you still are at the end of it.

4. Own less stuff

Minimalism is gaining popularity for good reason.  In the same way that we waste valuable mental resources moving from topic to topic to topic, we expend glucose making unnecessary decisions.  Psychologists have found through extensive studies that the brain only has the capacity to make a finite number of good, well-thought out decisions in a day.  This means that if we spend the morning making menial choices (which shoes to wear, what blouse matches what pants, whether to have yogurt or granola for breakfast, almond or vanilla flavored coffee) by the time we get to significant decisions later in the day, our mental energy has already been depleted, and our capacity to make good, conscientious decisions has significantly diminished.  What this means is that the less you have, and the fewer options you give yourselves at home and in your private life, the better you will perform at your job.  It has been shown that the most successful people wear a similar outfit every day.  This is because they are not wasting energy sorting out menial, inconsequential options.  Instead, they maintain their mental reserves and perform at full speed throughout the day.

5. Start your day with a positive affirmation

Positive affirmations sound so cheesy, we know.  But they are an incredibly powerful tool for changing your perspective and, as a result, changing your the course of your day.  The Buddha said “what you think, you become.”  Our minds become programmed early on by the messages we receive, which the brain then begins to recycle and regurgitate.  We absorb this information, and it becomes a seminal part of our self-identity.  For many of us, however, these messages are not self-serving.  Rather, they are self-defeating.  Fortunately, it turns out that the mind can be re-programmed.  This means that you can begin to pay attention and notice the messages that are not serving you well.  You can then replace these with useful and affirming messages that will become reflected in your behavior and in the way others see you.  You will not believe how differently others respond to you once you start re-programming your idea of yourself.  Every morning, begin by writing down one simple line that you want to guide your day.  Then watch, through the day, as this affirmation begins to manifest itself through you.