Photo by Nadine Primeau
I felt that I had to pay attention to my attention, that I had to focus on my focus. It was new. It wasn’t something I’d had to think about since I was a kid.(c) Mark Manson
What you consume starts the process of creating your new identity and long-lasting life changes.
Welcome to part 4 of a 5 part series. I’m helping ambitious people use health and fitness, to do exactly what they need, to live a better life. Nothing more, less is best.
If you are new, I highly suggest going back and reading part 1 of this to give you the full effect.
In my last post “The Be-Do-Have Identity Software Upgrade” (I highly suggest reading that here before moving ahead) I spoke a lot about changing your daily habits and micro-decisions. Unfortunately, that is quite hard to do. As with most things in your life, your brain is usually on autopilot. This is neither good or bad. It’s just how we are wired. How we work with that is where the gains are had.
Below are actionable tasks that shine awareness of what your senses are consuming.
Actionable Tasks Moving Forward
Step 1 – Audit
- Do an audit and just become aware. Write stuff down, take photos, videos, or record audio messages. Anything will work as long as you are aware and have a point of reference. No need to do anything else at this point. Just be aware.
- Become mindful of your subconscious thoughts – Ask yourself if the person you want to become saw you doing this thing, would they approve or disapprove of the imminent action?
- Audit who is in your inner circle of family, friends, and co-workers that you interact with on a daily basis
- Take account of everything that your body and mind consume on a daily or even hourly basis. Think about things like what you read, watch, and listen to.
- Think about the people you are around, who you are talking to and what they are saying.
- Last, be mindful of what is being said around you as you most probably mimic similar thoughts and words. These slowly enter your subconscious and passive brain which in turn influence your micro thoughts and actions. All without you knowing it.
Step 2 – Move Forward
Feel free to do one or all of the below – They are in order of easy to difficult;
- Read and listen to positive and productive shit (like my podcast, blog posts, and music #ShamelessPlug)
- Cleanse your friends. You should have identified this in your audit from step 1. Basically just get rid of the dead weight that’s holding you down. Easier said than done, but you know who they are.
- Journal or write in your diary on a regular basis.
Example – I personally use the app Grid Diary and I have a set of 5 things that I write every morning and evening so I’m already prompted. The last “question/topic” is always a free-flowing question so if I wanted to go on a rant I could.
Example – “Random thoughts or what did someone do today for me”. It’s a dash of awareness with a sprinkle of gratitude which makes a mindful cake.
- Create and say real affirmations/mantras that are anchored to real tangible things that you have seen actually happen.
Example – I remind myself that I’m smart and I work hard and then I attach that to something that I’ve done recently where I felt a bit clever and was proud of myself for powering through it when most people tap out. While “The Secret” movie is a great example of positive affirmations and desired outcomes, without previous action or evidence it’s hard for it to not just be a “dream. From my experience and research, I’ve found that no actions attached make it difficult to stay focused in the long term and keep moving forward.
- Mindfulness – Being fully present and aware of “the now”. This is easy in theory, somewhat hard in practice.
Example – You go the beach to do work. I’m not saying don’t do this, but it’s easy to get caught up in one thing and forget about the other. Most people are thinking about 5 things at once or have anxiety (which can also be disguised for fear of your future). Try to just be aware for a short amount of time of your surroundings and go deep and narrow.
If you are at the beach, think about how it makes all of your senses feel, how you feel emotionally, any feelings that you had in the beginning, middle and end and how they’ve changed. This is a way to anchor yourself in practice. It’s a very powerful tool for later on when “life happens” and you have negative emotions. You can then be aware of them, observe them and put them in a space to not react to them.
- Meditation – This may be a bit much for some/a lot of people but it is getting more mainstream and easier to start.
There are many ways to meditate and I’m going to assume most people do the “quick, easy, and guided” version of it. This is fine. I started there and think they are beautiful. If you are setting time aside and “meditating” then you are doing it correctly. But like most things, always question “Am I getting the most out of it by doing the right work?”
Start with a website/tutorial, then move on to an App (Headspace, Calm, or Sam Harris Waking Up are great ones but cost money), then look to get into it with a meditation teacher, your local Buddhist group, or yoga instructor.
“Change is unpleasant because you’re stepping outside of yourself, challenging preconceived notions, going against your better assumptions. It’s not fun.”Mark Manson
Step 3 – The Journey is the Destination
It can be a long journey to truly becoming the person you want and it most likely won’t happen tomorrow, next week, or even next month. Mark Manson summed it up well, “Real change is unpleasant for the simple reason that you’re stepping outside of yourself, challenging preconceived notions, going against your better assumptions and emotions. It’s not fun. In fact, it often sucks.”
It took me a solid 4 months before I became aware that my subconscious thoughts were actually of the person I wanted to be. I caught myself subconsciously saying “Hey, that’s not something the future Daren I want to be would do. So don’t do that man.” I’ve personally still got a lot of work to do but I’m getting better each day with consistency, which is the secret sauce.
What are some things you audited out of your life that was dead weight? What are some tasks that moved you forward and gave you a glimpse of progress? Feel free to comment below.
I really want to help people properly transform and I have a lot of experience doing this with myself and others. Hit me up (link to coaching site) if you want a free consultation on creating a mentally and physically fit version you.
BONUS: Read more about focus, attention and distraction here. Mark Manson (as he always does) carefully deconstructs in a very entertaining and informative way why our attention is being assaulted by everything from technology to friends and over commitments.