Start the way you intend to continue

All the best intentions in the world come to nothing unless they are turned into action. So if you’re excited about making 2019 your best year, a few simple actions will set you up for success. Start the way you intend to continue with our 7 day mind workout.

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Day 1: Attention Booster

Attention is your most precious resource. When your attention is fit, your whole brain is healthy. But when you are lost in thought, distracted, or captured by busyness, your brain suffers and everything seems to get a bit harder.

Try this: Pay Full Price

Don’t short-change others or yourself today. Pay full price by giving your full attention to every person with whom you interact, every task you do, and every place you go. It might feel uncomfortable, but that means it’s giving your neurons a good workout!

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Day 2: Stress Buster

Stress is only good in small doses. You will gain focus in a short stressful situation, but your brain will suffer damage if you stay in a prolonged state of stress. This means it’s not so important to try avoiding all forms of stress, but it’s really important to not stay stressed.

Try this: Stress Timer

The moment you find yourself under stress today, set your smart phone to ring an alarm in 3 minutes. No matter what you are doing at that moment, take one deep breathe in and out, relaxing every part of your body as you breathe out. It will only take a few seconds, but make sure you connect your mind to feeling your muscles relax, which will actually help your neurons relax too. If you need to return to the stressful situation, set yourself another 3 minute timer. Continue this way until you are finished and can bring yourself permanently out of stress.

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Day 3: Resilience Booster

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity. It should be a natural attribute but in fact, it’s a “use it or lose it” skill. If you regularly face set-backs with a victim mentality, all you’re doing is avoiding reality and holding yourself back. If you take responsibility for the things you can change, and accept the things you can’t, your brain will stay flexible and you’ll have a spring in your step.

Try this: Complaint Free Day

Every time you spot yourself slipping into a complaint or a whinge (whether in thought or words) stop mid-sentence. Instead ask yourself “where will I focus my energy now?” and do something useful to move on.

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Day 4: Creativity Booster

Without stimulation and challenge, your brain experiences little growth and your life gets stuck in a rut. The brain needs to be regularly fed with fresh ideas, new perspectives and novel experiences if you want it to produce creativity and innovation.

Try this: Follow Your Nose

Today head off the well-worn path and follow your nose in a new direction. It might be literally heading down a new street, drinking at a new cafe, reading an article in a different part of the newspaper, listening to a different radio station, reading a book instead of watching TV, talking to someone on the bus instead of hiding behind the earphones. Whatever comes to mind that’s different today, just do it and let your brain feed on the stimulation.

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Day 5: Negativity Buster

What you focus on grows, so it’s not surprising that people who develop a habit of thinking, speaking or acting negatively just get better at it! But it’s not a good habit because negative mindsets are strongly linked to many undesirable outcomes including anger, sadness, hopelessness, anxiety and depression.

Try this: 3:1 Ratio

For every negative thing you think, say or do today, balance it out with 3 positive thoughts, comments or actions. But don’t just be mechanical about it. Recognise that you are doing this exercise to stimulate neuron growth, so be considered, intentional and authentic.

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Day 6: Performance Booster

When you want to do better, do you fall into the trap of focusing on how to change all the things you’re not doing so well? If you want to boost your performance in any part of life, the key is to do more of what works. Rather than focusing on what you want to stop doing or need to change, focus instead on what you want to keep doing and strengthen.

Try this: Push It

Today pick one thing you already do well and look for ways to do it even more: more often, more intensely, in more ways. If you want your brain to keep growing, you’ve got to push it a bit further. So don’t rest on your laurels: keep building on your strengths and see how this boosts your performance in unexpected ways.

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Day 7: Connection Booster

Complacency is one of the biggest killers of relationships. Your brain has a tendency to switch off once it knows something or someone very well. But people are always changing, and if you’re not paying attention, you’ll miss that. Don’t fall into the trap of being on autopilot around your close relationships, or you will just see them through the old picture in your brain, not as they really are today.

Try this: Fresh Eyes

Today approach the people in your life as if you are meeting them for the first time. Be open to allowing your old picture of them to change. Maybe they are less or more happy than you realised; maybe they have something on their mind you had not noticed; maybe they have grown in a way you had missed. Meet them anew and build your relationship from there.

Start 2019 the way you intend to continue by turning your intentions into action. We wish you the very best year.

© Mind Gardener Pty Ltd 2014. All rights reserved. You are welcome to quote from or link to this post as long as you attribute it to Susan Pearse & Martina Sheehan and include a clear link back to this original blog post. Please contact us for approval for any other particular uses or references.