Three Essential Not So Intuitive Life Hacks

Feb 20, 2014 -

Three of the Very Best Life Hacks 

You can have the best motherboard, processor, and biggest hard drive, but without the software to control these parts there isn't much you can do with it. Your mind is similar to that of a computer. It is just as important as the muscles it controls. There is a cliché that circulates around. How many times have you heard that a certain task is more mental than physical?

How we control our actions and what beliefs we hold comes from our brain. Why is it that some of us have a harder time making decisions under pressure or feel overwhelmed when multiple issues are thrown our way? Why are we able to perform at a high level when nobody is watching, but when the world is watching we fail?

Nature has favored not those who are bigger, faster, or stronger, but those who are more cerebral. This is clear in the wild whereby crows and even pigeons have assimilated into our human dominated society. If bigger, faster, and stronger were favored, we would have cheetahs and elephants dominating the top of the food chain.While crows and pigeons have prospered, many other species have died out as humans continues to urbanize the world.

Enact Positive Motivational Self-Talk

In our minds, we all have a vision of what a strong person looks like and how an understanding of how a weak person behaves. If we believe that we are weak, we will feel weak. But if we think of ourselves as strong, we feel strong. It is really as simple as that. The words we use to describe ourselves leads us in the direction of where we are mentally or physically.

For example, if I tell myself that "I'm worthless. I am the worst at everything. I can't get to where I want to be. I constantly fail and make mistakes." Then I am creating a self-destructive mentally, which will translate into my behaviors and thoughts. The best thing about this self-talk is that if you do the opposite you will feel strong. When you feel that voice in your head start to seep discouraging words into your mind, ask yourself is that really the case? Is this task truly impossible?

"The fact that we can change our feelings means we have power over them." - Richard J. Machowicz

Interesting enough, sport psychological studies have found that instructional self-talk such as "Use your core strength here" and "You know you can do this!" has helped athletes perform better and succeed.

Set Reasonable Action Lists

Goals are where we want to end up or a place we eventually want to reach. While it is great to dream and aspire, a goal is just a dream until we take steps towards reaching that goal. Most of us had at least one New Year's resolutions at the beginning of the year. But, as the months roll by, I'll be willing to bet that those resolutions have begun to slip away. I myself have already broken a couple, but the beauty of it is that you can still get back on the horse. There is nothing that says just because you broke your New Year's resolution, you should stop trying to meet your goal.

"The mind guides action." If we succeed in regulating our thoughts, then this will help our behavior." - Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis

Goals can seem overwhelming at first because usually it is something you've never done before. If it was something you've been doing for a while then it wouldn't be a goal. The key is to break a goal down into steps and create a definite action list. It is much easier to tackle smaller tasks than large tasks. This is also why the best way to beat procrastination is to just take the first step. Once you start something, set your eyes on a nearby target. As you get further and further into the project, set another nearby target.

Make sure you reiterate your goals. It is important to remind yourself of these goals and why you have them. Write these goals down and put them in places you visit everyday. That way you won't miss them. If you can't avoid them, then you will eventually have to accept them and this will help you work towards that goal of yours.

Set Your Bedtime and Stick to It

One of the reasons humans live so long is because we recharge our bodies. However, we can blame the invention of the light bulb and advancements in technology for the sleep loss in today's world. Studies have shown that in the 1940s on average people slept for 8 hours. According to a recent Gallup poll, that figure is down to just under seven hours. The recommended hours of sleep is seven to nine hours.

In college, I was fine with sleeping 6 hours a day. I would bounce back the next day without any problems. Now I am beginning to see the effects of sleep deprivation. I've become a lot more irritable and noticed a drop in my learning and performance effectiveness. There were a lot of activities that I used to be able to pick up quickly and efficiently, but now I feel a step slower. The scary thing is that you are more at risk of developing diseases and more likely to feel unhappy.

At the end of the day, there is no replacement for sleep. The next time you feel the need to complete that extra assignment at work or work overtime, take a step back. You will be more fresh and better equipped to tackle that challenge in the morning when you have more energy. It is better to be more efficient during your optimal hours of the day than sluggish and spend hours upon hours finishing a task that probably would've taken you thirty minutes if you were fresh.
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