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2 Simple Steps To Following Through On Your Commitments And Quieting Your Monkey Mind Once And For All
When it comes to self-development programs, lots of people do more than one. These courses aren’t all the same, so it’s not at all uncommon to do more than one.
Unfortunately, what’s also common is the problem of follow-through: people not quite reaching the finish line of a long-cherished goal that motivated them to take the program in the first place.
That initial energy and excitement often fizzles a week, a month, or few a months afterward. Something gets lost in the translation from intention to completion. I see it happen all the time.
It’s what I call the Monkey Mind.
I was inspired by this analogy reflecting on a trip I took to India recently, watching the behavior of those monkeys near the Himalayas you see on nature channels. When you watch them you realize … they’re all over the place! Scattered, chirping, jumping from here to there. They’re grabbing everything, can’t hardly sit still for a minute, very unfocused.
That’s how the mind works! One part says, “This course will be good for me, I need this,” but then lets the Monkey Mind take over, and then … it’s over!
Your Higher Self must control your Monkey Mind.
Most people can’t do that. You don’t need to be a psychologist or personal development guru to know this.
So what are some simple things you can do to get the monkey out of your head that and accomplish the things you say you most want to accomplish?
1. Trust Yourself. Trust is about integrity. When you don’t do what you say you’re going to do, you lose confidence and trust in yourself. Then that cycle repeats itself and becomes a pattern. When someone else doesn’t do what they say they’re going to do, you lose trust in them, yes or yes? Conversely, once you start to do whatever it takes to keep your word, you feel good about yourself. That’s going to spill over into every other part of your life.
Start with this exercise. I want you to get comfortable, taking three big breaths. Big inhale and big exhale. Take as many breaths as you need to get fully relaxed. When you’re there, close your eyes and think of one thing that you have put on the back burner this year. A do-it-yourself home improvement project? Commitment to a gym or exercise routine? A first chapter of a book you’ve been thinking about writing? Signing up for that seminar that could help resurrect a dormant dream? Whatever this is for you.
Now ask yourself, “Is this something I really want to complete?” If yes, then I want you to write that down and come up with one single action toward completing this goal. Not five or 10 actions. I said just one. Why? Because when we complicate things, we tend to not do them. I always say, “Simple is doable, complicated is interesting.”
So let’s start with something simple and doable, and then use the power of momentum to continue pushing forward.
2. Prioritize. To continue developing discipline, you’ve got to straighten out your priorities.
Make a list of your daily habits. Of those, what’re the habits that are really not supporting you? Is it looking at emails as soon as you get out of bed before you even go to the bathroom and brush your teeth? Looking at your phone every five seconds while eating? Spending money and time on lunch out when you could bring something from home and use that time productively?
Again, however long this list may be (if you’re honest, there’ll be at least a few), pick only one unsupportive habit that you’re committed to changing. Try it for a month — heck, up the ante and make it 90 days.
If you’re successful, reward yourself! Make the reward something you normally wouldn’t treat yourself to. If you don’t make it to that month, two-month, or three-month marker … don’t beat yourself up. Simply pick another unsupportive habit to change that is … what? Simple and doable!
You have to prioritize what’s most important to you, and you have to commit to following through on your priorities. Your word must become law in the universe. You’re not going to do things just because you said you were going to do them. You complete them so you can practice controlling your Monkey Mind.
As you continue to practice controlling your Monkey Mind, the easier it will get.
Finishing what you start isn’t just one of those sayings that sounds good in theory, like a rah-rah motivator. This matters in all areas of your life: relationships, business, community, teams, etc. It’s the key to sustaining trust and connections with others, connection to your Self, and in attaining success in every endeavor.
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