Connect with us

Life

3 Exercises That Can Help You Destroy Your Mental Roadblocks

Published

on

mental roadblocks

Whenever I talk to people about how they set goals for themselves, the first barriers they cite to progress are often their own mental roadblocks. They start off too optimistic, or too pessimistic. They put themselves down, or they forget to plan out the next steps in their head. Mostly, they forget to adequately prepare their mind for taking action.

There are various ways for tackling mental blocks and drains on motivation, but from my experience there are a few simple, straightforward tools that can help just about anyone overcome those mental blocks, if implemented properly. The following was inspired by Caroline Webb’s recent book ‘How to Have a Good Day’.

Here are the three mental tools that you can use to help destroy mental roadblocks and tackle your top priorities in less time:

1. Create mental contrasts

James Stockdale was a US prisoner of war in Vietnam for 7 years. During that time, he described the fact that prisoners who were overly optimistic about their chances or too pessimistic were less likely to survive than those who were able to balance their focus on the end goal while having a deeper appreciation of the challenges they would face.

As he puts it, “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.” This philosophy of duality has come to be called the Stockdale Paradox.

To this end, consider the value of creating mental contrasts in your daily life. Sure, you likely won’t be facing hardships like those faced by James Stockdale, but you may very well find opportunities to balance both a positive outlook on future goals with a realistic understanding of the challenges you will face.

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” – Moliere

One way of making sure you spend enough time focusing on strategic tasks which support your long term objectives is to balance positive thinking with negative. This means thinking about what is likely to get in the way of you achieving your goals so that you can address those issues head on without being blindsided by them.

This technique is called mental contrasting, and it requires holding both a positive outlook for the future of a task or activity while simultaneously looking holistically at the challenges and potential obstacles that stand in your way and will prevent you from reaching your goals.

You must balance faith that you will reach your goals in the end with the facts of the current (and often brutal) reality of the challenges you will face on a daily basis. Realistic idealism of this kind is important to drive action and help people achieve their goals. What’s important is that people simultaneously work to envision the goals they are striving for and the obstacles they are facing. The key is to plan for both so that you can weather any storm.

2. Prime your actions with the right thoughts and stimuli

Have you ever listened to a song that put you in a good mood which carried on through the day? Perhaps it made you feel more productive, more energetic, more likely to start a conversation with your colleague or that stranger down the hall.

What you associate with productivity and success can often be manipulated. Once one small part of your brain is activated in a positive way, you may be able to drive productive thoughts and activities throughout the day. This is often referred to by scientists as the spreading activation effect.

One way to drive your ability to tackle priorities is to prime your actions with the right thoughts and external stimuli. Consider the way your brain associates certain feelings with specific thoughts, images, ideas, etc. If you experience one positive emotion or sensation based on a certain stimuli (e.g. sitting in your favorite seat at your favorite coffee shop), you will subconsciously be more productive and more energised to take action and do more efficient work.

Unfortunately, this won’t happen every single time, but the more frequently you make these connections, the more likely it will be that these strong bonds are created. Neuroscientists say that “neurons that fire together, wire together”. Take this to heart as you consider which stimuli to expose yourself to as you consider the best way to stay motivated and focus on your objectives.

“The biggest obstacle to wealth is fear. People are afraid to think big, but if you think small, you’ll only achieve small things.” – T. Harv Eker

3. Conduct a mind’s eye rehearsal

Think about the last time you got ready to do something that was stressful or difficult. Perhaps it was preparing for a presentation or a speech or maybe you were psyching yourself up for a big race or a competition.

Research suggests that our brains activate in much the same way when we visualise something happening as when we experience it for real. If we visualise a speech going horribly wrong, or we envision ourselves tripping up at the starting block, chances are we won’t perform to our highest level when the time comes.

Practice makes perfect, and the more you visualise an activity in the way you would like to accomplish that activity, the more likely it will be that you can make that thing happen. Interestingly, the same neural pathways that are created when we repeat activities over and over again in the physical world are also created when we visualise those activities.

So, next time you want to get something done, consider rehearsing in your minds eye exactly what you want to get done, including every detail of the activity, and exactly what you want it to feel like when you accomplish your goal successfully.

How do you overcome mental roadblocks? Comment below!

McVal is the founder of We Write For Growth, a platform for businesses to connect with talented writers and researchers and growth hackers. He is also the author of How to Make $2,000 a Month Online and Start Up your Life: Why we don’t know what we want, and how to set goals that really matter. McVal writes about motivation, decision making, and strategic thinking. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, and has since worked as a market researcher and business consultant in Washington D.C., New York City and London. You can reach him on Twitter @mcval or on IG @mcvaliant. 

Advertisement
2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Anupam Nath

    Apr 21, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Amazing Lines, Really Inspired me.
    Thanks

  2. Anonuogharan Tanrose

    Mar 31, 2018 at 7:26 am

    Thanks mark. I know this information will be very helpful. Already feeling it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Life

The Real Reason You’re Not Living the Life of Your Dreams

Published

on

this is why you're not living your dreams
Image Credit: Unsplash

In August of 2018, I was sitting on the couch and complaining to my wife. The Oregon fires had caused a summer of smoke which meant we weren’t spending much time outside due to our one-year old daughter and my wife’s asthma. My waistline was slowly expanding and I was growing tired of living in the same place for over 25 years (my wife and I had settled down in the town where we grew up; a southern Oregon city of about 40,000 people). To make it worse, we had visited Cairns, Australia in May of 2018, which made our antsy desire to do something else with our lives even more unbearable. We couldn’t stop day-dreaming about travelling the world! (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

Your Enthusiasm Will Make A Difference

Published

on

enthusiasm makes a difference
Image Credit: Unsplash

I have read Dr. Peale’s book “Enthusiasm Make The Difference.” As a matter of fact, I have read a few of his books. All of them are good reads. I love the examples and stories of his patients and clients in a world so far different than ours today. The stories are pre-internet days. Pre-everything days really. Some say it was much simpler then, than now. To a certain extent, I agree with those people. Life has sped up. (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

Your Life in One Sentence: The Power of Vision

Published

on

the power of having a vision
Image Credit: Unsplash

Many people think they know the vision for their life, but they confuse it with objectives like wanting to make a certain amount of money or achieve a certain job title. Other people only have a general idea that is not well defined—like “I want to help people.” A life of freedom and fulfilment requires a clearly defined vision that encompasses your entire life, not just your work. Your vision is the glue that holds together all of your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly objectives for your life. (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

3 Keys to Getting the Results You Want in Life

Published

on

how to get the results you want
Image Credit: Unsplash

Are you going through a bad patch in your life where you’re not experiencing the kind of results that you desire to experience? Are you feeling stuck in your business and career? The truth is, you are not alone, we all go through the storms of life. The good news is that there is a sure way of getting out of the rut you find yourself in and getting the results you know you are supposed to be getting. (more…)

Continue Reading

Trending