Our minds are by far the most underutilized asset we own. Depending on which study you read, the breakdown of your brain’s activity is approximately 10 percent conscious and 90 percent subconscious. The overwhelming majority of everything your brain does is on autopilot. What that means is your petabyte of grey matter doesn’t even think about it. The answer has to do with your habits.
Now hold that thought.
When you first form a habit, it takes a lot of work because it exists in your conscious mind. You have to constantly remind yourself to do, think, act or say things a certain way. The ultimate goal is to drop that sucker down into your subconscious because that’s where it becomes a habit: when doing things a certain way becomes part of who you are.
We’ve all heard beliefs form thoughts, which form actions, that, when done repeatedly, turn into habits. Good or bad, habits are a major factor in how far you go in life, so pay attention to them. Here is one that will give your subconscious mind a “champion” to have in your corner.
Plan tomorrow tonight.
Each night before bed, take five uninterrupted minutes and write out your plan for tomorrow. Just five minutes to deliver a right hook to distraction, aimlessness and uncertainty.
Here’s what the micro meeting looks like. Start by jotting down the date and the time you commit to waking up tomorrow morning. By eliminating the snooze habit, you begin your day keeping a micro-commitment to yourself which builds confidence and momentum. After all, who wants to mess up a day that’s off to a great start?
Next, list out the five most important things you will do tomorrow.
Some people like using simple index cards because they’re light, portable and more convenient than any app on the market. Plus, they don’t require updates every week. But use what works best for you.
At the top of the other side, write down one key habit you’re currently working on that supports your one main goal. Habits are proven to be more important than goals. Below that, list one thing you will accomplish this month and one thing you will accomplish this week.
Whatever you used to write your day plan, place it on your dresser so it’s smiley mug is waiting for you when you wake up. Dedicate part of your morning routine to read through it, reminding yourself of the most important things you have committed to do today.
Carry your daily plan with you throughout your day.
Don’t leave home without it (sorry, AmEx) and refer to it often, especially when you find yourself chasing after a shiny object. Check off the items on your list as you accomplish them to reward your brain with small shots of endorphins. Confidence and momentum will start hanging around more often.
Throughout your day, as ideas pop into your head, capture them. Your mind was designed to be a factory, not a warehouse so get them out of storage and onto paper. This one simple habit keeps you crisp and focused.
At the end of the day, you’re back in your five-minute meeting. Anything left undone gets filtered through a question: why did I not do this? Do a quick gut check. Was it important? If the answer is no, do not hesitate to eliminate it from your list entirely. Mediocre lives are full of semi-important tasks. If it truly is important and you just didn’t get around to it for whatever reason (hey, we’re not judging here), put it at the top of tomorrow’s list.
Finish today’s card with a quick check-in by listing out three things: one mini win, one thing you could have done better and one thing for which you are grateful. File it away (you can journal all those great ideas later) and finish filling out tomorrow’s card as described above.
If all you can do is implement one new routine this year, make this the one. It will change your life.