I’m not talking about physical muscle when I ask you if your are building muscle – I’m talking about mental muscle. However, consider for a moment how someone builds physical muscle in the Gym (I’m no expert by the way!). Someone has focus, they have a clear goal, they go the Gym most days – or at least my brother did when he was building muscle. He was determined, he had a plan – today’s focus on legs, tomorrow’s is arms etc. The focus was relentless, somehow he seemed to always find time in his day for it, he made it a priority – he got into a routine and did the same things over and over again. He powered through pain, sweat and tears. He watched what he ate, his rest days were part of the plan and I’m sure there’s a ton more stuff to it as well … but was he building mental muscle at the same time? had he build a helpful habit that helped him reach his goal?
Habits: something that happens over and over again …
Regardless of if habits are helpful or unhelpful, they are well trodden paths. They are repeated time and time again. They are made of a specific sequence of thoughts or actions that are triggered and that lead to the same outcome each time. You could probably list hundreds of habits. What fascinates me about habits, is that the process than runs them is unconscious. I used to bite my nails when I was in traffic, it was the only time I used to do it – I didn’t do it consciously, but became aware I had my fingers in my mouth (which was the outcome of the pattern that was running in my head) and I then proceeded to tell myself to stop it!
In NLP we talk about strategies. Habits are the most conscious of the strategies. As I’ve alluded to, Strategies are a sequence of steps or programmes that run at an unconscious level. We run strategies for everything (from getting up in the morning, to brushing our teeth, eating, exercising, making decisions, falling in love, buying ……).
Focus can lead to Mental Muscle, but strategies are even more effective ….
If you give something just 5% more focus, imagine what you could achieve if you did that time and time again? – you’d build mental muscle. In NLP we’d probably want to change the ‘auto pilot’ setting by changing the unconscious strategy, because after a while our conscious mind get’s ‘tired’ and we see ourselves drift off course (there are a multitude of unconscious things that are going on and causing this drift – but that’s for another post). Assuming you don’t have a NLP Practitioner on hand who know’s how to change or install a more helpful strategy, you can try the 5% more focus rule and see what changes for you ….
Laura is passionate about helping people realise their potential, and achieve the results they deserve. She believes, if you change your thinking, you can change your results. If you’d like to find out more about Unleash Your Potential, you can check out our NLP courses, coaching options and link up with us via our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter or link up with Laura via LinkedIn. You can of course also email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org