Change Your Life By Creating Mental Triggers

There have been many times in my life when I’ve wanted to implement change but lacked the secret sauce to create the change. But now, I think I’ve found the secret to making lasting change in my life.

Image by Laszlo Ilyes

Image by Laszlo Ilyes

Every day we do simple things that could remind us to take the step towards change. I like to call these actions a mental trigger.

What Is A Mental Trigger?

Mental triggers are anything you use to signal your brain to take action. Anything you do on a frequent enough basis that could help you form a habit.

Personally, I have a couple of mental triggers I’ve used to create focused change in my life. Anything from walking through a doorway to going to the bathroom.

The mental trigger goes off and I know I have a task to do.

Using A Mental Trigger

Let me share with you a couple of mental triggers I’ve created in my life.

  • Walking through my kitchen doorway: This may sound silly but it’s helped me improve my upper body strength. We installed an Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar in the walkway. Now, every time I walk through the doorway, I see the Iron Gym and do 5-10 pull-ups. Throughout a day this can add up to quite a few pull-ups.
  • Going to the bathroom: This will probably sound even sillier but going to the bathroom helped me develop the habit of push-ups. Thanks to the wonderful article at Art Of Manliness, I’ve made the decision to do push-ups every time I have to use the restroom. The act of getting up and heading towards the bathroom tells me it’s time to do a bit of physical exercise so I drop and give myself 10 push-ups.
  • Leaving for lunch: While I’ve always loved to read, it was difficult finding time to open a book and devote time to reading. I’ve used leaving for my lunch break as a mental trigger to open up a book and read. The trigger is leaving my workplace and getting in the truck. My mind begins to process and knows that it’s time to grab a good book and put down a few pages.

As you can see, there’s many different activities you can use as a mental trigger. Some are silly, some are benign. But once you’ve associated as a trigger it is effective.

Create a list of goals you’d like to accomplish this year. If there’s physical fitness goals, search for triggers like my bathroom break or doorway to spur you to take a few minutes to creep towards the goal. If it’s reading more, find something that will excite your mind to read. If it’s loving your spouse more, find a trigger to make you think on the things you love about her.

Question: Do you have any mental triggers in your life? What do they trigger? If not, what could a mental trigger help you take action on? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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