The quality of your thoughts determines the quality of your life. Good thoughts lead to good actions, and good actions lead to good outcomes.
Thoughts -> Actions -> Outcomes
And then guess what? Your outcomes reinforce new empowering thoughts when we see our own results. When we want to change our outcomes, we must first change something we think or something we do.
When you can’t change your mind and have a better thought, often the best choice is just to take some action, maybe physical exercise or work on whatever issue in your life is making you think negatively. Action beats anxiety!
To start thinking better, you must first become aware of how you are thinking presently. To do this, you need to boost your awareness. After all, you can’t fix what you can’t see.
Here are the top must do activities to boost your awareness:
10 minutes a day, minimum 5x per week. Just fucking do it. It’s 2020, I’m done telling people why they should meditate. I have articles on that here and here, and there are literally 10s of 1000s of articles all over the internet by billionaires, pro athletes, neuroscientists, entrepreneurs, and of course professional poker players.
Bonus Points if you do it with a view like this 🙂
If you’re not meditating , don’t complain about anything in your life not being how you’d like it to be, because to be fair, you’re not really trying. You might be working really hard, but you’re not working smart. Meditation is mandatory. You have a brain, and meditation helps it work better. Most of our culture is designed to exploit your brain to get you to buy things and give away your attention. Meditation brings your power back to you.
My favourite meditation apps are Waking Up and Headspace. You can read a comparison of different choices here, although my top choice Waking Up was excluded from that list.
Again, if you’re not reading, you’re not trying. Some of the smartest people on the planet have taken the best of their knowledge and packaged it into a consumable brain-software download for you. You can listen to books with audible while you commute, bike or run.
If a pile like this seems overwhelming, just start with The Daily Stoic, 1 Page a Day
If you have been an author or had one in the family, you know what writers go through to painstakingly pull the wisdom from their souls out and onto paper. It is one of the hardest forms of expression, because it requires a balance of both your creative energy and your discipline at the same time. One must balance their masculine drive to do-do-do alongside the feminine energy of creation, all the while remaining connected to and channeling their inner genius.
Writing done properly is a great act of love and service to the intended audience. People relive traumas and re-experience their dark nights of the soul in an effort to save others from having to learn what they’ve had to go through the hard way. They devote their lives to crafts only to give you the best and brightest fruits of their labor served up on a silver platter. If you’re not reading, you’re not really trying to live your best life. You might want to, but you’re not taking the #1 most obvious action to get there. Books.
My top book for new readers is The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday. Every poker player I coach is expected to own a copy of this book. It only asks you to read one page a day, it’s a perfect activity to do immediately following your meditation practice! Bundling habits makes it easier to remember to do both of them.
Another great book for new readers is Stillness is the Key by the same author. If you meditate 10 minutes, read 1 page of the daily stoic, and then trade your phone time for 15 minutes of Stillness is The Key before bed, these 3 things alone will completely change your outlook on life.
If you’re already on the mediation and reading train, 3 books that every human should read are The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer and Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Any one of these books can change your life. If you’ve read all 3, you’re going to be a mental wizard, able to navigate this matrix of distraction like never before.
I’ll post a full list of books I recommend soon, but these are some strong choices to start. If you want a recommendation for a topic, you can always send me a DM on Instagram @jameswhittet. I love hearing from you guys.
Exercise and Eat Healthy.
I know guys, this list is really reading like rocket science, but so often people are seeking the complicated solution when they haven’t done the basics. Making healthy movement and food choices is a constant trade of small amounts of enjoyment equity now for a higher payoff in the long run. I’ve said it time and time again, delayed gratification is the key to success.
If you constantly trade what you want most (health, to feel good, to live a long happy life) for what you want most in the moment (comfort of the bed or couch, fried foods, cocktail #4) then those things aren’t going to magically happen for you.
Where the magic WILL happen for you is in your consistency. When you are consistent, you leverage the powerful forces of momentum and congruence, not to mention neuroscience. You brain and body gets reprogrammed to crave a morning yoga session, a green juice, or an after work gym session the way your present day self might crave a cigarette, a pizza, or a big night out. Right now it might feel like sucking all the fun out of life, but as your tastes change you will be actually much more happy because the things that make you happy now also make you healthy. Your life is now sustainable.
For some kick ass green juice recipes, check out my article on GTO smoothies. There are also healthy lifestyle recipes and topics in the RYE discord, or in my private Mindset Mastery community (Apply Here) If you want to start your Yoga Journey, you can do no better than Yoga with Adriene.
Yoga is like meditation in that there is no way I can do justice to the non-obvious benefits in one simple article. Suffice to say, yoga actually does as much for your mindset as your physical body, but it does it in a subtle way by cooperating with the body and the breath. It will make you more calm, more focused and more happy. I never met a person who didn’t value those 3 traits for their experience of life.
If this doesn’t Inspire you, I don’t know what will.
Finally on the health topic, if you’re still smoking in 2020… again, idk what to tell you. You’re committing suicide. Stop it. It’s time to love yourself. It’s actually not hard at all to quit smoking with the right tools and techniques. What keeps smoking a persistent habit is a lack of understanding how it’s hurting you coupled with a conditioned belief that it’s hard to quit. Many of my clients have quit smoking, all with relative ease, all using this book.
The same goes for problem drinking. Many of us enjoy a cocktail every now and then, a bottle of wine with a romantic partner or a beer on a sunny afternoon. However, it’s also completely possible to enjoy your romantic partners, friends and family without artificially suppressing your central nervous system while also wrecking habit on your sleep quality, recovery, and overall brain health.
If you’re waking up with hangovers and losing days out of your life, or if you have a resting level of anxiety you feel the need to escape from on a regular basis, it may be time to kick the booze, either 90% or completely. Best books I’ve found for that are The Easy Way to Control Alcohol and Recovery by Russell Brand.
These books will encourage you to give up alcohol completely for life. Maybe that’s GTO, maybe you just need to give it up for a season so you can prove to yourself you can live without it. Ultimately that decision is yours to make, however, if you’ve never lived life without alcohol, then you don’t really know what lifestyle you’re choosing between when you choose to drink.
*Full disclosure, I drink occasionally, I don’t think it’s necessarily optimal, but I’m imperfect just like everyone. I drink a lot less than I used to, and quitting for months at a time helped me reframe this relationship.
That it! Those are the 3 simple ways to make 2020 the year where more and more good thoughts seem to naturally dance in your mind, and the old, negative, heavy ways of thinking just dissolve away, day by day.
If I would add some bonus activities to the list, they would be journal to yourself daily, what you feel/think when you first wake up and also at the end of the day, make sure to write down what you’re grateful for each day and take a moment to feel it. Beyond that, if you really want to excel I would get a mentor or a community.
Nothing will change your life like guidance from someone who you don’t want to disappoint and who cares about your results. Going through that process with likeminded people who have similar goals creates an energetic environment where the whole momentum is massively greater than the sum of its parts. If you’re interested in mentorship with me and participating in my community of Mindset Masters, fill out an application and let’s make 2020 the year you leave it all behind and step into the best version of yourself!