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What is something that you keep doing, even when you know you shouldn’t?

For most people, this is one constant in their life: doing something that you don’t want to do. Most people want to lose weight but they still eat junk food. Most people want to travel but they still can’t find the right time or the needed amount of money to travel. Most people want to stop smoking but they keep doing it.

So, what’s that one thing that you keep doing even though you know what you should stop doing it?

In my case, there are many things.

I told myself that I’ll stop playing video games and I still find myself playing video games.

I told myself that I’ll stop using social media for entertainment purposes and I still find myself wasting intervals of 5 to 15 mins scrolling on Instagram reels.

But on the other hand, I told myself that I’ll stop eating junk food and I finally stopped. I stopped and there’s no craving for junk food. I don’t feel like drinking Coca-Cola or Pepsi, or ordering pizza or burgers. It just went away. It dissolved.

I’ll share with you how I did it and, if you understand the simplicity behind it, you’ll be able to do it too.

But first, I’d like to share with you how it all started.

How I stopped doing the things I didn’t want to do

How I stopped doing the things I didn’t want to do

This summer, I started reading The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle, and this book opened my mind a bit.

Inside the book, the author talks about the unconscious identification we have with our minds. He does his best to help you understand why this unconscious identification with your mind is not healthy.

In short, you are not your mind, you are not your emotions, and you are not your body. You are more than that. You are a whole being.

While the theory sounds simple, it can be hard to accept.

If your mind is helping you overcome most of your struggles, then you start believing you are your mind.

If your emotions are helping you connect better with other people, then you start believing you are your emotions.

If you spend two to four days in the gym, training yourself, then you start believing you are your body.

So, that’s the theory. But what happens in practice? If you suddenly decide that you don’t want to identify with your mind, what will happen?

Fun Fact: 0 % More Grateful

Did you know that optimists are 20% more likely to practice gratitude?

Little by little you’ll start understanding that the mind does its own things that you didn’t really set yourself doing.

In my case, this is what was happening to me: whenever I walked down the street and saw someone, my mind was generating spontaneous thoughts. Most times the thoughts were something negative about the appearance of those I was seeing, but I didn’t really want to have those thoughts. It was my mind doing it.

That’s when I realized that I have to change something.

The more I was aware of it, the more I wanted to get rid of it. And eventually it happened.

Eventually, I became so sick of having these thoughts over and over that I started speaking with my mind.

STOP DOING IT!” I was shouting when I was home, at my office, reflecting on my thoughts from that day.

That’s how it started.

And then, the click happened during the therapy session. I told my therapist that I really don’t want to have these thoughts anymore. I told my therapist that I don’t understand why these thoughts are still happening since I don’t want them in my life.

Saying out loud that I don’t want to keep doing these things was key

Saying out loud that I don’t want to keep doing these things was key

While the therapy session helped, saying it out loud was key.

Reflecting back on these moments, I guess that saying it out loud made it part of the reality. Until that point, not wanting to keep doing these things and having these thoughts was part of my mind, which wasn’t really under my control.

When I said out loud that I didn’t want to have these thoughts anymore, it all moved outside the control of my mind. It became part of the reality.

The same happened to junk food and right now I’m experiencing it with other things that I don’t want in my life.

But I didn’t just say that I don’t want it in my life. I also put a lot of energy into what I was saying, which I believe is really important.

Further reflection on saying things out loud

This whole process made me realize the importance of saying things out loud so you can have control over them.

While reflecting on how well things improved, I remembered the unique situation of Jim Carrey who wrote for himself a check for 10 million dollars and dated it 10 years in the future in his wallet.

As long as the things we want stay only in our mind, then our mind has control over them.

With love and optimism,
David

PS: Photos © Jim Carrey

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