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You have landed on this page because you want to learn how to overcome procrastination, get into a flow state and get moving. Once you understand the 4 stages of flow you will achieve higher levels of success. Stop procrastinating and quit cigarettes, marijuana, alcohol, gambling and junk food today with NLP and Hypnotherapy, Gold Coast Qld. Neuro Linguistic Programming sessions - online coaching available.
By Abby Eagle (2016)
Procrastination is defined as to delay, to postpone, to put off doing something until later. People tend to delay doing things they find boring or that may cause stress or anxiety.
So one Sunday morning I had been to the organic markets to hang out with my friends. I had a great time but after lunch I looked at my to-do list and was not sure what to work on. I could not seem to get motivated to take action. I could have procrastinated and thought about what I should do. I could have wasted time on Facebook or gone shopping but I understood that all I needed to do was to get into a flow state.
Now a flow state is an optimal state of consciousness in which you perform at your best. Steven Kotler identifies four stages. Struggle. Relax and Let go. Flow. Consolidation and Learning. The first three stages are all that really concern us. So the challenge that we are so often faced with is how to get through the struggle stage and into flow?
So this is how you do it.
Thinking is made up of a combination of questions, statements and commands. For example:
Question: What am I going to do?
Statement: I could do this or that.
Command: Do that.
So what I did was to:
1. Say to myself, “What could I do this afternoon?” That is a question.
2. Then I said, “Make a list of 3 things. Any three things. Do that now. Write it down.”
They are commands.
3. I then wrote a list of 3 things. These were statements.
4. Then I gave myself another command, “Choose one item. Any item.” Which I did.
5. Then I gave myself another command, “Take action – go do it now”. Which I did and I had a productive afternoon and enjoyed myself.
Now what should be noted is that I actually took a pen and paper – and that I wrote the numbers, 1, 2, 3. Then next to each of those numbers I wrote the activity. So I took thoughts out of mind and I engaged the body. Engaging the body is essential, otherwise the idea just remains in the head. You need to engage the body in some way to get into flow.
Now every activity can be systematised. NLP calls them strategies, others call them systems, some call them procedures or processes. In the military they call them blueprints.
1. There is something which kicks off the activity.
2. There are the steps within the activity.
3. There is something which lets you know the activity has been completed.
Now the secret to success in life is in the language that you use. That is what you think to yourself in your mind and what you say out loud. So start by listening to what you think and say. The sales person will tell you that if you can’t say the words then you won’t get it. For example, if you want the customer to buy a particular model of Sony Bravia TV for $2,000.00 today then you need to find some way to get the customer to say those words otherwise you won’t get the sale.
So if you are thinking to yourself, “What am I going to do today? I could go to the beach but I really should clean out the garage. Maybe I could go shopping. I need a cup of tea. Where are the tea bags? Ooh look, a bar of chocolate. What’s happening on Facebook?”
It could be that as you think of starting the activity that you think of a minor task that would lead into the activity but then think, “I don’t need to do that yet”. This thought then blocks the flow.
The problem and the solution is in the language that you use.
Often times the hardest part is getting started. This is the procrastination bit. This is because the power of the brain and mind needs to be harnessed and directed. It does not just happen by itself. For us to take action there has to be a motivator – that is the activity or the outcome has to be meaningful – there needs to be a reason why. The bigger the why then the more motivated you will be. When you look at the word ‘motivation’ you can break it down into motive and then back into movement. Motivation is about moving – about taking action towards something or action away-from something. Procrastination is about a lack of movement. So the challenge is how to get moving? Let’s take a look at brain chemistry.
There is a sequence of neuro chemicals involved in the flow process. In flow the brain releases performance enhancing chemicals: norepinephrine, dopamine, anandamide, endorphins and serotonin. But you have to do something to kick start the brain to release the neuro chemicals. Once you start then it becomes like a car engine which keeps on running – as long as you stay in the drivers seat with your foot on the pedal. As soon as you get out of the car – so to speak – the brain stops producing the chemicals and you have to start all over again.
Now I am going to show you a simple process to kick start your brain so that you can overcome procrastination and get into a flow state.
First identify the activity that you are procrastinating on? Keep the activity in the back of your mind.
The next step is to choose a simple activity, any activity, for example: to organise the pens and pencils on your office desk. Don’t think about it just pick up all the pens and pencils and place them neatly somewhere on the desk.
So you make a decision to tidy up your desk. You choose one small task. Pens and pencils. You tell yourself pick up the pens and pencils and place them neatly somewhere on the desk. Anywhere. The task is now completed.
You set an intention which drives your attention onto the task at hand such that you focus in and concentrate.
By choosing the task of tidying the pens and pencils you have focussed in on the task. The brain has to make a distinction between pens, pencils and other items. By saying “yes” to the pens and pencils you are saying “no” to other things. There is also pattern recognition of what a pen and pencil looks like. The brain begins producing chemicals that help you to focus. And some parts of the brain become more active while other parts of the brain shut down. Once you complete the task the brain produces feel good chemicals like anandamide and serotonin.
Then you repeat the process. You choose another item to tidy. You might focus in on notes scattered across the desk. You then reach over with your hand and pick up the notes. You browse the notes. Some notes you throw away. You make a few additional notes. Other notes you stack neatly elsewhere. You order the notes. Once again the brain is working to focus in on the activity. You are saying “yes” to the activity and “no” to other things. Chemicals are produced that help the process of focus and pattern recognition. The mind and body are engaged. You complete the task and the brain produces the reward chemicals.
You might repeat this process dozens of times as you tidy your office. You would probably find that you look around the floor. There might be clutter on the floor so you randomly pick up items and sort them. You put them away in a cupboard. You might see the carpet needs vacuuming so you grab the vacuum and quickly vacuum the carpet. This might then lead you into vacuuming the adjoining room. Which might lead you into the kitchen, so you grab a cup of tea. All the while in the back of your mind is the important activity which you had previously been procrastinating on. But now you are getting into flow with cleaning and tidying. You have been practising setting an intention which drives your attention onto the task at hand such you were able to focus in and concentrate.
Now you turn your attention to the main activity. So what is the first step which kicks off that activity? Is it getting out of bed? Is it writing a list? Is it opening a word document? Is it picking up the phone? Is it putting on your gym shoes? Is it sitting on your meditation cushion? Is it walking up to some person and saying some words? There will be something, some small action which triggers the sequence of steps that lead you into the main activity. The keyword here is “action”. If you take immediate action and persevere then at some point you will find yourself in flow.
Please leave your comments in the comments box below and if you need help in quiting cigarettes and marijuana, cutting down on alcohol, stopping the gambling habit and making better food choices so that you can lose weight and improve your health and your finances then contact me – Abby Eagle - using the contact form in the top right of this page.
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